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Pelco and Dedicated Micros Keep an Eye on UK Processing Facilities

Pelco and Dedicated Micros Keep an Eye on UK Processing Facilities

Editor / Provider: Norbain | Updated: 9/7/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Global Renewables Lancashire Operations processes over 300,000 tonnes of household rubbish annually at its two new processing facilities near Preston and Blackpool. With technology supplied via Norbain, the vast state-of-the-art sites have been equipped with integrated CCTV and emergency call station networks by Hirst & Danson Electrical Contractors.

Enlisted to provide CCTV camera networks for security, health & safety monitoring, and process control management, Gary Jones, Estimator - Security & Data for Hirst & Danson explains: "Global Renewables required each installation to provide perimeter security protection, process control cameras to monitor all points of the rubbish sorting and Reduction, Recovery & Recycling process, ANPR to identify vehicles on site, and an automated fire detection system. Obliged to meet tight construction deadlines for the project, a reliable product supply from a technically proficient supplier like Norbain was a great help."

Hirst & Danson installed 4 Bosch MIC 400S IP68 stainless steel domes, to monitor the UR-3R process in each of the maturation halls. "By selecting the MIC 400S domes via Norbain, we were able to ensure an extended service life for each camera position under harsh operating conditions that regularly exceed 40 degrees along with high humidity," explains Jones.

50 Pelco C10-CH-7X static cameras backed by 18 Pelco SD418-PG-E1-X fully functional dome cameras were also installed to secure the perimeter at each site. Minimising on-site cabling and installation time, each camera is connected to the control room via NVT UTP video transmission over a dedicated Cat5 UTP cable network.

Utilising a Dedicated Micros DV-IP Encoder, camera imagery is transferred onto the Global Renewables IP network and archived for retrospective investigation. This hybrid solution is ideal for the twin Global Renewables sites, providing the ability to transfer CCTV monitoring for off-site viewing by the Global Renewables management team.

The Dedicated Micros DV-IP system allows video analytics to provide 'virtual' on-screen trip wires across both sites, instantly triggering an alarm to alert operators should the site perimeter be breached. Additionally, the DV-IP technology allows any vehicle entering the two sites to be identified via ANPR. Fire detection in the processing areas is also provided via 10 D-Tec FireVu processors, automatically alarming should smoke be detected on-screen.

Each site's network of cameras is controlled via BBV Pick-A-Point ICON Bespoke Graphical User Interfaces (GUI). Again supplied through Norbain, the system offers simple control of each camera.

Providing on-site emergency assistance, BPT emergency call stations were also installed at strategic points. Easily accessible from any part of the facilities, potential on-site incidents or hazards can be directly reported to the control room with the touch of a button. Should any of the stations be activated, the nearest PTZ dome camera is automatically positioned to show the call point and person making the call, giving operators instant visual verification of any incident.

The integrated security technology provided by Hirst & Danson is now providing effective security and ensuring the smooth running of the site on a daily basis.

Education –Key to Unlocking Thailand's Potential

Education –Key to Unlocking Thailand's Potential

Editor / Provider: The Editorial Team | Updated: 9/7/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

The overall market in Thailand is strong. 2010 saw steady growth, the pace of which is expected to be maintained in 2011. While the majority of the market continues to be video surveillancedriven, demand for pedestrian barriers and more integrated security systems is increasing. Although integration has been around in other regional markets for a long time, it is only beginning to grow in Thailand, as people are beginning to understand the benefits of an integrated system.

Thailand has relatively low security awareness, as the risk is not perceived to be high. Indeed, the national crime rate is lower than that of many other countries.

For example, banks in the U.S. are secured with man-trap doors, armed guards and an abundance of surveillance cameras. In Hong Kong, cash in transit is delivered by armored cars and two men with shot guns, said Henny Beeber, CEO and CTO of AES Group. “But you walk into a bank here in Thailand, and you find unarmed guards and no counter-to-ceiling bulletproof glass — yet they have tens of millions of baht behind the counter.”

OVERVIEW
Research reports provide valuable insight on the overall market, but industry experts recommend doing your own homework. “Market research firms estimate 10- to 12-percent growth. From my own dealings, it is closer to 30 percent, so I generally take market research with a grain of salt,” said Sumrith Ngaochai, GM of Guts Securitech.

However, recovery from the financial crisis was slow for some security players. After five years in the business, last year was the worst one ever, said Somchai Junpuan, Country Manager, AVerMedia Information. “However, we have a positive outlook for 2011. The market and political front will stabilize this year, and we expect a big jump to happen in 2012, as the economy continues to recover.”

The economy and the market were rather slow compared to previous years, but there are good signs for a bright future this year, said Jason Kwan, MD at CommExpress.

With the growing number of companies entering security, the market is becoming competitive. Ultimately, the way to stay ahead in the race is to provide good service, said Kittichai Samittiwuttikul, President of Smart Computer International.

“With branded products, we have been very successful in the past year,” said Dej Churdsuwanrak, MD at Bangkok OA Coms. “People come to us, and we have a competitive edge when it comes to major projects.”

The products selected must perform well and satisfy customers' needs, said Suwich Chitkasemsuk, MD at Digitalcom. “What we try to do now is communicate with the customers for their specs, requirements and budgets before coming up with the solution.”

The market in Thailand is dynamic, and this year new technologies will fight hard to gain a foothold in a sweetand- sour country. “I believe technology is facing an uphill battle, and it is important to not only be able to offer new products, but also understand how the market works in Thailand,” Ngaochai said.

IP VERSUS ANALOG
Many organizations are switching from analog to IP, including airports and international schools, Chitkasemsuk said. “The people writing the specs must consider the life span of the system, and IP is the most future-proof way today.”

Those who are new to video surveillance tend to choose analog systems, especially if they have slim budgets, said Narathip Patcharothai, GM at I Security Center. “Small mom-and-pop shops prefer a US$500 analog system.”

“The market is limited if you aim to offer premium-grade products, which are niche. Government projects tend to adopt IP for new projects, since tech specifiers believe analog systems are not advanced enough,” Ngaochai said. “The general market, however, is very sensitive to price. Sure, you can upgrade systems with IP, but analog use is far higher, at more than 70 percent. Research claims analog has 70 to 80 percent of the market share, but in reality, it's much more.” Customers are very price-sensitive. “Everyone definitely wants the best system they can get, but if you go over their budget, they will want to find a new contractor,” said Arnon Kulawongvanich, GM of Sales and Marketing at Chubb (a UTC Fire & Security company).

While analog still dominates, IP is expected to overtake analog in the next five to 10 years. “It may not be this year or the next, but we have come from pure analog to hybrid and will eventually move to IP,” said Pichai Sihsobhon, MD at Semple Cochrane (Asia).

From a commercial point of view, analog systems are more popular in Thailand and easier to control, Patcharothai said. “Many people don't know about IP solutions. When we propose IP and educate them on the benefits, they are almost always wowed. However, they will still prefer analog because of the price. We need to prepare for IP solutions, but analog will still dominate the market for the next two or three years.”

WIRELESS
Three advantages of wireless infrastructure are mobility, cost and cable elimination, Kwan said. “Customers today are dealing with larger-scale projects, where previous data-driven implementations such as point-topoint (PtP) and point-to-multipoint are no longer sufficient. However, customers are often confused by marketing, so there is still a strong need to educate the market.”

A wireless infrastructure is about three times cheaper than running fiber optics in Thailand, said Jeremy Koh, Regional Sales Manager of APAC for Firetide. “For the traffic-packed streets of Thailand, cabling is probably not even an option. Since video is the most demanding kind of traffic on a network, a reliable network with high throughput is crucial. So, critical wireless infrastructure has huge potential in Thailand.” [NextPage]

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE
There is a strong need to educate the market, as the government sometimes directly specifies the tenders, as opposed to consulting an unbiased firm. The end result can be specs that mix and match products from four different brands. “When the customer uses different products from different companies, it opens the door for a lot of finger pointing,” Kulawongvanich said.

Countries such as Korea have organizations that act as a bridge between the government and the security industry, but there is no such body in Thailand. “A nonprofit organization in Thailand called the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) has the potential to assume such a role,” said Somvith Leelaprapal, MD at JES CQtec. “However, security has not yet established deep roots in the EIT.”

Educating the market is necessary for new technologies. People are generally unfamiliar with transmission, as PtP has traditionally been the dominant choice, Koh said. “We are putting a great deal of energy into this space, but it is a difficult process since this is an industry where people are reluctant to adopt new technology. They tend to continue to use whatever is available to them, but as we go about this education process, people will start to see the value of this technology.”

Many end users deploy IT equipment for video surveillance; a year later, they will realize it does not work, Ngaochai said. “There's a general lack of knowledge for security systems, and educating the market is essential for future growth. It's a very technical market where things are no longer as simple as plug-and-play. Today, many people don't even understand the difference between a box and a dome camera.”

Many project specifiers and decision makers do not know why they need a wireless infrastructure, or why they need a specific type of camera. End users can be educated through road shows and seminars, but consultants need exhibitions, Chitkasemsuk added.

DISTRIBUTION
Distribution is a challenge in Thailand. “The distribution channel is difficult to set up because the market here is significantly smaller compared to markets such as the Americas, Europe and China,” Koh said. “We need to deal directly with the system integrators, and ship our products to them, especially for high-end offerings.”

GOVERNMENT PROJECTS
“Much of the spending comes from the government,” Sihsobhon said. “It comprises roughly 50 percent of the total market, and there will be significant growth in the public sector this year.”

Government security spending is a major market driver. “Even during the 2009 financial crisis, liquid cash from the government pumped into the public sector helped propel security,” said Panja Klaipothong, Country Manager at Firetide. “When times are bad, people need security. When times are good, people also need security.”

The security business has significant growth potential. “If it's commercially driven, everybody pulls back when a crisis hits,” Klaipothong said. “But the government puts money into security; large, public safety infrastructure projects were still sustained by government funding, regardless of the political situation.”

Some experts expect the market to peak before dropping again. “What we're seeing now is that most of the money put on hold is finally being released,” Beeber said. “Projects from two years ago were put on hold and are now going forward.”

CHALLENGES
Thailand's public bidding process is electronic and intended for fairness. This works well for construction, but is challenging for integrated security bids. For example, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (city government) has thousands of cameras installed, which cannot all be viewed on the same system. However, if the government did not have an open-bid process, it would be accused of corruption.

The lowest bid or “survival of the cheapest” has other effects. A mass-transit subway project four years ago received three or four proposals, with all bids differing only by 3 to 4 percent. One company — which had never worked on security before — proposed using equipment that was more expensive than its competitors and pitched its bid 18 percent below the top bid. Earlier this year, the company announced it could not finish the subway security project.

The unpredictable political climate means government projects may be put on hold for a variety of reasons, Kuan said.

“But the private sector is also strong in Thailand, and we have a strong presence in that space,” Junpuan said. “We prefer to focus on the private sector, and our records show that only 30 percent of our sales went to government projects.”

Thailand's market is difficult for foreign companies to compete in, since it involves politics, said Kazutoshi Takakura, GM of Thailand, CBC. “When I entered Thailand two years ago, we heard good news about the expanding market. Many projects have been postponed for a year or two due to politics, but security in the public sector is huge right now.”

SECURITY ALWAYS NECESSARY
“Just five years ago, people were more concerned with security in terms of projects. Now, we also see growth from residential end users. This can be observed in public development projects such as apartments, condos, car parks and more,” said Phrot Srisumran, Manager at LG Electronics.

Despite the political unrest, the market outlook in Thailand shows great potential as more people become aware of personal security. “We're very positive on the outlook. Although we experienced a minor setback due to the political situation, these are the very events that increase awareness and drive growth in the security industry,” Koh said. “When everyone is concerned about airport bombings in Thailand, they will want to invest in better security, which is a good thing for us. As long as security is good, Thailand will be fine — that is why the public sector will always be funded.”

The general consensus is that political conditions of Thailand should be stable this year. Business will boom for the security industry in Thailand from 2011 to 2012

Comprehensive Hikvision Solutions Ready Oman Hotel for Travel Season

Comprehensive Hikvision Solutions Ready Oman Hotel for Travel Season

Editor / Provider: Hikvision Digital Technology | Updated: 7/29/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The coastal city of Sohar in Oman is heating up. While this statement is certainly applicable to the weather – with an ambient temperature of 35°C – it is also representative of the local economy as well.

While Sohar has long been considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East; much of its recent economic success is directly due to the Port of Sohar. This relatively new port, one of the largest and most expensive in the world, has greatly helped turn this Omani city into a major regional and international point of commerce. Specifically, Sohar has now become synonymous with exportation for its shipping of metals and petroleum-based products.

To accommodate this influx of foreign and domestic business; a variety of infrastructure was developed. Of note was the establishment of a variety of hotels, such as the Al Wadi Hotel, to serve this new clientele. But, it was not simply a matter of building new hotels; equally important was the issue of developing high-quality security. For this, the Al Wadi Hotel turned to Hikvision and its extensive variety of high-tech cameras.

Hikvision's Variety: General Interior
Haja Mohideen, Project Engineer at OHI Electronics, oversaw the development and installation of the Al Wadi Hotel's security system. As such, Mr. Mohideen chose to utilize a number of Hikvision cameras in order to specifically meet the security challenges this project offered.

One such challenge was the indoor environment, where hotel management had requested a model of indoor camera that was aesthetically pleasing, largely unobtrusive, and provided top-of-the-line performance. Additionally, management wanted all of these features embedded in one single model of camera, instead of a smattering of various models.

In order to satisfy these request, Mr. Mohideen selected the Hikvision DS-2CC591P-A Analog Dome Camera. This camera specifically oversees the hotel lobby, each floor's corridors, and the elevators. Mr. Mohideen explained “this dome camera is particularly suitable for the Al Wadi Hotel. This has to do with the camera's excellent aesthetics and high-performance capabilities.”

Yet, Mr. Mohideen also had one additional factor to consider in his decision-making process. In this case, hotel management was not the catalyst; instead it was the Omani government.

Oman has enacted a law that cameras responsible for public-meeting areas must now be manually monitored. This is to say, cameras can no longer simply be pre-set and left to record on their own. This change was stipulated to prevent the possibility of random pre-set coverage missing potential incidents. Mr. Mohideen related: “This has had a direct impact upon what type of camera we are interested in. We need a camera that can be mounted some distance away, but still quickly focus upon specific areas of interest. This is why we chose a Hikvision dome – we get the same excellent coverage in our bright lobby as we do in a darker corridor.”

And it is this Hikvision dome's features, such as the day/night auto switch and a resolution of 540 TVL, that greatly allow the Al Wadi's security staff the ability to acquire these clear images – regardless of condition and on demand.

Hikvision's Variety: Reception Desk
While the above-mentioned dome camera provides excellent general coverage of the lobby; it was deemed that high-priority areas in the lobby – particularly the reception desk – may require an increased level of resolution. As such, Mr. Mohideen chose the DS-2CD852MF-E 2 Megapixel CMOS-based Network Camera to provide this high resolution.

“Obviously, the lobby is of great security importance. This is why we've adopted a dual-system: dome cameras are used for a general overview; but at critical points like the reception desk, we use a Hikvision 2 megapixel camera. Not only can we monitor every step of the customer, from the front door to the front desk; we can see with tremendous resolution ‘who' the customer actually is – including facial recognition,” Mr. Mohideen explained.

This tremendous detail provided by the DS-2CD852MF-E 2 Megapixel CMOS-based Network Camera is a result of Hikvision technology; foremost among this is H.264 / MPEG4 dual stream video compression and UXGA (1600 x 1200 pixel) resolution.

[NextPage]

Hikvision's Variety: Outdoor Areas of Importance
Moving outside the hotel, hotel management initially chose a number of areas that required an elevated level of security. These areas are the front and rear entrances, the pool, and the parking facility. While the commonality among all four was security importance; each of the four presented a differing set of specific challenges that had to be met.

Mr. Mohideen explained that “the pool needed clarity and a wide angle, the parking lot needed to be able to view tremendous detail – such as license plate numbers; while both entrances required a high-level of resolution to see who was entering or leaving. Fortunately the DS-2CC193P-A High Definition Box Camera provided a solution for them all.”

Obviously, having high-definition resolution in each of these areas was vital. It was also essential that this camera work in extreme temperatures – a stark reality in outdoor Sohar. In order to ensure continued functionality and longevity, Mr. Mohideen decided to use DS-1313HZ Outdoor Camera Housing. This housing is weatherproof and includes both a heater and fan to enable these cameras to continue operating smoothly in the extremely hot day and markedly cooler evening. Mr. Mohideen noted, “For the Al Wadi Hotel, we need high-tech cameras; but since this is Oman: these cameras also have to be extremely durable. As such, the Hikvision internal fan and heater is very important for our needs.”

Hikvision's Variety: Security Nerve Center
Linking all of these cameras together is a central security office that employs the DS-8116HFI-S Standalone DVR.

This DVR unit has allowed the Al Wadi Hotel to successfully comply with the Omani law requiring video storage for 30 days' worth of recordings. This is largely due to the H.264 video compression utilized by this Hikvision DVR, and the 8 SATA HDD at 2TB each per DVR.

Additionally, the Al Wadi hotel employs 4 security personnel, 24-hours a day, to actively view the variety of Hikvision cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the hotel. Mr. Mohideen explained, “Since none of our cameras are pre-set, it is imperative our DVRs have excellent functionality. One example of this is the being able to view multiple cameras at the same time, and with this DVR we are able to view 16 channels simultaneously.”

The Future As the new Port of Sohar indicates, the future looks very bright for Sohar. But with this new influx of business-related tourism, there is also the need for new security.

In this vein, Mr. Mohideen envisions purchasing additional Hikvision cameras: “In the future, we plan on installing additional Hikvision cameras, especially the DS-2CC591P-A Analog Dome Camera that we are currently using.” Mr. Mohideen noted future areas of installation would be restrooms, bars, and any additional meeting point that customers often frequent. “We are very pleased with the quality of Hikvision cameras, and the excellent results they provide,” Mr. Mohideen summed up.

Adding Armor to Security Systems

Adding Armor to Security Systems

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 7/27/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

As video surveillance systems find their way into new markets and applications, it is important to protect increasingly sophisticated cameras from not only good old vandalism, but also harsh weather conditions and environments.

Weather and environmental stress that can disrupt service in the surveillance system must be evaluated and accounted for. Enclosures are to cameras what shells are to turtles, except much more durable and versatile. Different environments will require different considerations, as one will definitely not fit all.

Recent trends in camera enclosures include smaller form factors, customized designs, increased tolerance to extreme temperatures and more offerings that include both the camera and lens, said Barry Lawson, Global Marketing Manager for Schneider Electric. “Advanced materials, such as plastics that are resistant to any type of challenging environment, are being used in camera enclosures.”

Developments in camera housings are leading to new, cost-effective, indoor plastic camera enclosures and vandal-resistant aluminum and polycarbonate outdoor camera enclosures,Marketing and Product Management for Arecont Vision. “Also becoming more available are all-in-one designs that include the camera, mounting hardware and IP66 enclosure. In general, cameras are reducing in size yet provide higher resolutions.”

Fine-tuning materials to eliminate any form of rust or oxidation on the exterior of the housing ensures longevity of the housing itself, as well as its aesthetics, said William Ferris, Engineering Department of Dotworkz Systems. “In addition, the use of different types of vandaland gunshot-resistant materials in outdoor housings allows for more design flexibility." Cameras of all types can be placed closer to the action, without the risk of damage.

Some types of housings see new developments more rapidly than others, but it has more to do with the standards than anything else, said Kostas Mellos, Commercial Leader for Video and Transmission, Interlogix (a UTC Fire & Security company). “Explosion-proof housings that are intrinsically safe against sparks are governed by specific NEMA and UL conditions. They must adhere to the conditions specified and do not see rapid changes.”

CONSIDERATIONS
There are mainly three types of housings targeted for adverse environments, Mellos said. “There are ones that withstand atmospheric conditions, such as extreme heat and cold; explosion-proof; and pressurized bubbles.” As environmental conditions vary widely from project to project, the characteristics of the site must be accounted for differently and accordingly.

For example, electronics have specified operating temperatures; when mounting an outdoor, vandalproof dome camera outside a building in a very cold region, you must have at least heaters in there to ensure the electronics do not malfunction, Mellos continued. “Plastics have come a long way and some can deal with this type of environment, but you still can't use them in explosion-proof settings. They simply do not conform to the specifications that are needed.”

For projects that face corrosion and extreme conditions, the enclosure can deteriorate quickly and cause the camera view to be compromised, the housing mounts to be altered or the wires to be exposed, said Lem Blanco, Engineering Manager at CPS Security. “All these may lead to countless issues, such as falling housings or loss of video.”

Natural factors, such as insect infestation, temperature and climate, salt, humidity and wind, must be evaluated, Blanco continued. “For example, airports need to address the constant jarring movements caused by landing planes, while oceanfront projects such as seaports must factor sea breeze and salt water into the equation.”

Protecting the inside of the housing is just as important, through added pressure using dry nitrogen or other types of gas, Mellos said. “When the inside pressure is greater than the outside pressure, outside elements can't enter the inside, effectively protecting it from harm.”

Cable management is another issue. How the housing manages the cables that come out of the camera or heater is critical in some cases. In the UL standard for explosionproof environments, a certain type of conduit is required to avoid any risk of sparks within that space.

POWER
System requirements such as power supply also need to be examined. For truly extreme locations, directly powering camera housings ensures that the cameras are set up for long-term reliability, Ferris said. “PoE injectors can create a point of failure in the long term. Furthermore, many professionalgrade brands of video hardware have higher power requirements than PoE can provide. For example, a high-end extreme cold weather system can easily require 65 watts just for the heating system, exceeding current PoE limits.”

Products that incorporate heaters/ blowers or IR illuminators currently require separate auxiliary AC or DC power sources, but there are companies developing technology to support power for these accessories via PoE, Calderon said. “Gaskets and fillings are provided to facilitate proper installation and protection from outside elements. When properly installed, they maintain protection for the auxiliary power wiring as well as the PoE/ data cable.”

MAINTENANCE
Maintenance should not be overlooked, either. For a high-performance, 360-degree, HD camera housing that oversees high-value assets, performance can quickly deteriorate due t o dus t and salt buildup on the lower lens.

Commonly it only takes a few weeks before cleaning maintenance is required, Ferris said. “Properly scheduling maintenance and purchasing the needed cleaning tools are often overlooked. Products designed to safely clean all shapes of exterior lenses and camera housings from ground level are available.”

The biggest issue for pressurized housings, or housings that are intrinsically safe such as explosionproof housings, is maintenance. A pressurized dome in an environment with a lot of dust will need the typical cleaning, wiping down and pressure cleaning as any other appliance, Mellos said. “However, the internals do not necessarily need maintenance. If it's pressurized, the camera tends to be more stable than its non-pressurized counterparts since no outside elements can find their way into the components. If there is something wrong with the camera, or if you need to do something to the camera itself, you need to depressurize the housing, which is not a big deal, but you need to have the proper tools.”

Frequent maintenance is necessary for really adverse environments. For mills or furnaces, it is very possible that the cameras themselves will not last long, due to the sheer heat generated, no matter how much you try to cool the housing, Mellos said. Factors to keep in mind differ per location or need, Blanco added, but one thing to always be on the lookout for is quality.

[NextPage]

STANDARDS
IP66 rating is the typical, minimum standard, and yet not all housings are IP66-rated, Calderon said. “Many outdoor housings are IP65-rated or even offer no IP rating. In addition, many lower-end housings and integrated cameras are offered without integrated accessories such as wall mounts, pendants, corner mounts or pole mounts.”

Buyers should be wary of self-certified products offered by obscure manufacturers, said C.C. Yu, Senior Sales Manager for Unitechno. “Certification by independent laboratories ensures that a product meets its claimed specifications. An official report of the details of the testing procedures and results can be provided upon request for additional peace of mind.”

“IP66 is what you normally need for outdoor settings; IP67 is what is required of pressurized PTZ domes. There are multiple standards for hazardous locations,” Mellos said. Other standards include the NEMA and UL. Moving devices, such as PTZ, usually adhere to these standards as they are common in hazardous environments such as mills or oil-processing facilities, Mellos said.

An integrator should not feel the need to beta-test an IP66 housing unless they question the quality of the installation, Calderon said. “When subjected to an environment appropriate to the IP rating and properly installed, long-term reliability of the housing seals and materials should not be an issue. Performance will be equal to any equivalent IP-rated product on the market.

If bought from a reputable manufacturer, additional testing should not be necessary as the product will generally perform as specified, Mellos agreed. “There may be some bench testing, but it is more about understanding how the units are installed rather than testing the units themselves for performance.” Testing equipment is generally too expensive and not necessary for system integrators and installers. Some manufacturers have testing chambers in their own laboratories, Ferris said. “Manufacturers may be willing to provide a live demo or live camera uplink so that their customers can see these systems in action.” The customer can see how the units perform in extreme hot or cold chambers, as well as pressure, explosion and corrosion chambers.

STAY CAUTIOUS
An average warranty should cover two to three years, Mellos said. “However, in very adverse environments, such as a watercooled housing installed in a furnace, a one-year warranty can be appropriate.”

“Housings of higher quality come with more parts for added durability and to keep them intact, which is important for long-term use,” Blanco said.

The devil is always in the details. “Most low-end products look good on paper, since product specs are often written by marketing teams. However, many unforeseen problems can arise in the long run. Higher-end products tend to be built better and engineered with real-world factors in mind so that known and common problems are avoided,” Ferris said.

For example, most low-end housings allow insects to nest the warm camera units, causing the camera view to be compromised within three months of the installation, Ferris added. “Similar issues can be seen when water leaks inside and freezes or causes rust and induces condensation.”

Housing costs reflect the materials and manufacturing processes used, as well as what accessories are provided, Yu said. “Die casting is a more complicated and expensive process compared to extrusion and greatly affects the unit price.”

Some products have model names such as “arctic” or “cooled,” but these can be misleading, Ferris cautioned. “If they have not been properly tested by the manufacturer or verified to adhere to standards via independent bodies, buyers may end up with a product that does not meet their expectations.”

Brand names are important, but specifications must also be carefully evaluated, Mellos said. “A housing must be installed in the environment it's specified for. For places where temperature is a problem, the customer should ask the manufacturer what the tolerated range is and what happens if exceeded.”

RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Camera housings must be used in the exact environment they were meant for and according to the specified parameters, Lawson said. “Items like lens charts and site surveys are invaluable.”

For example, a few years ago in the Middle East, there was a project that specified plastic housings with a metal sun shield, Mellos said. “In the very hot months, the housings quickly deformed. Although the damage was minimal, the housings had to be changed.” The problem is not necessarily always the quality, but rather the wrong specification or installation.

Proper installation ensures the housing performs as expected. After taking the housing off for maintenance, it is necessary to confirm the unit is installed properly with special attention to the gasket, Calderon said. “If a wall mount is placed over a masonry seam, there will be obvious water ingress into the housing.”

Specifications cover installation practices as well, Mellos added. “You must adhere to the whole thing to ensure expected performance.” Since cameras are the most critical components in a surveillance system, it makes sense to protect those investments; proper housings are a small price to pay to avoid future headaches

Axis Protects French City of Revel against Vandalism and Theft

Axis Protects French City of Revel against Vandalism and Theft

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 7/11/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Axis network dome cameras incorporated into city's daily life for citizen security and heritage protection

“We have opted for Axis because they're the only manufacturer who offers PTZ dome cameras powered by PoE. Thus, the structure of the project meets the technical needs at an attractive cost.“ Mr. Pascal Pujol, market coordinator for Groupe Scopelec.

About 45km from Toulouse, the city of Revel in France is coping with a problem well known to many French cities: protecting its 9,800 citizens and 120,000 annual visitors from vandalism and theft while preserving the visual beauty of its architectural heritage.

After sending out a call for bids, the city of Revel's choice was Scopelec, who offer both technical display capabilities and fast turnaround maintenance with cameras that fulfill various requirements. The constraints of the structural network, along with the cameras need for discretion, led logically to the choice of the AXIS Q6032-E and AXIS P3344 Network Cameras. Three months after the call for bids, 10 cameras were installed. This new system has already resulted in two arrests and no further property damage has been witnessed. The populace and shop owners are satisfied, and the latter consider these cameras a supplement to the services that they offer. The Revel city council plans to expand installation of the cameras.

Oman Hotel Benefits from Hikvision Security Products

Oman Hotel Benefits from Hikvision Security Products

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 6/23/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Oman is experiencing a change, and the Al Falaj Hotel is determined to take advantage of it with Hikvision security products.

Scenically located between the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea; this nation is undergoing a transformation from an economy based on petroleum and natural gas exports into a more diverse model. Specifically, Oman is betting on tourism to help replace these two long-standing economic pillars. But, in order to capitalize on this lucrative potential, a new breed of international customer must be specifically catered towards.

Customer demands now transcend the traditional reliance on price and luxury. In many cases, the modern-day tourist in Oman considers the level, and quality, of security systems to be nearly as important as the size of their rooms. Additionally, recent governmental legislation has required public facilities, such as hotels, to maintain CCTV systems and recording devices as part of an overall pre-emptive strategy to discourage potential crime. Sachin Srinivasan, Senior Sales Manager at OHI Electronics (the firm that installed the Al Falaj Hotel's security system) related, “Overall, Oman is experiencing a boom period in security industry growth.”

In order to position the Al Falaj Hotel on the leading edge of this trend in customer security awareness, Mr. Sachin turned to Hikvision for solutions. Mr. Sachin did so “because Hikvision offers a top-quality product at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, Hikvision's products are easy to install, easy to manage, and hold up very well to the extreme climate and temperature conditions that Oman is prone to,” and added “from a customer-satisfaction standpoint,” he is very satisfied.

Travelers arriving from more distant locales are generally more sensitive to this issue of quality security solutions. Mr. Sachin noted, “Tourists to Oman from regional areas are not as conscious as to what specific security measures are in place; but in order to attract tourists from destinations such as America or Europe, it is a business necessity to provide quality security.

To ensure the four-star Al Falaj Hotel stays on the cutting edge of its security needs, Mr. Sachin currently employs a variety of Hikvision security products. This specific combination provides both the hotel and its guests the assurance of safety in an extremely efficient manner. 
                                                                                                                                                            

The most widely employed Hikvision product in the hotel is the DS-2CC591P-A Vari-focal Dome Camera, placed throughout the interior of the facility. Mr. Sachin chose this specific camera because of its “ability to see very clearly in environments where lighting levels not only vary from one corner to another, but also change throughout the day.” The specific challenge of having sharp resolution in low-light requirements was the impetus for selection of the DS-2CC591P-A. Mr. Sachin explained, “With this camera, we are able to identify any person in question, regardless of how dark the particular area might be inside the Al Falaj. For a hotel, this is vital.”

Mr. Sachin also explained the additional importance of the DS-2CC591P-A's unobtrusive appearance: “We can place this camera in virtually any interior area without it sticking out or attracting our customers' unwanted attention. As a hotel, it is very important – from a customer satisfaction standpoint – that we promote a pleasant atmosphere; so the quality of a camera must also be matched by its unobtrusive housing.”

Obviously, security needs begin before a customer actually steps through the front door. The Al Falaj Hotel is no different, and to monitor who is coming and going through the main entrance, Mr. Sachin chose the DS-2AF1-514 Analog Speed Dome for its 360° of endless pan range; as well as its 360° of coverage in front of the lobby. Mr. Sachin noted the range of the camera, along with its “ability for tremendous resolution to identify customer's faces, license plate numbers, and the ability to get a clear image from up to 35-40 meters out.”

Importantly, the issue of quality and durability was a large reason this particular camera was acquired. “The reality is, Oman presents very difficult challenges to any structure left outside, let alone electronic security equipment. We needed something that could withstand the huge variance in temperature, especially the heat, and other potentially destructive weather like sandstorms,” Mr. Sachin explained.

For specific and more security-sensitive areas, the Al Falaj Hotel uses the DS-2CC193P-A High Definition Box Camera. One such example is at the hotel's petroleum station. Mr. Sachin has deployed this Hikvision HD Box Camera in order to “make absolutely sure we are always able to immediately, and positively, identify license plate numbers at any time of the day or night; as well as the driver or passenger's face.”

[NextPage]
Each of these components is electronically tied into the main security room located inside the hotel. This centralization allows security personnel to immediately access any of the above mentioned devices and respond to any potential situation.

The Al Falaj Hotel utilizes the DS-8116HDI-S Standalone DVR units to ensure enough space is always available for the hotel's sizeable recording needs. Additionally, each unit is connected to its own monitor and keyboard, thereby allowing separate security personnel to continually observe and respond in an independent, and efficient, manner.

Additionally, these DVRs are connected to a remote network that allows additional monitoring possibilities from the Security Manager's office, the General Manager's office and the Administrative Manager's office.

While Mr. Sachin stresses that the current analog security solution utilized at the Al Falaj Hotel is more than adequate to achieve the challenges presented; he said the future of this hotel's security would be in HD.

In fact, this process is already happening in a piecemeal fashion: “Our existing analog system is very good, but HD simply offers better options such as higher quality resolution. While I do not see the total transformation from analog to HD within the coming year or so; I do see the Al Falaj Hotel taking further steps in this direction, especially with Hikvision digital cameras, and eventually replacing the entire analog surveillance system with a high definition network.”

IP Video from IndigoVision Boosts New Jersey Police Performance

IP Video from IndigoVision Boosts New Jersey Police Performance

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 6/23/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Town of Harrison Police Department in New Jersey has vastly improved their performance by deploying a city-wide wireless surveillance system based on IndigoVision's IP video technology. Harnessing the power of IP Video has meant the department's incident response has improved and the percentage of investigations resulting in arrests and prosecutions has significantly increased.

Under the leadership of Police Chief Derek Kearns, Harrison PD has employed the COMPSTAT process to improve their policing operation. COMPSTAT is a management approach that involves collecting, mapping and analyzing crime data and other police performance measures on a regular basis. High-quality forensic surveillance video is a key element of this strategy.

Prior to this initiative, Harrison had a handful of poor quality cameras monitoring their urban center, which did not include recording. In 2008 they looked into IP Video, following the recommendation of the Hudson County's Prosecutors' Office who had used an IndigoVision solution to transform their surveillance and interview process. They tested the system by connecting an existing analog dome camera to an IndigoVision video transmitter module and streaming the video onto their existing network. The rest as they say is history.

“We were so impressed with the video quality and the capabilities that IP Video offered, we kicked off a plan to deploy a city-wide system,” explains Sergeant Ed Markowski, Harrison Police Department. “We have now installed cameras in our interrogation room, the local library and around the city center. The next 15 cameras will be fitted in the landmark Red Bull Arena. Then we can really dive into the good stuff – we have barely scratched the surface with the system capabilities and are anxious to learn more.”

Officers use ‘Control Center' to monitor live video and analyze recordings, which are stored on IndigoVision's standalone Network Video Recorders (NVRs). The server-less distributed architecture of the system enables ‘Control Center' PC workstations to be located at any point on the network, without the need to stream video through a central server. Harrison PD use ‘Control Center' in dispatch as well as on the desks of eight other remote officers and detectives, including the Chief of Police.

Messoa Cameras Look after Los Angeles Nursing Home

Messoa Cameras Look after Los Angeles Nursing Home

Editor / Provider: Messoa | Updated: 6/16/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Organization: Solheim Lutheran Home
Location: Los Angeles, the U.S.
Industry segment: City surveillance
Technology: Provide video solution that incorporates the legacy analog traffic camera and dome camera
Application: Provide security camera for nearly 200 residents

Established in 1923, Solheim Lutheran Home in Los Angeles, U.S. is a nonprofit nursing home that provides assisted living for seniors. Solheim Lutheran Home spans more than two and one half acres and is home to residents from all walks of life, from former teachers to a World War II fighter pilot.

Solheim Lutheran Home is a busy place. Licensed charge nurses are on duty 24/7 here and look after nearly 200 residents. They required a surveillance camera to help keep an eye on the residents. They had several requirements that had to be met. First, images had to be high quality, day or night. Staff had to be able to quickly identify a person. The cameras had to be easy to use. Nurses needed to be able to do a quick playback and take snap shots with little training. The parking lot had to be monitored. Car make and model, license plate and the surrounding areas all needed to be obtained.

Four Messoa cameras were handpicked for this job. They were chosen for their specific abilities.

After installation was complete, the nurses got to test out the new system. It was so simple that they hardly needed any additional training to learn how to operate the cameras. "It is simple to use the camera video management. I learned how to play back videos and take snap shots in less than five minutes. Most of it is common sense," said one nurse.

Nurses are satisfied with the ease of use. Management felt like they got the most bang for their buck and residents feel more comfortable knowing that their care has been given the utmost priority.

Quality Domes Hold No Viewing Limits Ⅱ

Quality Domes Hold No Viewing Limits Ⅱ

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 3/25/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Lens
A lens with auto back focus is essential for image quality. “For a fixed dome, what's really important is a good lens that's easy to adjust,” Corrall said. “You can go to any focal length, and it will stay in focus. That's important to installers and makes sure the focus is always crisp.”

The dome's lens must also have enough resolution to support the image sensor. As higher resolution is seen mostly in fixed network domes, standard definition (SD) lenses will not focus light properly on image sensors with more pixels. This will result in blurred edges and loss of corner detail.

Full high definition resolution at 1080p is 16:9 or 2.1 megapixel, which is a wider aspect ratio compared to 4:3 in SD. “The corner detail needs to have sufficient TVLs,” said Allen Yang, PM at Etrovision Technology.

Bubb le Trouble One of the easiest ways to distinguish a dome's quality is by looking at the dome bubble. “Bubbles are made of either polycarbonate for superior strength or acrylic for superior clarity,” Crosby said. “Acrylic allows for the greatest performance with IR illumination. Both low-light and IR performances are affected by any tinting that the bubble may have. The more tinted, the more covert, but the lower the sensitivity.”

Under normal conditions, customers prefer smoked bubbles, but clear domes are accepted for outdoors, Atsushi said.

Corrall agreed, noting that many people do not expect an effect from smoked bubbles. “It can be like viewing through sunglasses.”

The bubble should be as flawless as possible, so the camera has a clear view no matter where the lens is pointing. “Under high magnification, a dome cannot lose focus,” Huang said. “A commercial bubble may work at 20x, but does not work at a higher magnification.”

A bubble's material determines where it can be used. “A town center is different from a petrochemical site; it could be polycarbonate, lexan or stainless steel,” Pigram said. “Whether it's curved, plastic or glass makes a big difference for the optical quality.”

The bubble must be easy to install as well. Some vendors include a cord or insurance line attaching the bubble to the back box, so it does not accidentally get dropped and break.

[NextPage]Speed Dome Differentiators
Speed domes do not have the field-of-view limits of fixed domes, as most can pan up to 400 degrees per second. However, being fast is not always a plus. “If you put a dome in a location, set it to patrol and it moves too fast, you cannot capture details,” Yang said.

Considerations include preset accuracy, response to controls,masking and zoom ratios, Pigram said.

The biggest challenges for moving domes are the camera module and power supply. Waterproofing must be noted, as moisture may seep into the power supply and cause failure, or fog up the bubble with droplets, Chang said. Indoor domes may overheat and fail with processors, image sensors and pan-tilt driver units in close proximity, so the dome's construction material should be noted.

Speed domes must have reliable operation, Smith said. Some speed domes enable automatic tracking, which is helpful if an operator is not present. However, possible false alarms make auto-tracking domes suited for less busy scenes.

Motor Motion
The weakest point in speed and PTZ domes is the pan-tilt driver for accurate positioning, particularly for network domes. “We try to match IP domes to analog speed dome accuracy,” Atsushi said. “A few years ago, no one could achieve it, but now it is nearly the same.”

Other key criteria for speed domes are the maximum and minimum speeds, along with the number of steps, Crosby said. The acceleration and deceleration curves will affect how quickly the dome moves to maximum speed, slows to minimum speed and when it sets its position. Speed domes should be equipped with a reliable slip ring.

Some countries require privacy masks to be set over homes or sensitive areas. “Privacy zones are also an important consideration, especially for public-space installations where residential units are in close proximity to the areas being monitored,” Smith said.

PTZ Differentiators
PTZ cameras allow for features such as IR illumination. One advantage of the PTZ is the flat glass, Pigram said. “You don't get the distortion and internal reflection that you get from a curved surface.” The flat glass also improves clarity, as wipers can be added.

However, PTZ is not ideal for high-resolution imaging. “The trouble with anything high-resolution is it exaggerates and amplifies the problems you have,” Pigram said. “You have to make that choice if you want a dome or move to a bullet-style camera. If it's a very challenging application at night or you need to see real resolution, you need to take the lens and bubble into consideration.”

Speed domes and PTZ cameras are auto-focus cameras, Atsushi said. Advances in consumer recorders have been adapted to auto-focus lenses for surveillance cameras, keeping images clear despite the changing point of view.

[NextPage]Soft Powers
In-house design can reduce cost for the PTZ camera block, which is usually the most expensive component. “Our own R&D allows us to control cost, and feature development is not limited by thirdparty vendors,” said Garrett Li, Marketing Manager for DynaColor.

Beyond components,good software affects dome image quality as well. Manufacturers A and B may use the same DSP and an identical image sensor, but still get different results. “I can show you two cameras using the same hardware but running different software, and the images can look like they're from two completely different cameras,” Corrall said. “Without quality software inside the camera, the quality of the components used doesn't really matter.”

Image stabilization is required to correct the vibration while the PTZ is moving, Corrall added. “A user-friendly interface helps installers save time while setting presets.”

Balancing Act
Selecting the best dome is not rocket science, but the fastest processor, most sensitive image sensor and best dome drive will add up to major sticker shock. As most applications do not require comprehensive functionality, actual usage considerations will determine what dome can deliver at an acceptable price point. Product quality and reliability remain essential for value no matter what the price is, but different components will result in different costs.

Dome selection boils down to site and budget considerations. Some of the same issues also apply to IP domes, which have gained market share. In our next article, we examine performance concerns for network-enabled domes.

Quality Domes Hold No Viewing Limits Ⅰ

Quality Domes Hold No Viewing Limits Ⅰ

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 3/25/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

What makes a dome good? A&S examines performance and installation issues to illustrate how fixed, speed and PTZ domes make the cut in an increasingly IP-enabled world.

Dome cameras are characterized by their distinctive bubbles, offering installers an extra option for demanding sites. They can be adapted for different applications, depending on user requirements and monitoring purposes.

Fixed domes are much like box cameras, except for a rounded form factor for easy installation and aesthetics. Mostly deployed for indoor surveillance, installers can adjust fixed domes for lens position, viewing angle and focus. Once the dome is installed, operators can only view a set area.

Speed and PTZ domes overcome the viewing limitations of fixed domes. They can monitor specific scenes or targets by size, position or both. Other uses for speed and PTZ domes include patrolling specific routes at a set time, or integration with intrusion detection for alarm verification.

PTZ cameras are not always housed in bubbles, offering more lens options and camera functions. However, they are usually larger, heavier and pricier than speed domes. As speed domes are housed in a single unit, they have a smaller form factor, more mounting options and greater pricing flexibility.

Ease of Installation
Regardless of dome type, the cameras must be easy to install. As most domes are suspended from ceilings or poles, they require installers to climb ladders, or utilize basket cranes or cherry pickers. This altitude limits the time and amount of tools installers can use placing the dome, which can be quite heavy, said Rich Huang , PM at EverFocus Electronics.

Installation is a two-step process for most domes. “Construction and industrial design affect performance,” said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for A&S magazines and a former integrator. First, the housing is placed,and then the camera is fitted into the back box and enclosure.

The mount, or where the camera attaches to the back box, has a crucial effect on performance, Chang said. Metal mounts tend to be too rigid and cause too much interference. Plastic mounts can be too soft and loose, which may result in the camera dropping out of the mount and landing in the bubble. Understanding what materials a dome is made of can reduce maintenance calls.

Reliability is another benchmark of a good dome. “We look at good value for money, whether it's for the top-end, medium or budget applications,” said Andrew Pigram, Technical Director at Norbain. “But you can't sell rubbish to anyone.”

[NextPage]Fixed Dome Differentiators
Fixed dome selection looks at image quality, resolution, progressive or interlaced, and sensitivity, Pigram said. “Linked to those is whether you have a sophisticated DSP with noise reduction, which is related to performance.”

A dome's back-box construction will affect heat dissipation. “Too many ICs will overheat the camera and shorten its lifespan,” Chang said. Inferior materials will also cause interference, such as a bad lens connector, which should be inspected before purchase.

One way to infer how hot a dome might get is by looking at power usage. “Low power consumption is important to save power, but also for thermal operation,” said Jeff Corrall, Product Line Manager for Edge Devices, March Networks. “If you heat up a camera, it could malfunction. Or it may function properly, but its overall life cycle is reduced if the components are outside temperature specifications.”

A more prosaic benchmark is the dome's ability to lock position, said Ian Crosby, Product Marketing Manager for CCTV, Bosch Security Systems. The better the dome stays put, the better it will prevent shock and vibration effects.

Processors
A dome's processor determines its functionality. As chips have gotten faster and smaller, more features are now built into dome cameras, such as slow shutter, wide dynamic, Sens-up or digital noise reduction. “Some features are better on the edge, but they will depend on your computing power,” Huang said. “You need to select a faster or bigger CPU for analytics.”

A dome line may be divided into high-end and budget models by DSP. “Security is a relatively low-volume business, but requires many types of cameras,” Huang said.

Axis designs its own ASIC chip and this gives the company an edge in the market, said Erik Fr?nnlid, Director of Product Management, Axis Communications. Its processor features software for image correction, such as a corridor format that optimizes scenes that are more vertical than horizontal, such as hallways or tunnels. Modular designs and use of the latest technologies, as well as good forecasting and planning, allow Axis to source components in large quantities, which keeps prices manageable, Fr?nnlid added.

Samsung Techwin also has its own semiconductor foundry, using the same DSP chipset for its dome range. “We have ranges of both analog and network domes, including megapixel versions, arriving very soon,” said James Smith, European Marketing Manager.

[NextPage]Image Sensors
Another deciding factor in dome selection is the image sensor. Whether the sensor comes with an image processor will affect image quality, along with the sensor 's format, Chang said.

Resolution and frame rate are considerations in sensor selection. “Low-light performance is also important,” Corrall said. Global shutter on CMOS chips has better image results compared to rolling shutter.

However, CCD sensors still outperform CMOS ones in most low-light conditions. “For image sensors for fixed domes, good low-light performance requires CCDs,” Huang said. “But as CMOS improves, that will change.”

To differentiate, some vendors develop their own image sensors, while making themselves less vulnerable to sourcing fluctuations from component suppliers. “We provide image sensors for both CCD and CMOS,” said Iida Atsushi, PM of Security Solutions, Business and Professional Products for APAC, Sony Electronics. Pan-tilt mechanisms are also made in-house, saving sourcing time; on the other hand, they add to development cost.

The line between CCD and CMOS is almost always drawn at resolution, with analog and network domes delivering different results. “An analog image is interlaced, so if an analog dome is connected to an encoder, you only see about 400 TVLs,” said Caroline Kuan, Marketing Specialist at DynaColor.“IP domes are at least 600 TVLs, which make a difference in image quality.”

True network cameras use progressive scan, Fr?nnlid added.

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