St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) has a history dating back to 1869. The Catholic health care organisation is governed by St. Joseph’s Health Care Society of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, and its services are publicly funded. Today, the hospital system--which consists of four major sites and more than 3 million square feet of space--is one of Ontario, Canada’s leading teaching hospitals. Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s is one of the best academic health care organisations in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimising the effects of injury, disease and disability.

Together, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care, and Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care comprise the hospital system, which has an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.

Affiliated with the University of Western Ontario (Western University), St. Joseph’s annually hosts approximately 2,000 residents, clinical fellows and other health discipline students from colleges and universities around the world. Its 4,044 employees and 900-plus physicians complete approximately 22,148 day surgeries and 34,321 urgent care visits yearly.

St. Joseph’s Security Control Centre handles all emergency calls for the entire organisation 24/7 and responds to potential acts of violence, fires, bomb threats, medical emergencies, missing patients, inclement weather, chemical spills, evacuations and critical infrastructure failures. In addition, security personnel monitor the organisation’s expansive surveillance system to help ensure the overall safety of patients and employees.

The challenges

St. Joseph’s security program began with a small VHS recording system more than two decades ago. Over the years, a stronger emphasis has been placed on ensuring the safety of St. Joseph’s equipment, employees and its patients, and as security technology has evolved, the hospital system’s surveillance system has advanced and expanded as well.

The organisation recently decided its analogue video surveillance system was in need of an upgrade to IP technology. Because St. Joseph’s Hospital was planning a renovation and wing addition, the security staff chose this facility for a new system.

St. Joseph’s security team had been experiencing delays playing back video, said Mike Bessegato, director of Fire & Security Services/Emergency Planning at St. Joseph’s. “We weren’t able to find and review the right video footage quickly enough in the event of an incident,” he said. “And with analogue cameras, you’re definitely limited in terms of being able to see people clearly and identify them.” On the hospital’s wish list for an upgraded system was real-time viewing, more detailed images and the ability for operators to simultaneously view more than six cameras per screen in the control centre.

One of the challenges that Bessegato and his team wanted to address was St. Joseph’s unique security and surveillance requirements for different areas and facilities within the organisation. For example, the hospital system’s mental health facilities require nearly 100 percent surveillance coverage to provide protection for both the staff and patients. Other monitored areas range from public corridors where pharmaceuticals are housed for emergencies to remote parking areas. But the needs didn’t end there. The Security Control Centre takes in approximately 500 calls in an eight-hour period, so security officials required a system that would enable staff to respond to a high volume of calls while providing a safe and secure environment for patients, staff and visitors.

The solution

With its security needs laid out, the organisation’s integrator of more than 20 years, Integrated Video & Surveillance Inc.,

The organisation recently decided its analogue video surveillance system was in need of an upgrade to IP technology

presented St. Joseph’s with a plan to bring the hospital system into the IP world and position it for the future.

“I’ve been here 22 years now, and Integrated Video & Surveillance Inc. has been maintaining our cameras ever since,” Bessegato explained. “They continue to bring forward the newest and latest technology and have helped our security system evolve--particularly as St. Joseph’s has grown and security has become bigger and more important within the organisation.”

Because Bessegato and his team of 60 were looking for a similar user interface to their current video management system, along with strong analytics and better resolution, the integrator ultimately recommended the VideoEdge video management system from Tyco Security Products’ American Dynamics brand.

Together, with more than 45 new Illustra IP cameras, the security platform would allow St. Joseph’s to realise the capabilities of IP, while seamlessly managing current analogue cameras that they weren’t quite ready to upgrade. Overall response time would be faster, and operators in the control centre would be able to view 32 cameras on one screen. Previously, operators had only been able to view six cameras at once.

While St. Joseph’s previous video management platform allowed security personnel to view real-time video, they had been experiencing latency, along with interruptions during playback. “The VideoEdge VMS allows us immediate playback and real-time viewing, allowing our guards to react to events as they happen,” Bessegato explained. In addition, he said, no latency means security personnel can follow people from camera to camera more smoothly, and the high-definition resolution allows for much better image quality.

“Another pro we found is that we can capture still images from the video review without having to save the video clip first. That has been an important bonus for us to be able to immediately export a face or license plate without taking additional steps,” Bessegato said.

The organisation’s 600+ cameras are used to manage slip and fall incidents, equipment theft, and even to make sure areas have been salted during the winter to prevent potential accidents. “High-resolution cameras can spot these things, and dispatchers can work very efficiently this way,” said Tim Hobbs, managing partner at Integrated Video & Surveillance Inc. For example, one recorded incident in a facility parking lot showed a driver backing into another car and leaving the scene. The resolution was high enough to provide staff with clear images of the incident and driver’s license plate, Hobbs explained.

Security personnel have also benefitted from other capabilities such as sophisticated analytics, made possible by the powerful victor client used with VideoEdge. “With the victor client, St. Joseph’s can count people going in and out of a building to estimate traffic on the floor, and they can analyse which corridors or entries are being used more. They can also set restricted areas that will cause an alarm to pop up for security personnel if someone is walking into a controlled area,” said Hobbs.

Although St. Joseph’s has one control centre, staff can also view video at individual locations via PC and remotely. The VMS allows security personnel to send live video to other monitors or personnel at other sites, allowing guards across different cities to react to an event very quickly.

Hobbs added that the VideoEdge VMS with victor has allowed St. Joseph’s the flexibility to prioritise not only which existing equipment needs to be upgraded, but also the flexibility to choose the type of cameras they need for a particular solution. “For instance, in some areas of the new hospital wing, we wanted high definition for facial recognition in an entryway. In other areas where we just needed eyes down a long hallway, for example, we could use a lower-budget option and save some money,” he said. “It’s nice to have a system that allows you to prioritise your surveillance needs, while integrating it all together seamlessly--it allows us to design a very complete video system that way.”

“The VideoEdge VMS allows us immediate playback and real-time viewing, allowing our guards to react to events as they happen”

Future

Though St. Joseph’s new security platform will allow it to upgrade the entire surveillance system over time, the ultimate intention is to get there sooner rather than later.

“Our goal is to be completely digital as soon as we can,” Bessegato said. “The benefits we see so far with the video management platform and IP cameras have been paramount. IP augments so many of our other procedures and has been very beneficial to our organisation.”

The customer - St. Joseph’s Health Care London

St. Joseph’s Health Care London is one of Ontario’s leading teaching hospitals, contributing to the advancement of health care, education and research. Its services publicly funded, St. Joseph’s is a Catholic health care organisation, owned by St. Joseph’s Health Care Society of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London and governed by a volunteer board of directors representing the community. In 2014, St. Joseph’s Health Care London ranked eighth in the country, according to “Canada’s Top 40 Research Hospitals” list from Lawson Health Research Institute.

The integrator - Integrated Video & Surveillance Inc.

Integrated Video and Surveillance Inc. offers installation and service to the closed circuit camera market. Integration of custom audio visual installations as well as networking and wireless broadcast products keep Integrated Video on the leading edge. Integrated Video offers it services to the policing, industrial, educational and private sectors. The partners in the business are Colin Chambers and Tim Hobbs. Together, the two bring 50 years of combined industry experience to the company. Colin and Tim have worked on the design, installation and service of close to 2,000 camera systems in a variety of applications. The company provides professional assistance on all of its video surveillance systems, industrial viewing applications and digital video recording solutions. Full system integration and control, including networkability, are just a portion of the services the company offers.

The solutions provider - Tyco Security Products

Tyco Security Products and its leading brands conducts business in over 177 countries around the world, in multiple languages and employs over 2,800 employees globally, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, sales, service and logistics teams in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Our products, built by developers from all product disciplines, consistently allow customers to see more, do more, and save more across multiple industries and segments including healthcare, government, transportation, finance, retail, commercial and residential. Worldwide, Tyco Security Products helps protect 42% of Fortune 500 companies, transportation systems on five continents, 37% of the world’s top 100 retailers, over two million commercial enterprises, thousands of students in more than 900 educational facilities, and over five million private residences.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places
Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places

With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed.  Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realise they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimising the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory  We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximise the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.

Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy
Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy

COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown saw an unprecedented demand for cloud-enabled technologies across Europe. Such services enabled people to stay connected and allowed some businesses to relocate personnel and continue to operate successfully. With enterprise-focused video conferencing mobile app downloads showing a weekly 90% increase in comparison to pre-COVID-19 figures, it’s clear that cloud services have proven invaluable in these challenging times. Now, as the benefits to business of cloud technology become apparent, and the grip of COVID-19 begins to loosen, senior decision makers must consider the learnings from the past few months and look to apply them to boost productivity, streamline costs or become more agile in the long term. Digital transformation presents some enticing advantages for those companies that have been slow to adapt. The physical security industry, traditionally video surveillance cameras (CCTV) and access control, will have witnessed how cloud infrastructure is not only cost effective and safe, but is a force multiplier for connecting platforms, services and people with potent business benefits. The future is VSaaS and ACaaS In today’s modern, connected world, dated technologies are giving way to their cloud-enabled successors, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS). In this context, cameras and readers are added to a network as IoT devices that bring security systems up to date and represent a vital component in any modern, cyber-secure digital strategy. Frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings But better security is just one benefit of a much greater system that can bring real value. Built in analytics, for example, that utilise the data from network video cameras and smart access control devices, produce valuable business insights that help to inform and automate decision making. In the recent pandemic, frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings; while occupancy tools have helped retailers adhere to strict government guidelines on social distancing. And as more security equipment becomes connected to the wider IT network, the advantages have not been lost on the IT industry that is expressing more than a passing interest in the adoption and management of such systems. Morphean recently conducted a survey of 1000 IT decision makers across the UK and Europe, with the purpose of providing clarity around their security purchasing intent in the 2020s. Findings revealed that as many as 84% of IT managers are currently using or considering VSaaS or ACaaS systems, pointing to an appreciation of the convergence of physical security and IT security, and a willingness to embrace systems when integrated with IT in the cloud. An adaptable business model with recurring revenues Of course, it is not just the IT industry that is changing mindsets towards hosted physical security. As a result of COVID-19, end customers are demanding it too and found it easier to scale at speed when business circumstances changed. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, a hosted solution offered greater dexterity as operational challenges around the pandemic arose. Businesses were able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing need without the need for large upfront capital investment, instead, paying for the convenience as-a-service out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. This is the proven business model of cloud, yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. VSaaS is still alien to installers and integrators used to selling hardware on narrow margins, reliant on existing financial arrangements with distributors to fund new equipment. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities. This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis. Instead, convenient and recurring monthly payments will have put the installer on a firmer footing and guaranteed ongoing vendor support backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades to ensure delivery of a high quality service that’s always up to date and online. What is driving your digital strategy? VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. CEOs and CIOs within the physical security reseller industry must learn the lessons and apply the learnings to drive their businesses forward in the ‘new normal’ where hosted security solutions must surely play a major part to expand their offering to a wiser customer base. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions represent an investment into improving security and operations, and a chance to forge new business relationships to face the challenges of an ever changing world.

Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world
Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world

Facial recognition technology has come a long way since it first came to market several years ago. Initially plagued with technical challenges and widely viewed as a futuristic solution, facial recognition is now firmly implanted in numerous consumer and business products and applications. New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications. From a purely business perspective, facial recognition’s powerful identification and authentication capabilities make it ideal for two primary applications: first as a security tool, and second as a workforce management solution. The touchless, accurate credential solution Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the touchless nature of facial recognition as an access credential was gaining traction with physical and cyber security professionals. By using an individual’s face as an access control credential, facial recognition eliminates the need and expense of physical cards and proximity devices, or the need to physically enter PIN codes. In addition, facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses by offering a highly accurate touchless access control credentialing solution. As a workforce management tool, facial recognition helps preserve the health of employees checking into work, while providing management with an infallible means of documenting employee time and attendance while providing a detailed history of overall workforce activity and individual personnel tracking. Both of which have been longstanding challenges due to easily compromised time tracking systems and practices. Now, nothing is left to question based on hard data. With the growing popularity of facial recognition technology, there are many choices already available with more undoubtedly on the way. Selecting the right solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management application is dependent on a very wide range of variables. But there are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating facial recognition readers. Wide and near-angle LEDs Most facial recognition terminals employ some form of IR (Infrared) technology to help ensure high visibility by the unit’s image sensor. This often limits where the unit can be installed such as outdoors or near windows due to strong ambient light. More advanced facial recognition readers employ as many as 80 wide-angle near infrared LEDs and 60 narrow-angle near infrared LEDs, allowing the unit to recognise faces even in full daylight and brightly lit environments (not direct sun). This enables installation at indoor locations near windows, lobbies and building entries. 3D pixel intensity distribution analysis Another facial recognition reader advancement to look for involves three-dimensional pixel intensity analysis. Ambient lighting contains ultraviolet rays which can negate near infrared LED lighting, and can also cast shadows making it difficult for a facial recognition reader to pinpoint the facial recognition points required for identification and authentication. Three-dimensional pixel intensity distribution analysis minimises the effects of ambient light when acquiring facial images by minimising lighting contrasts. As a result, it is easier for the algorithm to recognise the shape of the face, enabling it to extract more facial features and create higher quality face templates, which are critical for accurate facial recognition. Functional ergonomics This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience The angle and position of a facial recognition reader directly impact the performance of the unit. Facial recognition readers with different viewing angles for built-in visual and infrared cameras allows users to stand at positions that are most suitable for facial recognition with little or no effort of contortions. This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience. High performance processing Like any intelligent edge device, the performance of a facial recognition solution is directly reliant on its processing power. New advanced facial recognition readers deliver exceptional performance by employing enhanced face template extraction technology combined with powerful processor. For example, a facial recognition reader with a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor can perform up to 3,000 facial database matches (1:N) within one second. More advanced solutions also feature Group Matching functionality capable of executing up to 30,000 matches within one second. Live face detection It is most important that the facial recognition readers you evaluate are capable of analysing faces in real time to maintain fluid entry/egress even during high volumes of employee traffic. Hardware-dependent live face detection systems employing technologies such as facial thermogram recognition and facial vein recognition require expensive hardware components, provide less accurate matches and slower authentication performance, which is counterintuitive for mainstream access control and workforce management applications. Dual authentication for added security Although the use of an advanced facial recognition reader provides the convenience, health benefits and cost-savings of touchless identification and authentication, there are many applications where more than one credential may be necessary to ensure the highest levels of security. Advanced facial recognition readers with multimodal, multifactor credentialing capabilities provide this added security benefit. For example, facial recognition readers that support multiple RFID proximity devices supporting 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz provide varying degrees of protection and greater implementation versatility. Videophone or intercom capabilities Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution. A perfect example includes devices with SIP (session initiation protocol) videophone capabilities which effectively eliminate the need and associated expense of  installing separate intercom devices while adding another layer of security to one’s facility. The COVID-19 pandemic, and hopefully soon to follow post-pandemic world, have surely accelerated the need for highly accurate, cost-efficient, and reliable facial recognition technologies to help get people back to work safely. Selecting the right facial recognition solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management is now more important than ever before, making a little extra due diligence during the evaluation process a smart decision.