Merging the Boardroom and the Security Command Center

Security monitoring functions and operations can adopt a range of applications, configurations and technologies. In today's world, security is more than monitoring the status of doors and windows. We now monitor our surroundings and environment...


Security monitoring functions and operations can adopt a range of applications, configurations and technologies. In today's world, security is more than monitoring the status of doors and windows. We now monitor our surroundings and environment, traffic flow of vehicles and pedestrians, deliveries to our buildings and even utilities serving our properties. There are several different technologies and devices available to help us do this. The one common factor is that we must use our sense of vision and discernment to evaluate the information coming from these various technologies.

Traditionally, security centers employed several video and computer data displays. With the need for expanded and more sophisticated forms of monitoring increasing, additional monitoring screens and images are now required to display this vital information. The security control center has evolved into a master information command-and-control center, with facilities for monitoring building mission-critical applications and environmental services. Emergency news broadcasts, strategic communications, weather and logistics control, once part of building operations, are now often under the authority of the modern security center.

As these new requirements are assigned to the security sector, the area to accommodate the increased monitoring responsibilities inherently increases. The added number of system displays and the space to physically locate them can expand drastically. Unfortunately, all too often this expansion has forced a horizontal growth of the monitoring console to enormous configurations, rendering the human ergonomics and operating conditions of the space to a rather inefficient and unmanageable status.

Sharing New Technology
As we begin to explore better ways to address these monitoring necessities, we find that newer, cutting-edge presentation display technologies once reserved for the corporate boardroom are now making their way into the security command center. Buildings and grounds departments, IT departments, audio-visual departments and security forces have entered into a world of shared technology and strategic information exchange that is paramount in the protection of personnel and property. To this end, high-technology display devices and systems are playing a more critical role in serving the security and defense of our resources.

Smaller cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, once the mainstay of the security center, are making way for larger liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma flat-panel devices. High-resolution video projectors using LCD and Digital Light Processing (DLP?) technologies are now used to display CCTV motion video as well as access control, building environmental and intrusion detection screen images. These larger display devices and systems are providing a level of flexibility that was not commonly found in the security arena a few years ago.

We will briefly explore some of these display technologies, the processing electronics behind them and some of the advantages and benefits that can be realized when they are incorporated into the security monitoring and surveillance application.

Advancements in Image Size
For decades, the workhorse in surveillance monitoring was the nine-inch diagonal CRT video monitor for viewing security CCTV analog camera images. In many cases, dozens of these were installed to accommodate the number of cameras in an installation. This typical monitor in a 4:3 width-to-height ratio provides a surface viewing area slightly less than 40 square inches. In many cases, larger CRT monitors, such as 17-inch diagonal displays, are used for automatic alarm-initiated call-up viewing or viewing archived video. These offer a much larger viewing area of 139 square inches.

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