Multiplexers - Expert commentary

Technology evolution leads to changes in security control room furniture
Technology evolution leads to changes in security control room furniture

Technology is changing the look and function of today’s security control rooms. Old-school CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors are giving way to the thinner, flat screen monitors in the control room environment, but the transition is gradual. Randy Smith of Winsted still sees many control rooms that need to make the conversion, which is a boon to his company’s business. Furniture today is designed differently to accommodate the thinner monitors, often with larger screens. Need for integrated rack systems With the increase of IP-based systems comes the need for integrated rack systems that include advanced functionality such as cable management, adds Jim Coleman, National Sales Manager, AFC Industries. Server rooms are environmentally controlled by cooling systems and power systems monitored on the IP network. Low-profile flat screens allow centres to utilise space vertically, thus creating a smaller footprint for the consoles. Additionally, with IP-based systems, workstations will have a smaller footprint because there is less cumbersome equipment. In most cases the servers are stored in a secured, climate controlled environment to eliminate overheating of the servers and maintain their security, says Coleman. This environment also helps with cable and power management. AFC builds technical furniture racks that adhere to the precise needs of computer network server room operators. The company designs and fabricates LAN workbenches with versatile functionalities, and server room workstation racks that are scalable. There is a complete line of IT workbenches, IT computer racks and computer server rack mounts with flexible mounting options. In most cases the servers are stored in a secured, climate controlled environment to eliminate overheating of the servers and maintain their security Flexible control room designs Matko Papic, Chief Technology Officer of Evans Consoles, says the transition from bulky CRT equipment to flat-screen (lower profile) monitors was a major disruption in control room design; it changed the whole dynamic. Another evolution is the use of IP video streaming, which allows more flexibility in manipulation of audio-video content, and requires more flexible control room designs. Another shift, driven by larger, higher-definition monitors, is a shift to fewer monitors that display more information. Instead of a smaller monitor for each information stream, larger monitors now consolidate that information into “dashboard” displays. Looking ahead, control rooms will need to be more flexible, both in the initial design and the ability to adapt to changing technology, says Papic. Legacy customers who are currently using PCs may be moving to more remote applications. Sit-stand equipment will continue to be increasingly prevalent. “There will be more emphasis on flexibility, technology integration, and the ability to change over the life of the system,” says Papic. Consolidation of multiple operations into a single system A trend in security is consolidation of multiple physical operations into a single system, says Papic. As a result, more customers are taking more interest in alarm management and situational awareness. How is the technology being used in terms of alarm triggers? How can the systems react rapidly and provide information to a larger audience in the control room? These questions impact how control rooms are designed, and Evans Consoles can adapt lessons learned from other markets to these trends in the security arena. Greater use of technology is inevitable, says Coleman of AFC Industries. “It is virtually impossible for humans to monitor all security data at the street level in our cities,” he says. “As computers become more powerful and their programs more all-encompassing, we will see a greater shift to robotic and technology uses that will provide enhanced monitoring capabilities and safety Read our Control Rooms series here

Choosing the right power supplies for security installations
Choosing the right power supplies for security installations

 Selecting the optimum power supply for a system is critical to an installation  When it comes to selecting power supplies, knowledge is power. Determining the power requirements of every systems product, taking into account their integration with one another is critical to ensure that you are selecting and installing the power solutions most appropriate for your installation. Such information will enable you to select the power supplies that will be required to keep your security system running efficiently in the long run. Paul Rizzuto, Technical Sales Manager, Altronix Corp outlines some of the key factors to consider when choosing the right power solution for security installations - including those of video surveillance systems and access control systems - and fire alarm systems. Questions to consider when selecting the optimum power supply Before commencing the evaluation and selection process, three fundamental questions/issues need be addressed:Approvals and conformance to norms: Are there any specific agency approvals that the installation must conform to?Each state, county and even municipality has their own requirements regarding agency approvals. There are a variety of compliance issues such as UL listings for video, access control and fire/life safety that need to be adhered to along with specific local codes. It's imperative that you check with the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) to find out what agency listings you must conform to during the design process to assure your security system is in compliance before installing any components and power supplies. Features required: What are the application specific features required for the installation? Selecting power supplies for a security or fire alarm system is a complex process due to a number of variables Before starting the design process, a comprehensive analysis of the facility's security systems are required to determine feature sets of the power supplies. Up until recently, selecting power supplies often required the need to combine various components to deliver the functionality desired. For example, does the system need battery back-up in case of a power failure?  All that has changed with the introduction of a new breed of integrated power solutions that deliver both cost and installation advantages. Quantity, location and power requirements of the security system componentsWhat is the number of devices in the system, the power requirements for each, and their physical location?This information is necessary to determine the size and quantity of the power supplies, how many security devices they will run, and where they will be physically located.  It is always a good rule of thumb to add 20% more power to your calculations as a safety factor.  Alarm signal generation is a key consideration when dealing with power consumption in fire alarms systems Dealing with power consumption issues in fire alarm systems Power consumption is a primary issue when configuring fire alarm systems. One of the most critical considerations revolves around how alarm signals are activated. When an alarm condition exists, Notification Appliance Circuits (NAC) are output from the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) to activate notification appliances such as strobes and horns commonly used to indicate an emergency situation. The number of notification appliances to be activated, along with the current draw for each device and its distance from the FACP, sometimes makes the deployment of NAC Power Extenders a necessary system component. For example, in large commercial installations or multi-tenant buildings, the total current draw of the notification appliances may well exceed the power output of the FACP. In these instances, one or more NAC Power Extenders need to be installed for those notification appliances where the wire runs are too long for the FACP to deliver sufficient power.  Features to consider when selecting a NAC Power Extender: Number of Class A or Class B indicating circuits.Total power rating (ex. 6.5 amp, 8 amp or 10 amp).Number of Aux. power outputs with or without battery backup.Programmable outputs: SynchronizationTemporal Code 3Input to output follower mode.Enclosure capacity: Room for battery backupAmple knockouts and room for wiringAgency approvals UL, MEA, CSFM and FM.NAC Power Extenders are available with programmable features that maintain horn/strobe synchronization by either producing internally generated sync protocols utilized by major signal manufacturers, or by electronically repeating these sync protocols from the FACP outputs. Power supply requirements for access control systems - key standards to follow    To ensure safety any device designated to lock or unlock an exit must be connected to the fire alarm systemAccess control systems manage entry and exit points at a facility by means of controlled locking devices. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requires that any device or system intended to actuate the locking or unlocking of exits, must be connected to the facility's fire alarm system so that all doors will release when an alarm signal is generated.To comply with NFPA requirements, there are two classifications of locking devices that need to be addressed: Fail-Safe and Fail-Secure. Fail-Safe locking devices such as magnetic locks release when they lose power. Fail-Secure locking devices such as electric strikes unlock when power is applied and may be manually released from inside a secured area. This determines the manner in which your power solution removes or provides power and the sequence and timing of each action.Access control power supplies come in both AC and DC versions and some provide multiple voltages simultaneously. Features include independently trigger controlled Fail-Safe/Fail-Secure outputs, power supervision, battery charging and fire alarm interface. Wall and rack mount models are also available.To comply with NFPA requirements, there are two classifications of locking devices that need to be addressed: Fail-Safe and Fail-Secure Some systems may also require the installation of panic hardware devices. Upon activation, the devices' high current power demand can reach up to 16amps, but not all power supplies can handle these high inrush currents.  As a result, you need to specify a power supply designed for this type of application.  Some operate a single panic hardware device and require optional modules to add features like timing functions, output relays, fire alarm disconnect, or power for additional panic hardware devices.  Therefore, these "base" models almost always require additional modules to deliver the functionality you need and may not be cost effective. More advanced models offer integrated features and supply a comprehensive solution. In addition to the convenience of these integrated devices, they are highly cost efficient with respect to total cost of ownership and installation. Video surveillance systems - typical power consumption guidelinesVideo surveillance systems typically run 24/7/365 placing high demands on power supplies. These video power supplies need to deliver a clean and consistent source of 24VAC or 12VDC power to assure uninterrupted operation. Depending on the video component's specific power requirements and its location, there is a wide selection of power supplies to select from. They can be wall or rack mounted, designed for use indoors or outdoors, and feature AC or DC outputs. Configurations typically range from 1 to 32 outputs and some models offer additional features like 115 or 230VAC input with current ratings as high as 25 amps, power LED indicators, and PTC or fused protected outputs. Certain models provide both 24VAC and 12VDC to power both types of surveillance cameras simultaneously. Environmental conditions can affect the performance of video components and the power supply when situated outdoors A few additional variables to consider when selecting video surveillance power supplies include: Environmental conditions: Temperature differences due to change of seasons, day or  night, can often be extreme and can have a direct affect on the performance of both the video components and the power supply when located outdoors. Enclosures for outdoor power supplies should be rated to withstand the elements.Ground Isolation: In some cases, the surveillance cameras are not equipped with internal electrical isolation. Should this be the case, it's important to specify a power supply with this feature. Video Transmission Systems: For years, the use of structured cable has been an inexpensive method for transmitting video and data between head end equipment and camera systems. The introduction of UTP transceiver hubs with integral camera power make it possible to transmit both video and data via structured cable along with the power needed for the cameras. This is accomplished via video balun/combiners which pass the power and data to the camera and send the video back to the head end equipment. New highly versatile devices with integral power provide system designers with a highly integrated solution. This new breed of integrated device greatly reduces the time and expense of configuring and installing separate components while helping to minimize bandwidth requirements for large security systems. Paul RizzutoTechnical Sales Manager Altronix Corp  

Latest Tyco International news

Johnson Controls acquires Qolsys, Inc. to enhance its smart building solutions portfolio
Johnson Controls acquires Qolsys, Inc. to enhance its smart building solutions portfolio

Johnson Controls has announced it has acquired the remaining stake of Qolsys Inc., a globally renowned residential and commercial security and smart-home manufacturer, after owning a majority stake in the company since 2014. Smart building solutions expert Qolsys enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next generation security and smart building solutions. The Qolsys founders and leadership team will remain in Silicon Valley (San Jose, California), assuming key roles in Johnson Controls’ global intrusion business. Qolsys enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next-gen smart building solutions Johnson Controls continues in its mission to deliver smarter, safer, more intelligent and connected buildings, by deploying emerging technologies, such as embedded IP, artificial intelligence and machine learning through state-of-the-art solutions and partnerships. Johnson Controls is at the forefront of fundamental transformation of how spaces and places are perceived and enjoyed by balancing and responding to the flow of information, services and people that occupy buildings. OpenBlue digital platforms By applying data from both inside and outside buildings, Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue digital platforms empower customers to manage operations, while delivering safety and security in dynamic and agile environments.       "Qolsys has grown from a startup to a renowned security platform provider with over 4,000 dealers and service providers worldwide. Johnson Controls sees long-term opportunities to bring Silicon Valley innovation and culture to our broader cloud-enabled IoT solutions in building management, fire and HVAC businesses," said Jeff Williams, President of Global Products, Johnson Controls. "The opportunity to acquire Qolsys allows Johnson Controls to achieve operational efficiencies and scale across our global markets, while further enhancing the suite of products and services offered on our digital platform, OpenBlue." IQ Panel 2 Plus and peripherals The award-winning IQ Panel 2 Plus and peripherals have driven explosive growth in North America and across the globe with future-proof features, supported by over-the-air software updates, built-in panel camera, Bluetooth disarming and innovative installation, and diagnostic tools to reduce costs and increase user engagement and satisfaction. Qolsys continues to show consistent growth of services and dealers, which led to US$ 150 million in revenues during fiscal year 2019.    "As the world becomes more connected and the innovation curve continues to ramp at unprecedented speed, we are excited to join Johnson Controls," said Dave Pulling, Qolsys Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Dave will be occupying the post of Vice President and General Manager of the global intrusion products business for Johnson Controls, which had US$ 500 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019. Advanced cloud-enabled solutions firm This is a major milestone in our 10-year journey to disrupt and transform the security industry" Dave adds, "We are committed to our customers in the security channel while continuing to invest in our roadmap and emerging verticals around the globe. This is a major milestone in our 10-year journey to disrupt and transform the security industry with advanced cloud-enabled solutions that transcend traditional intrusion offerings including advanced automation, energy management, apartment management, building management and wellness for aging in place." The combined volume of Qolsys, DSC, Bentel, Visonic - PowerG and Tyco products positions Johnson Controls as the market share major in advanced security solutions worldwide. IQ Hub, Panel, Water and Router products Qolsys recently announced roadmap products, including the IQ Hub, a lower-priced, third-generation IQ Panel; the IQ Router, a next-generation mesh networking solution to elegantly address the rapidly complex connected home; IQ Water, a connected water shut-off valve designed for mass market retrofit and a fourth generation IQ Panel due in 2021 with Qualcomm chipset supporting AI, M2M and next generation connectivity. Johnson Controls will offer Qolsys products throughout global markets. The IQ Panel 2 Plus and a full line of security and home automation devices are available from authorised Qolsys distributors.

PSA adds Johnson Controls’ Tyco Cloud services to the Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP)
PSA adds Johnson Controls’ Tyco Cloud services to the Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP)

PSA, the consortium of professional systems integrators, announces the addition of Tyco Cloud to its Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP). Tyco Cloud is a cloud-based physical security management suite from Johnson Controls developed for video surveillance, access control, intelligence, and integration services on an open and modern micro services architecture. “Tyco Cloud has more than 20 years of experience providing cloud-based security services,” said Tim Brooks, PSA’s vice president of sales and vendor management. “As our industry moves more and more towards cloud-based offerings, Tyco Cloud is an important addition to our lineup of products.” Digital revenue streams Tyco Cloud provides the cost efficiency of software as a service (SaaS) with the simplicity of secure cloud connected hardware. Since its inception, Tyco Cloud has helped customers store and manage over 25 billion minutes of video surveillance in the cloud and is available in 140 countries. "PSA is a leading distributor with a powerful history of delivering best in class physical security technologies as well as the training and support their members need to take advantage of the digital transformation happening in our industry," said Martin Renkis, General Manager of Global Cloud Solutions for Physical Security at Johnson Controls. "We are focused on providing the best solutions to create new digital revenue streams for the PSA members and cost-effective value for their customers." On-premise security infrastructure Cloud computing improves efficiency, reduces IT costs, and streamlines application management, while increasing scalability, availability, security, and convenience compared to traditional on-premise security infrastructure. Integrators in the PSA Network can leverage the power of IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence for security with Tyco Cloud. PSA’s MSSP program hinges on uniting partners in cybersecurity and cloud-based security solutions, offering training and certification opportunities and financing options with assistance from PSA.

Johnson Controls release Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet Camera with smart wide dynamic range
Johnson Controls release Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet Camera with smart wide dynamic range

Johnson Controls has added to its successful Illustra Pro camera family with the Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet, featuring new Smart Wide Dynamic Range that optimises video quality while minimising configuration time. Available with standard or telephoto lens and in megapixel resolutions of 3MP and 4K, the Pro Gen3 Bullet provides customers with a selection of video images to match their operational requirements and is ideal for a wide variety of deployments in both medium and large-sized facilities. Smart Wide Dynamic Range available in the Pro Gen3 Bullet reduces configuration time while greatly improving the quality of the video stream in varying lighting environments. By effectively reading the scene, the Bullet can adjust contrasting and overall scene balance without operator intervention. Setup and management costs Setup times are also reduced with the addition of configuration profiles, such as retail, gaming and indoor/outdoor scenes, where camera settings are automatically adjusted based on the environment, with a simple click of a button. The Pro Gen3 Bullet automatically adjusts settings to the desired mount for ceiling or wall for additional labor savings The Pro Gen3 Bullet also automatically adjusts settings to the desired mount for ceiling or wall for additional labor savings. “The smart technology embedded in our latest generation of Illustra Pro cameras automates picture tuning and ensures that what you see is always dynamically optimised even in changing scenes and lighting conditions. We are aiming to reduce operator setup and management costs while always delivering a perfectly configured picture,” said Ric Wilton, Director of Product Management for Illustra. “Adding intelligent, automated capabilities to our solutions is core to our product design and the Illustra portfolio.” Video Intelligence Analytics Building off the previous generation of cameras, the Bullet improves on important features such as Wide Dynamic Range, Illustra IntelliZip bandwidth management, effective failover redundancy, cybersecurity and Video Intelligence Analytics. Users can offload analytic streaming from network video recorders to the edge on Illustra cameras, saving time and resources. This feature, Video Intelligence Analytics, provides real-time, user-customisable event alarms that allow for quick reaction to incidents. By gathering transformative data instantly, users can better allocate human resources elsewhere. As part of the Tyco Cyber Protection Product Security Program, the new generation of Illustra Pro cameras will also have enhanced safeguards against cyber attacks. Cyber-threat resilience With cyber-threat resilience in mind, the solution includes “secure boot” which prompts the installer to change passwords upon installation. Additional safeguard controls include an enhanced security mode, which forces the use of complex, non-default passwords and encrypted communications. The Pro Gen3 Bullet is now available for order in both 3MP and 8MP form factors, with additional options coming soon.