Archive for category CCTV

Avigilon Integrates With exacqVision Again!

Today’s Tech Trend: exacq Technologies Exacq 8.8 VMS platform now integrates with Avigilon cameras. cropped-Exacq-Cross-Platform-Blog-Image

exacqVision prior to version 5.4 once integrated with Avigilon cameras, but ended being written out. With version 8.8, Avigilon now has the capability of being added back into the system.

This is a very exciting integration as it adds another top-tier camera option to this VMS platform. Avigilon offers great cameras and we would highly recommend considering Avigilon’s H4SL camera line when considering an upgrade to your exacqVision VMS.


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Interesting Article on Hard Drive Failure

All video systems that record images or data, have hard drives for storage (unless you still use a VCR.) This article gives you the Hard Drive Failure Rate by Manufacturer. This is some good to know information, to better select the recording device and the drives inside.




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Cameras as a Fail Safe

We at USA Security have the privelige of working with customers in all fields and all industries on a myriad of project types.  Typically, the initial reaction to a camera sales presentation is that of theft or building security. As our customers find out, the opportunities are so much greater.

To ensure a more efficient install, USA Security bench tests all products prior to job-site

To ensure a more efficient install, USA Security bench tests all products prior to job-site


Here is an application that is outside the typical realms of safety, security, even productivity and quality control.  Here is an application that deals with critical plant operations and machine down time:

This particular customer is an animal rendering plant.  Biproducts are trucked in all day and turned into new usable substances.  Prior to our camera installation, all machines were monitored by computers.  If a machine went down, there would be alerts and repairs and corrections would be made.  As a part of an effiecency initiative and building expansion, cameras were added to all critical areas of potential back up for more interactive video monitoring.   An Avigilon 2.0MP Dome was placed above each “pit” or conveyor and recorded using Avigilon ACC VMS.  The operator station was equipmed with and Avigilon two monitor workstation and (2) 55″ LCD Monitors.

On this particular day, all computer systems reported normal. The conveyor was running and reporting back to the operator software as such.  However, the camera system showed the transfer mechanism from the holding bins to the conveyor was not operating properly (even though computers indicated they were) .  The operator was able to get the proper personel out to the equipment to get it working.  The video verification saved not only costly downtime, but saved unneccssarry man hours from having a disgusting mess to clean up.


Full holding bins, empty conveyor


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Pixels, Compression, or Capture Chips? Yes.

In a recent Star Tribune column, Don Lindich points out what to look for in a digital camera.  As we noted in a previous post, most individuals have better cameras in their phones than in their place of business.

While the artilce was written about consumer digital cameras, many of applications apply to the surviellence industry as well.

“Three parts of a digital camera work together to create images: the lens, the sensor and the “jpeg engine.” The lens gathers and focuses light on the sensor. The sensor reads the light and sends digital data to the camera’s computer (containing the jpeg engine), which processes the raw data from the sensor to create images.  . .

“. . .cameras have sensors with tiny physical dimensions and small surface area. That means that if you go from 8 megapixels to 12 megapixels, each one of those light-gathering cells has to be a lot smaller to fit on the tiny chip. Smaller cells gather less light and the camera’s computer compensates by amplifying the signal. This often leads to grainy, overly contrasted pictures in all but perfect lighting conditions.”

Not all cameras are compressed the same.  An h.264 CODEC is very bandwidth light from the camera to server, howerver much more intensive from the server to the client.  Conversely, JPEG2000 is very heavy from the camera to the server, and much lighter from the server to the client.

As always, keep the end goals in mind when putting a project together and you’ll be sure to be satisfied with the results.

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Barry’s Workin’ Hard to Put in Nothing but the Best


I caught up with one of our service techs, Barry, on an installation.  Based on the finished installations they’ve put in (see previous posts), I firmly we believe we have some of the best techs in the industry.  Our guys take a very real pride in the installation.

Looking Good Barry

Our guys often get in put in some tough conditions, whether its having to move around a loading dock, avoid equipment and work areas, or any other curve ball the installation may throw, they get the job done and their finished product looks great.  Because these guys really have a great handle on their installations, we give them a lot of leeway.  This particular installation was designed by one of our sales reps.  The system was designed to have cameras centrally located and looking back out towards all of the dock doors.  Once on site, Barry thought that he could hit the same camera shots from the outside, capturing deeper pictures and wider angles without going over the labor budget.

Measure twice, drill once

This particular finished product ended up being a 5.0 Megapixel Avigilon camera.  That coverage generates 5 million pixels over these doors, if you include the man doors, thats 1.25 million pixels per door.


So many pixels

That same day I saw a Clinton Electronics DVR (If I try and sell you one of these, please show me the door) and the cameras were recording at 174×144 (25,000 pixels). To get the same level of detail, you would need 50 cameras per door!


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No Shortcuts, Please.

To the end user, and the customer who actually has to pay for the finished installation, exposed outdoor wire should be unacceptable.  By leaving this this wire exposed, the entire integrity of the system is compromised. It is open to degradation by rain, snow, or strong winds, or vandalism or tampering.

Exposed wire

This particular installation causes even more concern. This camera wire has been run underground to a post (which is no cheap feat). Was the wire directly buried, or was conduit used?  There was clearly a design reason for this camera on this post.  The end user must have felt there was a strong need to invest their dollars to capture this particular scene.  The extra cost of properly mounting conduit to hide the wire would probably less than 10% of the cost of running the wire from the building to the post.

This wire screams, "Please cut me!"

Quick math on the project would look like this:  Outdoor camera $350, wire $50, Labor $400, for another $45 a good installer would include flex conduit, junction box and couplings.  This would protect the wire from 1) weather 2) tampering.  To replace this wire if it were damaged would probably cost $450.  Would you spend $45 up front to protect a $800 install?


By taking a little extra time, putting a little extra care, and treating the customer how we would expect to be treated, USA Security puts in a professional finished product every time.  Why would you accept anything less than the cleanest, most professional installation?

Not only is this installation much cleaner, but we custom painted these houses for the customer. Yeah, we do that.

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Future Proofing Your Service Calls

Look at Edgar up on that Ladder

More often than not, left to their own decisions, customers will want to put exterior cameras on their roof for “maximum coverage.”  This really only is a good idea if you have a 2 story building or a 1 story building.  At USA Security, we typically recommend mounting your cameras 12-18 feet off the ground. In most drop ceiling environments, we will punch out above the first floor drop ceiling and below the base of the second floor. There are two main reasons for this

1) Camera Shot: your camera is only going to capture so many pixels, why do you want to waste your first few thousand pixels on empty space between the top of your building and the top of whatever you are looking at?  By lowering the camera, you get much closer to your object of interest and therefore a cleaner looking shot. Also, the higher your camera shot, the more blind space you have before the beginning of your scene (or you’re just getting a top down look).

2) Future Maintenance:  this may be of even more long-term concern to the end user.  If a camera is at ladder height, it can be easily fixed, replaced, repaired by one of our technicians.    If you cut out the need to rent an outdoor boom lift every time you have a camera concern, you will thousands of unnecessary  dollars in repairs over the life of a system. Given that these are electronics, and they are bound to have issues at some point of their lives, the end decision seems like a no brainer.

Get those cameras down, get the good shot, save your future self some money. Duh!

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