All about SITE – the world’s largest privately held outdoor test facility

May 29, 2018

Senstar is proud to have the world’s largest privately held outdoor perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) test facility, aptly named the Sensor Integrated Test Environment (SITE). Within the 10-acre test area, Senstar can design, test and showcase its product portfolio in real-world conditions. Located just west of Ottawa, SITE exposes Senstar sensors to a wide range of harsh environmental conditions, ranging from –40°C in the winter to +40°C in the summer, with freezing rain and high winds in between. The weather can be frustrating for the locals but it’s ideal for designing reliable, world-class sensor products.

Sensor testing

The first thing people notice when they visit SITE is the impressive collection of different styles of fences and barriers. Senstar tests its fence-mounted products on a wide variety of representative fence types and heights, including chain link, vinyl-clad chain link, welded mesh, and palisade. Distributed throughout the field and along the outer perimeter are an equally impressive collection of wireless gate sensors, intelligent lighting systems, microwaves, buried RF, buried acoustic and free-standing RF sensors, as well as taut wire barriers.

Senstar engineers conduct a wide variety of sensor performance tests, including probability of detection against different types of intrusions and different weather conditions. Tests also help determine long-term reliability and product usability. Hands-on experience with the products outdoors has led to many practical improvements that make life easier for installers, such as using hinged enclosures (which eliminates dropped or stripped screws) and removable terminal blocks (to assist in wiring).

«SITE is a unique proving ground – an extension to our development labs that allows us to explore and push the boundaries of our sensing technology,» said Bill Hodgins, VP of engineering, «At any given time we have over 60 sensors reporting to our Network Manager software via copper, fiber and secure wireless interfaces. We are always exploring opportunities for sensor fusion, and aggregating data in the Network Manager enables us to correlate sensor data with recorded weather conditions.” An intelligent gateway, the Network Manager software provides a common interface between the perimeter sensors, other connected security devices, Security Management Systems (SMS), Video Management Systems (VMS), Physical Security Information Management (PSIM), and Access Control Systems (ACS).

Intelligent lighting testing

SITE’s rural location keeps light pollution from the city to a minimum, making it an ideal environment to test new lighting technologies and systems. «SITE provides the ideal locale for lighting testing, we can control how much or little ambient light enters the scene and observe the intentional and unintentional effects of our lighting.» said Nick Novak, senior engineer. «We can do this in all weather conditions, from many angles and at all hours of the day, all remotely via our camera installation.» When designing the Senstar LM100, Senstar tested multiple LED designs under different lighting conditions and used the on-site surveillance cameras to qualify the resulting differences in color rending index (CRI), camera dynamic range, and overall performance. In addition, by testing against a setup that uses fences and cameras similar to those used by our customers, Senstar can guarantee the performance and reliability of its products.

Video management software

While perimeter sensors detect intrusions, surveillance cameras remain the primary means of assessment. Overlooking SITE is a collection of the security industry’s most-popular surveillance cameras. The video streams are managed by Symphony, Senstar’s flagship VMS. «Symphony’s built-in support of the Network Manager simplifies the integration of our sensor devices within the VMS environment,» explains Hodgins. «This allows us to control PTZs and trigger recordings based on sensor events during long-term nuisance alarm rate monitoring. It also enables target handoff between our sensors and video analytics algorithms.”

Product showcase

Customers are welcome to schedule a visit so they can see the products in action and «kick the fence» if so inclined. Just remember to bring sunblock or winter clothing, depending on the season.

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