With more than 60 years of innovative ideas and experience, Air Cruisers, a division of Zodiac Aerospace, remains the leader in development of and the industry standard for aviation inflatable safety technology - the rafts and slides known all too well by frequent business travelers who can recite the pre-flight instructions by heart. The company has a lengthy list of groundbreaking industry accomplishments, including the first inflatable life vest, the first inflatable aircraft evacuation slides and more.
When you work in this type of market, where lives are at risk, there is no room for error. Therefore, Air Cruisers must take the time to deploy all products in simulated test scenarios to ensure they meet industry standards for effectiveness and safety before selling to customers.
But this can be a tricky process, as all deployments must be recorded by video and approved by a quality monitoring team. In the past, Air Cruisers conducted its tests of inflatable aircraft evacuation slides by simply using handheld video camcorders - a system that worked, but unfortunately did not use resources in the best-possible manner. On many occasions, Air Cruisers was even forced to ship products back and forth between production centers and testing facilities in order to ensure that all products were tested properly. As one can imagine, this process got complicated quickly and as Air Cruisers re-evaluated their system, they determined there was a need for something more effective and less resource-consuming.
"With our multiple quality testing centers - especially a new location we just opened in Mexico - we needed an easier way to link all facilities to one central location," says Robert Schalhoub, vice president of information technology, Air Cruisers. "That way, our quality monitoring process would become simpler, while still allowing us to continue growing as a company. We determined that if we were able to develop a method of viewing live deployment testing by our quality monitoring team in New Jersey, then we could easily continue testing in Mexico, or other locations."
With this specific goal in mind, Air Cruisers began its quest for a unique network video surveillance system that would include remote monitoring capabilities.
Developing a Remote Video Network
A system of this kind obviously is not a regular request for security integrators. But for help determining a network video system that would fit such unique needs, Air Cruisers turned to video security integrator Digital Provisions to commission a new quality monitoring system.
As a company specializing in IP-based video surveillance products, access control systems and IP networking technologies, Digital Provisions easily understood Air Cruisers' need for high-definition cameras with digital zoom capability, to guarantee that the quality monitoring team could see every aspect of the deployment live and during replays, in addition to a camera system that could capture an extremely large product, such as Air Cruisers' B777 jetliner aircraft model. With those criteria in mind, Digital Provisions designed a tailored system based on the network cameras of Axis Communications and the open platform software of Milestone Systems. Specifically, the resulting network consisted of five HDTV-quality Axis network cameras for quality monitoring surveillance (four outdoor-ready AXIS Q1755-E Network Cameras for deployment testing and one AXIS Q1755 for paperwork recording), AXIS Pan-Tilt Motor bases for easy mobility of the fixed network cameras and Milestone X-Protect Professional 7.0 software to connect the entire system.
"We had extremely unusual needs for this system and knew it would be challenging to find technology that could include all the features we wanted - security, video, audio, high definition, strong streaming capabilities and high-end production," says Ilya Visgordinskiy, manufacturing engineer for Air Cruisers. "The HDTV aspect of Axis cameras was especially appealing because it provided us with a strong zoom capability to analyze any missed deployments and more quickly determine root causes."