Valley Health is a non-profit organisation that provides healthcare throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. With its headquarters in Winchester, Virginia, Valley Health now operates six hospitals: Winchester Medical Center, Warren Memorial Hospital, Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, Page Memorial Hospital, Hampshire Memorial Hospital and War Memorial Hospital.

In 2010, Valley Health admitted 31,000 inpatients, swiftly handled more than 112,000 emergency room visits and totalled more than 875,000 outpatient encounters. The healthcare system employs more than 5,300 people with a medical staff of more than 500.

Retiring analogue surveillance systems

While Valley Health has been building new hospitals and renovating older healthcare facilities over the past few years, it has also been slowly retiring its old analogue surveillance system in favour of a new system designed and installed by Executive Protection Systems (EPS), a MOBOTIX partner. EPS specified a system of more than 100 cameras, consisting of every type of MOBOTIX camera, and a number of groundbreaking applications, throughout multiple Valley Health facilities to coincide with renovations.

During the construction of a new tower at one hospital, for example, Arthur Yow, Director of Safety and Security for Valley Health, was faced with the challenge of removing all of the analogue cameras to allow for the tower’s construction and then moving all of the cameras back into place once the construction was completed. "We had quite a dilemma because moving all the cameras back would have been a huge expense for outdated technology," Yow said. "That’s when I said, ‘We need to look into IP cameras.’ It was just the right time to do it." Since then, EPS has installed comprehensive MOBOTIX solutions at all of Valley Health’s new hospitals. Every time an analogue camera at an older location fails, EPS is called in to replace the analogue camera with a MOBOTIX camera.

Healthcare facilities' sound detection systems

Along the way, EPS and Valley Health have encountered some unique security challenges that required quick, innovative thinking. In one case, Valley Health discovered that their sound detection system for security in a parking garage stairwell was not working properly and needed replacing. In another, Valley Health administrators wanted to create a time lapse to show the complete construction process of a new hospital in a few minutes via a collection of snapshots. Both of these challenges – including the overall replacement of analogue systems – were solved by EPS with MOBOTIX solutions.

The MOBOTIX T24 is configured, just like Valley Health’s old solution, to alert authorities when a loud noise is detected
MOBOTIX T24 door stations provide
hemispheric camera for a 180-degree
view as well as two-way communication
of the stairwells

Valley Health always had a noise detection system in the parking garage stairwell to ensure patients, visitors and employees travelled to and from their vehicles safely. However, during renovations Yow discovered that the solution was no longer working. Yow contacted EPS, who at this point had been working with Valley Health for quite some time. The integrators proposed a solution that would not only replace their old noise detection system, but also improve upon it. Throughout the stairwell, EPS repurposed multiple MOBOTIX T24 door stations, which are IP video door stations equipped with a high-resolution, hemispheric camera for a 180-degree view as well as two-way communication.

The T24 is configured, just like Valley Health’s old solution, to alert authorities when a loud noise is detected. But unlike the healthcare group’s old system, the T24 also offers video of the scene, which allows responders to fully assess the situation and enables them to deploy the appropriate response. "It’s similar to those blue call boxes you often see around college campuses," Yow said. "This is a great product as it gives us sound detection as well as the visual capabilities, and we can weed out false alarms and employees, patients and visitors can use it to contact personnel in non-emergency situations as well."

"With their old system, when it worked, the sound detection would alert authorities to a potential incident, but the responder would be going in blind. With the camera in place they know what to expect," said Mike Guevremont, President, EPS. "In addition, when people manually contact authorities through the T24, it helps reduce stress for that person. Just like with OnStar in vehicles, as soon as you start talking to another person your stress level goes down. There are a lot of different benefits, and this isn’t even the T24’s intended purpose. We took a great MOBOTIX product, did a little tweaking, and were able to take the hospital’s security to the next level." In addition, Valley Health wanted to create a time lapse of the construction of a new hospital, from the groundbreaking to the opening ceremony. Once again, they contacted EPS, who proposed a MOBOTIX M24 camera.

The M24 is a low-cost, 3.1-megapixel camera that is suitable for indoor and outdoor use with a 180-degree panorama view. MOBOTIX high-resolution cameras provide the best image clarity available, and the company’s decentralised approach to surveillance keeps the system cost-effective. One MOBOTIX camera with 3.1 megapixels records 30 times more detail than traditional CCTV cameras. As a result, larger image areas of up to 360-degree views are possible, which allows users to cover more of their property with fewer cameras, reducing upfront and long-term costs. Unlike other systems, the decentralised MOBOTIX concept incorporates a high-speed computer into every camera, which reduces network bandwidth because video is processed on the cameras themselves and images do not have to be transferred continuously.

Valley Health has installed more than 100 MOBOTIX cameras throughout four of its six hospitals
EPS repurposed multiple MOBOTIX T24 door stations on stairwell for a 180-degree view as well as two-way communication

Over 100 MOBOTIX cameras deployed

Overall, Valley Health has installed more than 100 MOBOTIX cameras throughout four of its six hospitals and continues to install more as old analogue cameras are replaced. The healthcare group has utilised the 360-degree views of MOBOTIX’s Q24 and the 6.2-megapixel potential of the D14 DualDome cameras to secure interior hallways, intersections and entrances. MOBOTIX M12 cameras provide superb perimeter security with day and night features from hospital rooftops.

"We’ve installed at least one of every type of MOBOTIX camera in every hospital," said Kevin Ganczak, Chief Technology Officer, EPS. "Having MOBOTIX cameras that have so many functions built-in is great, especially for larger customers. It provides us with a lot of flexibility to find the best camera for the job and to exceed customer expectations." In addition, EPS deployed MxControlCenter, professional video management software included with the purchase of MOBOTIX cameras at no additional cost, at Valley Health hospitals to create a large, interconnected system. The software includes all of the functions required from a robust security software solution, including unlimited users, simple configuration and installation, a layout editor for floor plans, and a user-friendly interface and camera view. "The security officers and I now have the capability to view cameras from our PC," Yow said. "That is amazing to me."


MOBOTIX solutions now cover most, if not all, of four of Valley Health’s six hospitals, and Yow couldn’t be more pleased with the cameras’ enhanced safety, incident investigation and covertness. The superb image quality produced by the MOBOTIX cameras has impressed Yow and helped create an environment where incidents can be thoroughly and quickly investigated while reducing crime and incident response times. "There is no comparison between the pictures we view now from the MOBOTIX cameras and the images produced by the analogue cameras," Yow said. "Plus, the cameras, particularly the Q24s, are so small that people don’t even know they are there. They look like a smoke detector or speaker, and they cover such a wide field of view that helps reduce the number of cameras needed."

The innovative T24 solution provided by EPS helping Valley Health minimise false alarms. For instance, someone may slam a stairwell door shut and trigger the noise detection alarm, but the video feed will quickly allow the responders to see that no danger exists. In addition, it allows them to be prepared for the emergency before they arrive on the scene. "You never know what is going to happen, whether in the parking garage stairwell, the parking lot or the lobby, and we wanted to be prepared for whatever happens," Yow said. “Someone could slip and fall; patients with dementia may accidentally wander off. It helps reduce theft, and it has on multiple occasions helped police officers investigate a broad range of incidents." Today, EPS continues to replace Valley Health’s failing analogue cameras and install comprehensive IP-based MOBOTIX systems at new hospitals while Valley Health forges on with the purchase, renovation and build-out of new facilities. "Every time we turn around Valley Health is expanding or renovating new properties," Ganczak said. "The team loves the cameras and are quickly learning how to use the system to its full potential."

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

In case you missed it

COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems
COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems

Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favour are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. Touchless biometric systems in demand The trend has translated into a sharp decline in purchase of touch modality and a sharp increase in the demand for touchless systems, says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Biometrics solutions are being affected unequally, depending on whether they involve touch sensing, he says. Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads “Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Zarrabi. “From our company’s experience, we see it as a huge catalyst for touchless suppliers. We have projects being accelerated for touchless demand and have closed a number of large contracts very fast. I’m sure it’s true for anyone who is supplying touchless solutions.” Biometric systems are also seeing the addition of thermal sensors to measure body temperature in addition to the other sensors driving the system. Fingerscans and hybrid face systems TBS offers 2D and 3D systems, including both fingerscans and hybrid face/iris systems to provide touchless identification at access control points. Contactless and hygienic, the 2D Eye system is a hybrid system that combines the convenience of facial technology with the higher security of iris recognition. The system recognises the face and then detects the iris from the face image and zeros in to scan the iris. The user experiences the system as any other face recognition system. The facial aspect quickens the process, and the iris scan heightens accuracy. TBS also offers the 2D Eye Thermo system that combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module. TBS's 2D Eye Thermo system combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module Another TBS system is a 3D Touchless Fingerscan system that provides accuracy and tolerance, anti-spoofing, and is resilient to water, oil, dust and dirt. The 2D+ Multispectral for fingerprints combines 2D sensing with “multispectral” subsurface identification, which is resilient to contaminants and can read fingerprints that are oily, wet, dry or damaged – or even through a latex glove. In addition, the 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue. The system fills the market gap for consent-based true on-the-fly systems, says Zarrabi. The system captures properties of the hand and has applications in the COVID environment, he says. The higher accuracy and security ratings are suitable for critical infrastructure applications, and there is no contact; the system is fully hygienic. Integration with access control systems Integration of TBS biometrics with a variety of third-party access control systems is easy. A “middleware” subsystem is connected to the network. Readers are connected to the subsystem and also to the corporate access control system. An interface with the TBS subsystem coordinates with the access control system. For example, a thermal camera used as part of the biometric reader can override the green light of the access control system if a high temperature (suggesting COVID-19 infection, for example) is detected. The enrollment process is convenient and flexible and can occur at an enrollment station or at an administration desk. Remote enrollment can also be accomplished using images from a CCTV camera. All templates are encrypted. Remotely enrolled employees can have access to any location they need within minutes. The 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue Although there are other touchless technologies available, they cannot effectively replace biometrics, says Zarrabi. For example, a centrally managed system that uses a Bluetooth signal from a smart phone could provide convenience, is “touchless,” and could suffice for some sites. However, the system only confirms the presence and “identity” of a smart phone – not the person who should be carrying it. “There has been a lot of curiosity about touchless, but this change is strong, and there is fear of a possible second wave of COVID-19 or a return in two or three years,” says Zarrabi. “We really are seeing customers seriously shifting to touchless.”

How to maximise your body temperature detection systems
How to maximise your body temperature detection systems

There are many companies jumping into selling temperature detection systems to the state, local governments, hospitals, airports and local businesses, but do they know how to drive one? Anyone can get behind a car and drive it into a wall by accident. The same can happen with a temperature detection system.  The first thing you should ask is “does my firm have a certified thermographer?”. If not, the firm are at risk of getting a low quality system that is being resold to make quick cash. Businesses that are doing this do not know how to operate it properly. Asking the right questions Secondly, you should ask whether the system is NDAA compliant. NDAA compliance means that your temperature detection equipment is protected by U.S. law. Does your system have a HSRP device (blackbody)? HSRP (Heat Source Reference Point) is a device that will allow the camera to detect the correct temperature a distance. Even if the room temperature does change throughout the day, treat it as a reference point for the camera to know the temperature at that distance. Can your system scan mutliple people at once? Can your system scan mutliple people at once? This is a bad question but often asked since most systems will say yes. For ease, everyone wants to scan many people at once, but the best practice according to FDA and CDC guidelines is to run one person at a time for best accuracy. Why? The HSRP (blackbody) device tells the camera what the correct temperature is at a given distance away from the camera. Every foot you are away from the HSRP device will be off by 0.1 degrees roughly. If you are in a room full of people, let's say 6, in view of the camera, every person that is not next to the HSRP device (5) will be given an inaccurate reading. Hence why it is so important to run the system correctly with just one person at a time. You will also need to follow the 6 feet rule. If you take that into consideration, one at a time at 6 feet apart, the device should tell you how you need to run the system. Sensitivity of thermal imaging Is your system’s sensor accurate enough? The FDA recommends an error of ±0.5°C or better. When looking for a system, make sure it is better than what they recommend. I would recommend ±0.3°C or better. Do not purchase a system over ±-.5°C degrees as you are doing yourself and your customers or employees an injustice.  Another thing to look at is how many pixels it can determine the temperature from. Some cameras can only tell the temperature of 6 points on the screen, whilst others can take a temperature reading from each pixel. Take a 384x288 camera, for example, which would be over 110,000 points of temperature taking on a single image.      Thermal cameras are very sensitive, so there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. For example, the system cannot see through glasses or hats. On the below image you can see a person with the visual camera on the right, whilst on the left side is through a thermal camera.  Both are pointing at the same area. It is clear the person on the left side is “invisible” to the thermal imaging camera. Demonstrating the sensitivity of thermal imaging If you are a company who wants to detect the temperature of customers or employees though the front door, window or a car window, the answer would be no. You need a clear line of sight without any interference to scan for temperatures. Other things you need to look out for is wind and distance away from the HSRP (blackbody) device. Air and distance away from the HSRP device will make the system less and less accurate the more space between the device. Air and distance away from the HSRP device will make the system less and less accurate Thermal imaging and COVID-19 If you have a clear line of sight, is there anything I need to know? The answer is yes. Reflective materials such as metal can interfere with your temperature readings. Reflective materials are easily picked up from the thermal side so pointing at a medal, glass or anything reflective can cause inaccuracies within the system. In the age of COVID-19, temperature detection systems are more important than ever. Organisations must get a system in place to help scan for high temperatures in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

What are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?
What are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?

Protecting the oil and gas market is key to a thriving economy. The list of security challenges for oil and gas requires the best technology solutions our industry has to offer, from physical barriers to video systems to cybersecurity. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?