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Making School Safety A Priority With Smart Technology
Making School Safety A Priority With Smart Technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

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 organizational (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 centers. 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 Center “The military has figured out that you are more alert when you are standing,” says Randy Smith, President of Winsted, and the realization is guiding emergency operations center (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 motorized 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 centers. 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

Endless possibilities for security deployment have been made possible with technological advancements 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 the company’s headquarters in Chicago. 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 percent 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 labeled 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.

Latest Ava Security news

Ava Security’s Report Reveals The Effectiveness Of Video Security Systems In Loss Prevention And Supporting COVID-19 Measures
Ava Security’s Report Reveals The Effectiveness Of Video Security Systems In Loss Prevention And Supporting COVID-19 Measures

Existing CCTV and video monitoring systems are already working well to reduce retail shrinkage and are now being extended to help keep stores ‘COVID Safe’, found a new retail sector study of 111 high street retailers based in the UK, US, Sweden, and Norway, carried out by Video Security as a Service (VSaaS) provider AVA Security in March 2021. An array of insights into what value physical retailers’ existing video security systems are detailed in the 15 pages Ava Security retail sector video security trends report 2021, published this week. Video security systems The research revealed that the biggest loss prevention gains from the use of video monitoring in stores were in shoplifting where 58% of retail sector security decision-makers recorded significant reductions in losses from shoplifting as a result of video security and 9% went further to reveal that their video security systems had completely eliminated shoplifting. Nearly half (46%) of retailers reported major reductions in losses linked to vandalism of property Over half (54%) confirmed that their video systems were significantly reducing theft or fraud by staff and contractors. Exactly half reported that in-store CCTV systems were significantly reducing losses from slip and fall insurance claims and 13% confirmed that their video systems had eliminated losses from fraudulent slip and fall claims. Nearly half (46%) of retailers reported major reductions in losses linked to vandalism of property had been achieved through the use of video monitoring and recording. Video security systems One in six retailers (17%) believed that vandalism of their property had been completely eliminated through the use of CCTV. And 41% recorded that ‘damage to goods by our staff’ had been reduced significantly through the use of video security. 39% of retailers reported it takes too long and proves too difficult to find relevant video sequences having uncovered a loss incident. The next most significant factor preventing further loss prevention in this study was the poor performance of their surveillance cameras in low or no light conditions. This was preventing 34% of retailers from reducing shrinkage further. Nearly a third (32%) of retailers’ claimed the fact that their video security systems’ did not offer early warning functionality (which can be provided by good quality audio analytics or video motion detection) was preventing them from reducing shrinkage further. Video monitoring systems The retail sector has been turning to video analytics to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission Over a quarter (26%) of retailers admitted that their video monitoring systems don’t work well for loss prevention because the cameras that were installed on-site were originally put in for a different purpose such as remote management of visual merchandising or footfall analysis. The retail sector has been turning to video analytics to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission as they open up to more customers. A total of 87% of retail sector decision-makers questioned by Ava Security saw a clear role for their video monitoring systems in supporting safe re-opening of their doors to staff and customers. Nearly half of this group (48%) had already put their existing video monitoring systems to work to help reinforce social distancing measures. A further 39% anticipated doing so over the next 12 months. This means ‘net deployment’ for this purpose was 88%. Onsite video cameras Not far behind was the use of thermal camera-based analytics to help run temperature checks on visitors: 39% of retailers across the four countries in the Ava study had already deployed this capability, while a further 38% predicted to do so in the next 12 months. Only 22% of retail sector respondents had no plans to deploy temperature checking Despite some concerns about the accuracy of these solutions, only 22% of retail sector respondents had no plans to deploy temperature checking via onsite video cameras. The US proved to be the main adopter of temperature checking in retail – with deployment levels almost three times higher than in the UK. Video systems have been adapted to help monitor shopper density levels in high footfall areas within stores. 47% of retailers have already installed this analytics capability, while a further 38% plan to do so within the next 12 months. Facial recognition analytics Despite the controversy associated with the deployment of facial recognition, some 30% of retailers have already deployed facial recognition analytics at the entrances to staff-only areas to enable contactless access control and a further 34% plan to do so over the next 12 months. For the 79% of all retail sector are actively considering Video Security as a Service (VSaaS) options right now. There were many criteria determining provider selection: 91% net considering VSaaS right now agreed with the statement ‘it (the VSaaS provider selected) must allow us to continue using our existing third-party cameras which we have already installed, we don’t want to rip & replace any equipment.’ The desire to hold onto existing security cameras and other equipment through the migration to VSaaS was considered a very important consideration in provider selection by 43% of retail respondents. Video analytics capabilities Not wasting prior investment in on-premise security systems is key to VSaaS provider success Net 90% of retailers considering VSaaS confirmed, ‘It must allow us to view their directly attached cloud cameras alongside our third-party cameras on the same interface.’ The fact that these two factors are so important confirms that not wasting prior investment in on-premise security systems is key to VSaaS provider success. Net 86% of retailers regarded it as important that the VSaaS it selected ‘must enable us to run the latest video analytics capabilities such as occupancy levels for social distance management (in a room), noise analytics (e.g., breaking glass, screaming, yelling, etc.), people and vehicle search, object searching and color searching.’ The fourth most important factor was the cyber security credentials of the selected VSaaS provider, a net of 84% confirmed that its VSaaS ‘must have very strong cyber security, including end-to-end encryption from the camera to the cloud.’ Cyber security credentials Only marginally behind cyber security credentials came to Video Management Software functionality continuity - a net 83% of retailers specified that their selected VSaaS ‘must allow us to use our existing Video Management Software (VMS) or provide the same functionality as we get from our VMS.’ A net 82% insisted their VSaaS ‘must allow us to continue existing integration with other physical security and safety systems. The Ava Security Retail Sector Video Security Trends Report 2021 provides a wealth of data, graphs, and insight linked to how Operations, Facilities Management, Security and IT directors and managers within the retail sector in the US, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, are adapting their video security systems in the wake of the pandemic. Increased operational efficiencies It also provides insight into how they are now preparing for the easing of lockdown restrictions It also provides insight into how they are now preparing for the easing of lockdown restrictions. Most states across the USA have already reopened their shops but mask-wearing and social distancing recommendations are still being encouraged in stores across the US and Europe. Vegard Aas, Head of Online Business at Ava Security, commented: “Our findings indicate that retailers, which have been enthusiastic adopters of video security to reduce well-known shrinkage sources and deliver increased operational efficiencies through remote monitoring for example, are now upgrading these systems by adding new video analytics to reduce losses further and promote COVID Safety in stores.” Video security systems “We are also seeing a strong interest from this sector for moving video security systems into the cloud. It makes sense because many retailers have multiple shops which their managers monitor remotely using the in-store cameras.” “Moving video recording and management into the cloud using a VSaaS system could help ensure more efficient access and storage of key video sequences and cut capital expenditure as dedicated PCs running VMSs locally should no longer be needed in each shop in a VSaaS scenario. There are significant savings to be had and efficiencies to be derived if cloud migrations are managed correctly.”

Ava Security Announces SourceIT As New Strategic Partner To Promote Intelligent Cloud Video Surveillance
Ava Security Announces SourceIT As New Strategic Partner To Promote Intelligent Cloud Video Surveillance

Ava Security, a unified service provider of cyber security and cloud video surveillance solutions, has announced that SourceIT, a specialist in the design, distribution, and support of physical security solutions for integrators, is the company’s newest strategic partner. Partnership with SourceIT The partnership allows SourceIT to offer the Ava Cloud Video Security Solution The partnership allows SourceIT to offer the Ava Cloud Video Security Solution, as part of its modern video surveillance systems portfolio. Ava’s complete cloud-based security platform, consisting of the Ava Aware Cloud video management system (VMS), Ava Cameras, and Ava Cloud Connector, extends a video surveillance solution with full analytics and operational insights to existing security cameras and systems. Intelligent cloud video surveillance The simplicity and flexibility of Ava’s intelligent video surveillance solutions safeguard people, property, and data proactively. Ava’s simple, open and scalable video security solution offers the following features: Detects threats and anomalies in real-time, allowing operators to respond before threats become incidents. Extends real-time anomaly detection, proactive security notifications, and smart search capabilities with a single interface to direct cloud-connected Ava devices and existing on-premises security cameras. Unifies the tools and systems used every day with an easy transition to a cloud video surveillance solution. Optimizes design and deployment for lower operational costs and increased flexibility. Allows access from web browsers or mobile apps anywhere in the world. ‘Transitioning to cloud video security’ webinar To learn more about transitioning to modern cloud video security, interested individuals can join on July 27, 2021, for a webinar, hosted by SourceIT and Ava. Lawrence Leiker, Director of Business Development of SourceIT, said “Our team is thrilled to partner with Ava to bring this modern, intelligent solution to integrators. Ava has gained incredible traction with its products because it has transformed so much about video surveillance’s quality, experience, and effectiveness.” Intelligent video surveillance solution Lawrence Leiker said, “We are especially excited about how it leverages existing infrastructure, drives proactive security through powerful analytics and increases efficiency and positive outcomes through amazingly fast forensic searches.” Amie Ray, Distribution and Partner Manager, Americas, at Ava Security, said “Our shared vision for strengthening physical security through modern, integrated cloud-based video security solutions makes SourceIT a perfect partner for Ava Security. We know that as a leader in the design, distribution, and deployment of video security products, SourceIT is always scouting for the best solutions for their customers. We are excited they have selected Ava to help keep them delivering on their mission.”

Pro Cloud SaaS Partners With Ava Security To Help Organizations Protect Valuable Assets Form Physical And Cyber Security Threats
Pro Cloud SaaS Partners With Ava Security To Help Organizations Protect Valuable Assets Form Physical And Cyber Security Threats

Pro Cloud SaaS announces it’s new partnership with Ava Security. Ava Security is uniquely positioned to deliver both cyber security and physical security solutions to organizations worldwide. Pro Cloud SaaS is a global organization and partners with the most recognized SaaS providers and SaaS consumers on the planet. Their Professional Services Engineers are strategically located in Australia, India, Qatar, Zambia, Belgium, Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States to provide clients with global delivery and 24/7 support. Cyber security solution “By adopting a unified approach to both cyber and physical security, organizations can proactively protect their most valuable assets - their people, property, and critical infrastructure. Our combination of market-leading cyber and video security technology is becoming increasingly powerful for organizations looking to improve their security posture, in both the physical and digital worlds. This strategic partnership with Pro Cloud SaaS will help us increase our reach and promote Ava Security’s approach worldwide, through a trusted cloud solutions provider,” said Tormod Ree, CEO of Ava Security. Ava’s human-centric cyber security solution - Ava Reveal - employs a powerful combination of policy, machine learning sensors and real-time user education to prevent IP theft and sabotage, improve cyber hygiene, and accelerate threat hunting. Video surveillance solution Ava Reveal helps organizations to detect, monitor, and respond to insider threats in real-time Ava Reveal helps organizations to detect, monitor, and respond to insider threats in real-time - protecting their users, data and reputation. Ava’s end-to-end intelligent video surveillance solution - Ava Aware - delivers proactive video security and insight, including integrated video and audio analytics uniquely powered by machine learning algorithms, smart appliances, and smart cameras. The Ava Aware platform can also add intelligence to existing video security systems helping organizations to detect threats, human or vehicle and raising alerts to respond in real-time. Ava Aware increases security efficiency, streamlines forensics and searches, and provides valuable operational insights and data beyond traditional surveillance systems. Potential security threats "Ava Security is a gamechanger and a very complementary fit with Pro Cloud SaaS's Tier One Eco Partners," said Shane Hannan, Pro Cloud SaaS Founder and Managing Director APAC. "Ava is a true SaaS platform that will help our customers on their migration to the simplicity and security of the cloud. Many customers are stuck with on-prem video security data storage and servers, which is costly and potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks.” “Ava removes this burden along with providing advanced analytics/machine learning. This feature provides real-time incident alerts vs. time-consuming forensic investigation." Pro Cloud SaaS looks forward to working with Ava Security to help mobilize companies and keep them protected from all potential security threats - malicious, careless, or accidental.