Security products

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It differs frombroadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point to point (P2P), point to multipoint, or mesh wireless links. Though almost all video cameras fit this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, casinos, airports, military installations, and convenience stores. Videotelephony is seldom called "CCTV" but the use of video in distance education, where it is an important tool, is often so called.

In industrial plants, CCTV equipment may be used to observe parts of a process from a central control room, for example when the environment is not suitable for humans. CCTV systems may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a particular event. A more advanced form of CCTV, utilizing digital video recorders (DVRs), provides recording for possibly many years, with a variety of quality and performance options and extra features (such as motion-detection and email alerts). More recently, decentralized IP-based CCTV cameras, some equipped with megapixel sensors, support recording directly to network-attached storage devices, or internal flash for completely stand-alone operation. Surveillance of the public using CCTV is particularly common in many areas around the world including the United Kingdom, where there are reportedly more cameras per person than in any other country in the world. There and elsewhere, its increasing use has triggered a debate about security versus privacy.

Access control readers may be classified by functions they are able to perform[citation needed]:
  • Basic (non-intelligent) readers: simply read card number or PIN and forward it to a control panel. In case of biometric identification, such readers output ID number of a user. Typically Wiegand protocol is used for transmitting data to the control panel, but other options such as RS-232, RS-485 and Clock/Data are not uncommon. This is the most popular type of access control readers. Examples of such readers are RF Tiny by RFLOGICS, ProxPoint by HID, and P300 by Farpointe Data.
  • Semi-intelligent readers: have all inputs and outputs necessary to control door hardware (lock, door contact, exit button), but do not make any access decisions. When a user presents a card or enters PIN, the reader sends information to the main controller and waits for its response. If the connection to the main controller is interrupted, such readers stop working or function in a degraded mode. Usually semi-intelligent readers are connected to a control panel via an RS-485 bus. Examples of such readers are InfoProx Lite IPL200 by CEM Systems and AP-510 by Apollo.
  • Intelligent readers: have all inputs and outputs necessary to control door hardware, they also have memory and processing power necessary to make access decisions independently. Same as semi-intelligent readers they are connected to a control panel via an RS-485 bus. The control panel sends configuration updates and retrieves events from the readers. Examples of such readers could be InfoProx IPO200 by CEM Systems and AP-500 by Apollo. There is also a new generation of intelligent readers referred to as "IP readers". Systems with IP readers usually do not have traditional control panels and readers communicate directly to PC that acts as a host. Examples of such readers are PowerNet IP Reader by Isonas Security Systems, ID08 by Solus has the built in webservice to make it user friendly, Edge ER40 reader by HID Global, LogLock and UNiLOCK by ASPiSYS Ltd, BioEntry Plus reader by Suprema Inc. and 4G V-Station by Bioscrypt Inc.
Some readers may have additional features such as LCD and function buttons for data collection purposes (i.e. clock-in/clock-out events for attendance reports), camera/speaker/microphone for intercom, and smart card read/write support.

Access control readers may also be classified by the type of identification technology.

1.Serial controllers. Controllers are connected to a host PC via a serial RS-485 communication line (or via 20mA current loop in some older systems). External RS-232/485 converters or internal RS-485 cards have to be installed as standard PCs do not have RS-485 communication port
  • RS-485 standard allows long cable runs, up to 4000 feet (1200 m)
  • Relatively short response time. The maximum number of devices on an RS-485 line is limited to 32, which means that the host can frequently request status updates from each device and display events almost in real time.
  • High reliability and security as the communication line is not shared with any other systems.
Disadvantages
  • RS-485 does not allow Star-type wiring unless splitters are used
  • RS-485 is not well suited for transferring large amounts of data (i.e. configuration and users). The highest possible throughput is 115.2 kbit/s, but in most system it is downgraded to 56.2 kbit/s or less to increase reliability.
  • RS-485 does not allow the host PC to communicate with several controllers connected to the same port simultaneously. Therefore in large systems transfers of configuration and users to controllers may take a very long time and interfere with normal operations.
  • Controllers cannot initiate communication in case of an alarm. The host PC acts as a master on the RS-485 communication line and controllers have to wait until they are polled.
  • Special serial switches are required in order to build a redundant host PC setup.
  • Separate RS-485 lines have to be installed instead of using an already existing network infrastructure.
  • Cable that meets RS-485 standards is significantly more expensive than regular Category 5 UTP network cable.
  • Operation of the system is highly dependent on the host PC. In case the host PC fails, events from controllers are not retrieved and functions that require interaction between controllers (i.e. anti-passback) stop working.
2. Serial main and sub-controllers. All door hardware is connected to sub-controllers (a.k.a. door controllers or door interfaces). Sub-controllers usually do not make access decisions, and forward all requests to the main controllers. Main controllers usually support from 16 to 32 sub-controllers. Advantages
  • Work load on the host PC is significantly reduced, because it only needs to communicate with a few main controllers.
  • The overall cost of the system is lower, as sub-controllers are usually simple and inexpensive devices.
  • All other advantages listed in the first paragraph apply.
Disadvantages
  • Operation of the system is highly dependent on main controllers. In case one of the main controllers fails, events from its sub-controllers are not retrieved and functions that require interaction between sub controllers (i.e. anti-passback) stop working.
  • Some models of sub-controllers (usually lower cost) have no memory and processing power to make access decisions independently. If the main controller fails, sub-controllers change to degraded mode in which doors are either completely locked or unlocked and no events are recorded. Such sub-controllers should be avoided or used only in areas that do not require high security.
  • Main controllers tend to be expensive, therefore such topology is not very well suited for systems with multiple remote locations that have only a few doors.
  • All other RS-485-related disadvantages listed in the first paragraph apply.