Valley Health is a non-profit organization 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 totaled more than 875,000 outpatient encounters. The healthcare system employs more than 5,300 people with a medical staff of more than 500.

Retiring Analog 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 analog surveillance system in favor 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 analog 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 "We had quite a dilemma because moving all the cameras back would have been a huge expense for outdated technology," Yow said.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 analog camera at an older location fails, EPS is called in to replace the analog 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 analog 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 traveled 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 decentralized 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 decentralized 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 analog cameras are replaced. The healthcare group has utilized 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."

Results

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 analog 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 minimize 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 analog 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."

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What Do You Need To Know About Thermal Imaging Cameras?
What Do You Need To Know About Thermal Imaging Cameras?

As businesses, schools, hospitals and sporting venues look to safely reopen in a COVID-19 world, thermal imaging systems will play a critical role in helping to detect and distinguish skin temperature variations in people. Thermal surveillance, a mainstay of traditional physical security and outdoor perimeter detection, is now being deployed to quickly scan employees, contractors and visitors as part of a first line of defense to detect COVID-19 symptoms. In the coming weeks and months, the security industry will look to implement thermal camera solutions for customers, yet many questions remain as to the differences between different system types and how to properly install thermal imaging cameras. In this Q&A, Jason Ouellette, Head of Technology Business Development for Johnson Controls, answers several of these questions. Q: What are some of the different thermal imaging solutions available in the market to detect an elevated temperature in a person? For the general market, there are three types of these thermographic screenings. There is the handheld device, which is typically lower cost, very portable, and very easy to use. Typically, this is a point and shoot type of device, but it requires you to be three feet or less from the person that you're screening, which, in today's world, means the user needs to wear protective personal equipment. For the general market, there are three types of these thermographic screenings The second type of solution would best be described as a thermal camera and kiosk. The advantage of this system over a handheld device is this can be self-service. An individual would go up to and engage with the kiosk on their own. But many of these kiosk type solutions have some integration capability, so they can provide some type of output, for either turnstiles, or physical access control, but not video management systems (VMS). Some of the downside of this type of system is that it’s less accurate than a thermographic solution because it does not have a blackbody temperature calibration device and the readings are influenced by the surrounding ambient temperature, called thermal drift. So instead of being able to achieve a ±0.3ºC accuracy rating, this system probably provides closer to ±0.5ºC at best. Some of these devices may be classed as a clinical thermometer with a higher degree of one time accuracy, but do not offer the speed and endurance of the thermographic solution for adjunctive use. And then there are thermal imaging camera systems with a blackbody temperature calibration device. These types of systems include a dual sensor camera, that has a visual sensor and a thermal sensor built right into the camera, along with a separate blackbody device. This provides the highest degree of ongoing accuracy, because of the blackbody and its ability to provide continuous calibration. These systems can provide much more flexibility and can offer integrations with multiple VMS platforms and access control devices. Q: When installing a thermal imaging camera system what is the most important element to consider? Camera placement is critical to ensure the system works as expected, however the placement of the blackbody device which verifies the correct calibration is in place is equally as important. If the customer wants to follow FDA medical device recommendations for camera placement, both the height of the camera and the blackbody as well as the distance between these devices should comply with the product installation instructions. This takes into account the device focal range and calibration parameters in addressing the distance from the person undergoing the scan. Also, integrators should minimize camera detection angles to ensure optimal accuracy and install cameras parallel with the face as much as possible, and again in compliance with installation instructions. Integrators should minimize camera detection angles to ensure optimal accuracy The blackbody should be placed outside of the area where people could block the device and located more towards the edges of the field-of-view of the camera. You need to keep in mind the minimum resolution for effective thermographic readings which is 320 by 240 pixels as defined by the standards. To achieve this, you would need to follow medical electrical equipment performance standards driven by IEC 80601-2-59:2017 for human temperature scanning and FDA guidelines. Within that measurement, the face needs to fill 240 x 180 pixels of the thermal sensor resolution, which is close to or just over 50 percent of the sensor’s viewing area typically, meaning a single person scanned at a time in compliance with the standards for accuracy.  Along with height and distance placement considerations, the actual placement in terms of the location of the system is key. For example, an expansive glass entryway may impact accuracy due to sunlight exposure. Installations should be focused on ensuring that they are away from airflow, heating and cooling sources, located approximately 16 feet from entry ways and in as consistent of an ambient temperature as possible between 50°F and 95°F. Q: Once a thermal imaging camera system is installed, how do you monitor the device? There are several choices for system monitoring, depending on whether the solution is used as standalone or integrated with other technologies, such as intrusion detection, access control or video systems. For standalone systems, the ability to receive system alerts is typically configured through the camera’s webpage interface, and the cameras include abilities such as the live web page, LED display for alerting, audio alerts and physical relay outputs. When done right, these features will all follow cybersecurity best practices which is important for any network solution today, including changing default passwords and establishing authentication methods. The ability to receive system alerts is typically configured through the camera’s webpage interface These types of thermal cameras can also integrate with turnstile systems, VMS platforms and access control systems. This is typically done through the integration of a relay output, activated by a triggered temperature anomaly event on a thermal imaging camera which can then be used for activities such as locking a turnstile, or through access control and video systems to send an email or provide an automated contagion report for contact tracing. These capabilities and integrations extend the monitoring capability above that of the standalone solution. The camera can be configured to monitor a specific range of low and high alerts. Users can determine the actions that should be taken when that alert exceeds the preset low or high threshold. These actions include things like a bright and easy-to-see LED can provide visual notification through pulsing and flashing lights as an example. Q: What about system maintenance? Does a thermal imaging camera require regular service in order to operate accurately? First it’s important to make sure the system is calibrated. This can be done after the unit stabilises for at least 30 minutes to establish the initial reference temperature source known as the blackbody. Calibrations conducted before this warm up and stability time period can throw off accuracy. Also, as part of your system maintenance schedule you will want to perform a calibration check of the blackbody device every 12 months, along with following recommendations of the FDA and IEC. If you install the solution and don’t perform maintenance and the blackbody calibration certificate expires, over time there’s a risk that the device will experience drift and a less accurate reading will result. There’s a risk that the device will experience drift and a less accurate reading will result Q: What final pieces of advice do you have for either an integrator who plans to install a thermal imaging camera system or an end user who plans to invest in this solution? Before you buy a thermal imaging camera check to see if the manufacturer ships the camera with a calibration certificate. Also, become familiar with FDA’s guidance released in April 2020, Enforcement Policy for Telethermographic Systems During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. This document places thermal/fever products for adjunctive use under the category of a Class I medical devices and subject to its regulatory control. Driven by these regulations and categorisation, users need to understand specifically what is required to meet the required level of accuracy for successful detection. While thermal imaging camera systems are more complex than traditional surveillance cameras, they can prove to be a valuable resource when set up, configured and maintained properly.

Functionality Beyond Security: The Advent of Open Platform Cameras
Functionality Beyond Security: The Advent of Open Platform Cameras

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic marks the biggest global disruption since World War II. While the ‘new normal’ after the crisis is still taking shape, consumers are apprehensive about the future. According to a recent survey, 60% of shoppers are afraid of going grocery shopping, with 73% making fewer trips to physical stores. Returning to the workplace is also causing unease, as 66% of employees report feeling uncomfortable about returning to work after COVID-19.  Businesses and employers are doing their best to alleviate these fears and create safe environments in and around their buildings. This also comes at tremendous costs for new safety measures and technologies – including updates to sanitation protocols and interior architecture – that protect against COVID-19. Costs in the billions that most businesses will face alone, without support from insurance and amidst larger, macroeconomic challenges. Saving costs and increasing security But what if building operators, retail shop owners, and other stakeholders could save costs by leveraging new functionality from their existing security infrastructure? More specifically, expanding the use of current-generation security cameras – equipped with AI-driven image analysis capabilities – beyond the realm of security and into meeting new health regulations. This is exactly where video analytics algorithms come into play. And in the next step, a new evolutionary approach towards open security camera platforms promises new opportunities. Security cameras have evolved from mere image capturing devices into complex data sensors Over the past decade, security cameras have evolved from mere image capturing devices into complex data sensors. They provide valuable data that can be analyzed and used in beneficial ways that are becoming the norm. Since 2016, Bosch has offered built-in Video Analytics as standard on all its IP cameras. On one hand, this enables automated detection of security threats more reliably than human operators. And on the other hand, video analytics collect rich metadata to help businesses improve safety, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and create new value beyond security. Expanding Camera Functionality Beyond Security Today, we have ‘smart’ security cameras with built-in video analytics to automatically warn operators of intruders, suspicious objects and dangerous behaviors. The rich metadata from several cameras on the same network can also be consolidated by making use of an intelligent software solution. It offers so-called pre-defined widgets to provide business intelligence by measuring area fill levels, counting building occupancy and detecting the formation of crowds. In combination with live video stream data, these insights enable heightened situational awareness to security operators. 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Cameras will be able to ‘learn’ future functionality to curb the spread of the coronavirus Looking ahead, cameras with video analytic and neural network-based analytic capabilities will be able to ‘learn’ future functionality to curb the spread of the coronavirus. For instance, cameras could monitor distances between individuals and trigger voice announcements when social distancing guidelines are violated. Facial recognition software can be trained to monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance and sound alerts for persons entering buildings without masks. The technical requirements are already in place. The task at hand is to deliver these new functionalities to cameras at scale, which is where open camera platforms hold the key. Why Open Camera Operating Systems? When it comes to innovating future camera applications that extend beyond security, no hardware manufacturer should go at it alone. 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In 2018 Bosch started a fully owned start-up company, Security & Safety Things, and became one of five founding members of OSSA (Open Security & Safety Alliance). With more than 40 members, the Alliance has collectively created the first Technology Stack for “open” video security devices. This includes the OSSA Application Interface Specification and Compliant Device Definition Specification. An open camera platform for innovating future functionality  Based on OSSA’s common APIs, collective approach on data security and core system requirements for video security cameras, the first camera manufacturers were able to build video security cameras that adopt an open platform principle. Further fueling innovation, OSSA focused on driving the creation of one centralized marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. 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Thanks to the fully open principle, system integrators are free to add apps available in the application store, making it quick and simple to customize security solutions by installing and executing multiple apps on the INTEOX platform. In turn, app developers can now focus on leveraging the intelligence and valuable data collected by analytics-equipped cameras for their own software developments to introduce new exciting possibilities of applying cameras. These possibilities are needed as smart buildings and IoT-connected technology platforms continue to evolve. And they will provide new answers to dealing with COVID-19. The aforementioned detection of face masks and PPE via facial detection algorithms is just one of manifold scenarios in which new apps could provide valuable functionality. Contact tracing is another field where a combination of access control and video analytics with rich metadata can make all the difference. 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Recognizing The Importance Of Security Officers To Promote Safety
Recognizing The Importance Of Security Officers To Promote Safety

The general public doesn’t give much thought to the important role of security officers in creating and promoting safer environments. The low-profile work of security officers is vital to protecting people, places and property. During the pandemic, newer aspects to that role have emerged. Security personnel have been called on to perform diverse tasks such as managing queues at the supermarket, safeguarding testing centers and hospitals, ensuring food deliveries, and supporting police patrols. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and two other organizations in the United Kingdom are joining forces to raise awareness of the work of security officers and to recognize the vital importance of the duties they perform. BSIA, a trade association, includes members who are responsible for 70% of privately provided UK security products and services, including security guarding, consultancy services, and distribution and installation of electronic and physical security equipment. BSIA, the Security Institute and the Security Commonwealth Joining BSIA in the awareness campaign are the Security Institute, a professional security membership body; and the Security Commonwealth, which is comprised of 40 organizations from across the security landscape with common objectives to build professionalism, raise standards and share best practices. “The recognition of security officers as key workers is the start of a re-appraisal of what service they provide to the community in keeping the public safe and secure,” says Mike Reddington, BSIA Chief Executive. “As we exit lockdown and have to navigate public spaces again, [security officers] will have a crucial role in supporting public confidence. We are working closely with the Police and all other public bodies to find the best way to achieve this.” Security officers acknowledged as key workers The campaign will showcase security professionals as a respected, valued, professional service provider and a key worker that is acknowledged and embedded in daily lives. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and two other organizations in the United Kingdom are joining forces to raise awareness of the work of security officers “Great effort has been invested in the professional standards and capabilities of frontline [security] officers, and they have proven their worth during the coronavirus crisis in the UK,” says Rick Mounfield, Chief Executive, the Security Institute. “They, along with the wider security sector, deserve to be recognized, respected and appreciated for the safety and security they provide across the United Kingdom.” “[We are working to] build professionalism, raise standards and share best practices, and I hope this campaign can make more people recognize the changes we have all made and continue to make,” says Guy Matthias, Chairman of the Security Commonwealth (SyCom). The industry will be reaching out to companies, professionals, and organizations in the sector to participate in the campaign. The hope is that, over the coming weeks as lockdown is eased, the industry can play its part to ensure that the country emerges with confidence to start to recover and build for the future. Private security more important than ever The campaign will showcase security professionals as a respected, valued, professional service provider Across the pond in the United States, law enforcement professionals are facing a crisis of confidence during a time of civil unrest as protestors call to “defund the police” and to otherwise undermine and/or recast law enforcement’s role in preserving the peace and ensuring public safety. If an upshot is that public policing is starved of resources, the role of private security to supplement their mission is likely to increase. In short, the role of private security is more important than ever on both sides of the Atlantic. Public recognition of that role is welcome, obviously. In any case, the importance of their role protecting people, places and property has never been greater.