Security camera mounts - Expert commentary

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.

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Eneo Complete Systems Are Being Used In Over Sixty Müller Health And Beauty Retailers
Eneo Complete Systems Are Being Used In Over Sixty Müller Health And Beauty Retailers

Müller is one of Europe’s leading health and beauty retail companies. Nearly 24,000 employees work in over 600 locations all over the continent. And Müller continues to grow: an average of 50 new stores are opened each year with a product range which includes CDs, toys and stationery and really sets itself apart from the competition – at prices which Müller invites you to check against competitors’ prices, in accordance with their slogan: “You should compare our prices.” Müller ensures that prices will remain just as low in the future by using eneo video surveillance which has been installed in over sixty Müller stores so far. Inventory discrepancies are a growing problem in retail and can lead to rising prices if they are not prevented effectively. Thus protecting honest customers is essential. At Müller, the installation of the systems is always in accordance with strict data protection regulations which are fulfilled meticulously by the responsible installation company. Why did Müller choose eneo? “Based on the recommendation of our installation company, we carried out a three-week test in one location, and it was very successful,” explains Mario Messner, Managing Director at the security agency Müller Sicherheitsdienst Ulm MSDU. “Due to the high image quality, a lower recording rate was sufficient compared to another recorder model which we had in operation at the same time with 25 pictures per second. Because we wanted to keep the memory requirements as low as possible, it didn’t take us long to make a decision. We were also impressed by the price-performance ratio, which is significant when numerous cameras are being installed in each store.” Mario Messner has never regretted this decision, quite the contrary. “We now have numerous cameras, domes and recorders from eneo in operation in over sixty stores. The number is in the hundreds. The failure rate is so minimal that it is negligible. The equipment is absolutely reliable.”

Security With 360° Video Surveillance: Use Of The Eneo Almira Camera In The Jewish Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
Security With 360° Video Surveillance: Use Of The Eneo Almira Camera In The Jewish Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt is one of the three major Jewish museums in Germany.  It traces the interrelationship between Jews in Germany and their environment based on the example of Frankfurt.  Prior to World War II the city of Frankfurt had the highest percentage of Jewish inhabitants with over 26,000 Jewish citizens.  The building is secured today by 360° video surveillance.  Its open character was intentionally selected, as the changing exhibitions are to be accessible to all interested visitors.  However the museum, which is housed in two classical mansions, is one of the sites generally at risk as is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.  A balancing act that requires exceptional understanding from decision makers when it comes to security precautions. Blind angles caused by concrete columns in the foyerThe solid reinforced concrete construction of the building complex renovated in the 1980s in particular cannot always be regarded as being advantageous.  Several concrete columns in the entrance area obstruct viewing and proved to be restrictive for installation of a video surveillance system suitable for identification of persons. Thomas Sittig, Technical Director of the Museum and responsible for security said, "In addition to appropriate checks of baggage and persons we have been using video surveillance since the opening.  However, we encountered some difficulties in extending the existing system in the sensitive entrance area - on the one hand some areas of the foyer are difficult to view, and on the other hand the cable routing was made difficult because of the reinforced concrete and it is not possible to put it under plaster."Perfect solution replaces several cameras In the planning phase Peter Kleist, the Project Manager of Heer GmbH from Frankfurt, therefore proposed a solution with 360° video surveillance.  He said, "The floor plan would have made at least five or six conventional surveillance cameras necessary to cover all the angles.  But when we then considered the Almira System with its four virtual cameras, it immediately awakened great interest!″  The special lens of this ultra wide-angle camera not only delivers a 360° image field; with the ‘Almira C-1202', up to four virtual cameras can be displayed and controlled with full Pan/Tilt/Zoom functionality.  The system is installed at a three-metre height so it can be seen and it has the whole foyer in view.  Plus, its high-resolution 3-megapixel CMOS sensor delivers brilliant quality pictures to the full satisfaction of viewers when they view the 42" plasma monitor in the control centre. Three megapixels for clear and sharp picturesThe Security Officer can now choose between 2 x 180° panorama, 4 x 90° panorama or 360° views, and use a Videor KBD1 Keyboard to control the camera and all the fully electronic PTZ functions.  At the same time, persons who enter a predefined area can be tracked automatically by the ‘Motion Tracking' function. "Features such as the integral motion detector, 4x zoom and intelligent alarm management are very helpful for us.  In particular the retrospective motion tracking, or the ‘Luggage Left' function that allows objects to be monitored in predefined areas.  The system immediately triggers an alarm when an exhibit is removed or, for example, an unattended bag is added," explained Sittig. High-resolution 360° recording"The 360° camera images are recorded by the ‘Almira R-01' Network Recorder which is matched especially to the Almira Camera," explained Peter Kleist.  "The recorder is connected over a high-speed data link and we installed it behind one of the columns.  It provides the advantage of also allowing execution of the full functionality of the 360° camera with a digital recorder - including the PTZ functions for the recorded pictures." Recording can be carried out controlled by events or time or also continuous; the 400 GB hard disk permits a recording time length of up to several weeks.  Furthermore, duplex operation allows simultaneous recording and replay.  In addition, it has extensive search functions, programmable pre- and post-alarm recording and sector naming for monitoring of obscured locations, such as the museum entrance area for example. Heer GmbH installed normal surveillance cameras in the outer area of the Rothschild Palace, which was built from 1812 to 1824.  A total of eleven eneo CCTV cameras monitor the exterior facades, barriers and the different entrances.  In addition to the 42" plasma monitor, their pictures are also switched to a further seven eneo control monitors at the cash desk and personnel entrance, and they are recorded by an eneo 16-channel DLR1 Digital Recorder in the control centre. Designed for discrete video surveillance Sittig is fully satisfied with the innovative camera system.  "The 360° camera with matching recorder is the optimum solution for us - the system fulfills all the criteria we require: it is easy to install, its virtual cameras have everything in view throughout the whole area and they, just like the Almira Recorder, deliver clear and sharp pictures.″In this project, the preventative use of the camera system that is seen immediately upon entering the building is rather unusual: the camera and recorder were designed for discrete video surveillance and can be housed nearly invisibly in the ceiling when required.  Such as the tiny cylinder camera that is installed barely noticeably above the entrance steps and which delivers first-class pictures.