CCTV camera mounts - Expert commentary

Ergonomic standards increase control room productivity
Ergonomic standards increase control room productivity

  Ergonomics are a critical, but often misunderstood aspect of designing control rooms for security. Ergonomics have a deep impact on the integrity of an operation, and the issue goes beyond the control room furniture. Matko Papic, Chief Technology Officer of Evans Consoles, divides ergonomics into three areas: physical (reach zones, touch points, monitors); cognitive (the individual’s ability to process information without overlooking a critical element) and organisational (how the facility operates in various situations; e.g., is it adequately designed for an emergency event?). He says the Evans approach is to determine the precise placement required for each element an operator needs, and then to design and build console furniture to position it there. Basically, the idea is to tailor the control room to the operation. What tasks must an operator perform? Are they manageable or should they be divided up among several operators? Control room design should accommodate the need to collaborate, and be flexible enough to adapt to various situations. It all begins with understanding the information that needs to be processed, says Papic. Increased productivity in the workplace Because personnel are often stationed at a specific console, desk or workstation for long hours, physical problems and productivity issues can result, says Jim Coleman, National Sales Manager, AFC Industries. Ergonomically designed furniture and related products have been proven to increase productivity and alleviate physical stress in the workplace. Ergonomic furniture solutions are crafted for the ultimate in safety, adaptability, comfort and functionality. Coleman says AFC Industries can tailor furniture to specific needs and environment. For example, a height-adjustable workstation can be combined with adjustable monitor arm mounts to create a relaxed, comfortable environment. Furniture offers modern designs, comfortable ergonomics, and comprehensive features. Rugged materials withstand the 24/7 use of command control centres. Health benefits of ergonomic workstations A sedentary office environment is often an unhealthy one. “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Martha Grogan, Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Ongoing research and studies have shown that a change in posture (i.e., using ergonomic sit-to-stand workstations) is an effective means to combat these negative health issues. Using sit-to-stand workstations helps to eliminate musculoskeletal disorders caused by long-term sitting. They can also improve productivity and focus from the increased blood flow. Energy levels can rise and employees burn more calories. Control room design should accommodate the need to collaborate and be flexible enough to adapt to various situations “The ergonomic environment we create for control rooms involves considering every need of the staff at each workstation and their equipment, as well as workflow within the entire room,” says Coleman. “From the proper setting of screen focal lengths to sound absorption and glare reduction, each requirement and phase of a control room design is a necessary process to ensure the protection and safety of people and property.” Emergency operations centre “The military has figured out that you are more alert when you are standing,” says Randy Smith, President of Winsted, and the realisation is guiding emergency operations centre (EOC) design toward sit-stand. “As soon as there is an emergency, everybody stands up,” Smith adds. Designing EOC environments also requires systems be integrated with annunciating signal lights to facilitate communication among operators. Winsted’s sit-stand consoles can be combined with a motorised M-View monitor wall mount, enabling a 60-inch wall monitor to be raised and lowered to match the positioning of the sit-stand console. Larger, wall-mounted screens are easier to use for operators, since a larger monitor size can make it easier to read text on a screen, for example. Combining the larger monitor with sit-stand capabilities provides the best of both options. Many operators today stand for 50 percent of their day, says Smith. Ergonomic standards guide the design of Winsted’s control room consoles, including ISO 11064 standards for the design of control centres. The furniture also is designed to accommodate industrial wire management (larger wire bundles), unlike furniture that might be bought in an office supply store. Read part 3 of our Control Rooms series here {##Poll37 - How well do you incorporate ergonomics into your control rooms?##}

Improving security system installations with Acceptance Testing
Improving security system installations with Acceptance Testing

Significant technological advancements have created endless possibilities in how security is not only deployed, but also leveraged by the end user – the customer. For example, customers can now view surveillance at eight different offices in eight different states from a single, central location. A security director can manage an enterprise-wide access control system, including revoking or granting access control privileges, for 10,000 global employees from a company’s headquarters. However, with that increased level of system sophistication comes an added level of complexity. After successfully completing the installation of a security system, integrators are now expected to formally and contractually prove that the system works as outlined in the project specification document. Tom Feilen, Director of National Accounts for Koorsen Security Technology explains that this formal checks and balance process is gaining momentum in the security industry. The step-by-step process of Acceptance Testing is more commonly being written into bid specifications, especially for projects that require the expertise of an engineer and/or architect. Simply put, it is a way for the end user to make sure the system they paid for works properly and is delivered by the integrator as outlined in the project’s request for proposal. While Acceptance Testing can be a time consuming process, it is a valuable industry tool. It is estimated that at least 95 per cent of integrated security systems today have been brought through the Acceptance Testing process. Security systems have become more complicated in recent years. The introduction of IP-based, enterprise-wide and integrated solutions have all opened the door to more sophisticated access control and surveillance systems than ever thought possible. This process can vary depending upon the size of the project, but for a larger scale project, it is not uncommon for Acceptance Testing to take several weeks from start to finish. This timeline can be especially lengthy when the project involves hundreds of devices, such as access control readers, surveillance cameras, video recorders, intrusion sensors, and intercom systems. Most integrated security systems today have been brought through the Acceptance Testing process What is involved in the Acceptance Testing process? While the specific process can vary from integrator to integrator, many follow a similar process with their customer to ensure the system works accurately and that the customer has the proper certification documentation. The initial part of the process typically involves generating a report of each device installed as part of the system. This list enables the systems integrator to systematically test each device ensuring that individual devices are not specific points of failure for the overall system. For example, in a building equipped with a system that automatically releases the egress doors upon the fire alarm activation, it is important to make sure each door’s electro-magnetic locking system is operating properly. The systems integrator would not only test that a door releases when the fire alarm sounds, but also to make sure the access control system is notified if the door is propped open or held open longer than in normal usage parameters. For a door that is also monitored by a surveillance camera, part of the testing would also involve making sure that an image being transmitted to a video monitor is coming from the correct surveillance camera and that the actual angle of the image is what the customer has requested and is correctly labelled as such. If a device does not function as it should, it is then added to a punch list that would require the systems integrator to repair that device within a certain period of time. Once repairs are made, the system integrator would then submit a letter to the client stating that every device has been tested and works properly. It is also important for the integrator that once the testing process is complete to obtain a customer sign off (Certificate of Acceptance) on all systems tested and documentation provided. This limits liability once the system is turned over. From a safety perspective, Acceptance Testing is also used to verify that T-bars and safety chains are installed on cameras that are mounted in drop ceilings. It can confirm that panels are mounted in a room that is properly heated and cooled to avoid major temperature swings. Also, as part of the Acceptance Testing checklist, it can insure that power supplies that drive all the security systems are properly rated with the recommended batteries for back-up. And, that emergency exist devices or card readers are not mounted more than 48-inches above ground. An Acceptance Testing process serves to protect the end user's investment After the project is complete, Acceptance Testing protects both parties involved against liability issues. One example is if the building has a fire and the functionality of the life safety system comes into question. Acceptance Testing can be used to prove that the system was able to function as specified and dispel any concerns about its performance. At that time, all close out sheets are turned in, along with as-built drawings and a manual providing a complete listing of each device and system installed. Today, these manuals not only come in paper form as part of a large binder, but also digital files saved to a disc. The benefit of providing the customer with a binder or documentation of the system is that should the end user/customer replace the person who manages security at the company, valuable information will not leave with that former employee. While this checklist to close out a project may appear trivial at first, it is an important part of the security project process. By implementing an Acceptance Testing program, it serves to protect the end user’s investment, ensuring that the systems integrators hired for the project is knowledgeable and provides quality work. For the integrator, it helps towards the end goal of a satisfied customer.

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Securing the challenging airport environment with intelligent technology
Securing the challenging airport environment with intelligent technology

Though they may sometimes elicit a hectic and fast-paced experience, airports are a necessary cornerstone of traveling for many people around the world. Whether they represent the ability to see family, the need to attend a business event, or the chance to get away on a relaxing vacation, airports are central to allowing travelers to get from one destination to the next. In 2019, more than four billion scheduled travellers passed through the world’s airports, and that number is projected to grow.  As the flow of travellers increases, airports are facing many new challenges.  Passengers, by nature, are highly diverse, transient and in continual motion.  As a result, airports are taking on greater responsibility of ensuring that people arrive and depart in a timely — and safe — manner. Effective security operations Effective security operations are therefore critically important to allowing these entities to protect what matters most. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task, as airports have evolved from traditional ports-of-call to highly complex environments. With the introduction of shopping, dining, interconnected rail and more amenities, they are seeing many of the same challenges facing cities. That includes theft, fraud, medical concerns and even domestic violence spilling over into facilities that are already popular targets for bad actors.  They are seeing many of the same challenges facing cities The various threats that airports face on a daily basis present the potential for extreme damage. Any type of incident can carry significant risk to people, assets, passenger traffic, and brand reputation. Traditional security risks in the airport ecosystem, such as theft, violence, terrorism, and insider threats, continue to evolve, while overarching cyber attacks targeting physical security systems have also become more prevalent. Airport industry demands Aside from the constantly shifting risk landscape airports face, they also maintain a unique set of needs due to the high-level nature of the overall operation, such as: Constant surveillance. Airports, like many other transit hubs, utilise systems and technologies that must function constantly in order to keep passengers, employees, and environments safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The ability to monitor device health is instrumental in preventing equipment failures as well as ensuring that no suspicious behavior goes unnoticed. As airports grow and change with the addition of new shops, terminals, or runways, they also need a set of security solutions that can easily adapt and incorporate new protective infrastructures. Coordinated security. The societal growth of at-your-fingertips accessibility and mobile capabilities increases convenience, but with this connectivity comes an expanded risk for threats and breaches. Security is no longer limited to just physical assets; network elements must also be considered to ensure comprehensive coverage throughout an airport’s infrastructure. Data collection. Data that is derived from internal and external threat intelligence efforts plays a significant role in mitigating threats, but the sheer amount of data far outweighs the ability of many airports to organise what’s collected and make it actionable. The answer: intelligence-powered solutions The complex risks, demands, and challenges that airports must contend with call for exceptionally sophisticated and coordinated security strategies that leverage intelligence-based solutions. A traditional security system is not enough for such a high-leverage atmosphere; airport security operators require the greatest level of insight and information possible to ensure protection for travelers and staff at all times. Airport security operators require the greatest level of insight and information At the core of an intelligent airport security system must exist a video-based security operations center (SOC). Operators need to be able to track incoming data and identify relevant information on a daily basis, but this can become challenging given the number of security systems and sensors that are typically integrated within an SOC, such as video surveillance, access control, perimeter detection, PSIM software, and more. Operators require solutions that integrate the existing controls of a security operation into a single view, assimilate analytical data, and provide critical insights to empower personnel to manage and respond to situations efficiently and effectively. This can be achieved through an intelligent SOC, giving operators real-time visibility into security system information and analytics that facilitates a proactive approach to security rather than reacting after the fact. Operators therefore benefit greatly from increased insight and the ability to see both the security and business sides of airport operations, from passenger and employee identification to cargo handling and flight coordination. Essential intelligent SOC components Because airports are such vast, fast-paced environments with several elements to consider when it comes to safety, an intelligent SOC in these facilities must incorporate various levels of intelligent technology, such as: Video management software (VMS). A data-driven security management and response system that leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics is critical for viewing airport operations and investigating potential vulnerabilities or threats. When integrated with components such as dynamic GIS maps and event management, airport security teams can gain full situational awareness and control with the intelligence to act as needed. Emergency dispatch and response. In the event of a security incident, airports need to share insights in real time between dispatchers, first responders, and other aligned stakeholders. Next-generation mobile technologies within an intelligent SOC can enable operators to see the full picture of both the situation and the organisation’s response team, helping to facilitate immediate action and informed decisions. Integrated security operations. As mentioned previously, today’s airports are forced to look beyond the traditional physical security threats of the past and incorporate the element of cyber risk. This means that an intelligent SOC must also consider web-based vulnerabilities, such as through social media monitoring and geo-fenced surveillance and integrate this information within the guidelines and techniques that are being used to secure the airport in a physical sense. The deployment of intelligent security solutions in airport environments helps streamline all aspects of security management while enabling data analysis to ensure day-to-day airport operations run smoothly. In the end, these facilities become more prepared to deal with incidents proactively while providing a positive experience for travellers. As airports look to draw more passenger traffic and expand in scale, selecting security solutions powered by sophisticated intelligence and analytics helps protect what matters most: people, property, and the continuity of operations.

What is the role of security systems in case of fire or other emergency?
What is the role of security systems in case of fire or other emergency?

When a fire or other emergency occurs in a building or facility, first responders depend on every available resource to ensure a safe and orderly evacuation and response. One element in any response plan is the facility’s physical security systems, including access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection. How can these systems contribute to an orderly response to a chaotic situation?  We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the role of security systems in the event of a fire or other emergency evacuation?

What impact are data analytics having on security?
What impact are data analytics having on security?

We live in an era of Big Data. Surrounded by a flood of information, more companies are looking for ways to analyse that information (data) and systematically extract intelligence that can help them operate more efficiently and profitably. The data obsession has extended to the physical security industry, too, where large amounts of data have historically been a little-used byproduct of our access control and even video systems. But the picture is changing. We asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact are data analytics having on the security market?