- 30 Mitsubishi VS-50XE70S 50” diagonal DLP projection cubes
Free Trade Security
America Free Zone in Costa Rica chooses Mitsubishi Data Wall for 430-camera security setup.
Here’s a dilemma: You’re an electronics manufacturer looking to set up assembly and warehousing operations in Latin America. Costa Rica looks very attractive, offering a duty-free and almost tax-free environment with easy access to Atlantic and Pacific container terminals. But you’re worried about security. Will your investments and your people be safe?
“Security is one of our biggest concerns” says Cristian Campos, Financial Director of America Free Zone (AFZ), one of the largest and fastest growing business parks in Central America. “We take pride in offering our clients an environment as modern and as safe as any in the world.”
Still, as the business park grows larger, AFZ must continually expand its security and surveillance systems. Last year they moved to an all-new monitoring room equipped with a 30-cube Mitsubishi Display Wall. The Display Wall is helping security staff keep tabs on 10 office buildings and five warehouse and industrial units located on the 98-acre property, displaying images from 430 Pelco high-definition (2048 x 1536) surveillance cameras. The Display Wall is truly a mission critical component, expected to provide trouble-free monitoring 24/7 for decades to come.
Free trade zones
A free trade zone is an area within which raw materials can be landed and products manufactured, warehoused, and exported without the need to go through customs or pay import or export duties. There are more than 3,000 of these zones in 116 countries. Costa Rica takes the concept an extra step by exempting participating companies from paying any corporate income tax or capital gains taxes, as long as they agree to employ local workers.
AFZ is a privately held free trade zone just 20 minutes from downtown San Jose, the capital and largest city in Costa Rica. Clients include Hewlett Packard, Intel, IBM, Dell and Teradyne, as well as a number of consulting, engineering, shipping and software companies. Together these companies employee more than 7,500 people within the business park.
AFZ was originally licensed in 1999, so they have had time to build a stable and sizable presence in the local economy. Yet with only 30% of its land occupied, its tenants and potential clients still have plenty of room to expand. In addition to good security, AFZ is known for its client amenities—including a food court, a convenience store, a bank, ATMs, even a medical clinic and pharmacy on property. It is also known for its extremely reliable technology services. For example, management provides backup electrical generators for the entire 90-acre property, something not often seen in business parks in the United States or Europe.
Christian Cooper, Mitsubishi’s Central America Sales Manager for Data Wall Products, says his group was brought into the new monitoring room project by Miami-based Distributor, International Security and Trading Corp. (ISTC), who have worked with Los Arallanes assisting and designing the American Free Zone’s security project, including CCTV IP, access control and fire detection systems.
Cooper says the choice of Mitsubishi Display Wall components shows a strong commitment to quality by AFZ. “It’s rare to see a private company take such care in the technology they choose. This is one of the best security systems I’ve ever seen.”
Designing the display wall
The display wall at AFZ installed consists of 30 Mitsubishi VS-50XE70S 50” diagonal DLP projection cubes, each using a long-life, highly efficient LED light source, in a three-high, ten-wide configuration. Since these are XGA cubes, the total resolution of the display wall is 10,240 x 2,304 pixels, which can be divided up in any number of ways for viewing images from the cameras and other video and data sources.
“One factor in choosing the proper cube is the size of the pixel it produces,” Cooper explains. Mitsubishi has a display wall configurator it provides its dealers and other interested parties, which helps them determine the optimal distance at which people with normal vision can resolve a given pixel size. If the operators’ workstations are closer than this distance, information space is wasted and they may experience eye fatigue. If it’s farther, resolution is wasted and they won’t be able to see all of the detail that the images include. Of course a higher-resolution cube will produce smaller pixels, so the designer must factor in the size and layout of the room and the amount of information to be projected in determining the optimal resolution and number of cubes to use.
AFZ’s IT department uses the wall with six preprogrammed layouts, each of which can be called up instantly from a Mitsubishi VC-TP9S Display Wall Controller. Mitsubishi D-Wall software manages all of the inputs and outputs. The default layout has three main areas. On the right side of the combined 32.5’ x 7.5’ image, security staff can view data from a NAVSAT vehicle monitoring system, tracking selected client vehicles using GPS information. The left side normally shows views of the racks in the business park’s IT server room, which is a particularly sensitive area. In the center of the display wall is the output of cameras in public areas of the property, including lobbies, elevators, stair halls, communications rooms and outdoor areas. When appropriate, the display wall also shows data from the property’s fire alarms, electrical generators and access control systems. “Our operators are highly trained and certified, yet each has an assigned area to monitor,” Campos explains. “They also rely on motion detectors and an analytical detection system to bring any unusual activity to their immediate attention.”
At times staff will switch to a layout that gives them a smaller number of larger windows, making it easy to closely monitor a given area. If they need to follow a person or activity moving across the property, they have full control of the individual cameras that are displayed in each window.
Monitoring room staff are in constant communication with security agents out on the property, and they can send pertinent images out to them as necessary. All camera feeds are recorded constantly, with video kept on site for 30 days.
Cooper says there are several possible alternatives to the Mitsubishi Display Wall cubes, but none are as reliable or as economical to operate. “Our LED-based cubes are rated for 80,000 hours of continuous use, which is more than nine years without replacement or maintenance. At that point you can simply switch out the light engines, without the need to rebuild the display wall or replace the screens or other components.”
Campos says the LED product was at the top of his list from early in the design process. “People recommended Mitsubishi for its quality and its warranty. They also told us to expect excellent support before and after the purchase, and we have found that to be the case.
“We are very satisfied with the video wall,” he adds. “It is exactly what we wanted. It clearly places us at the forefront in security matters.”
Today the AFZ sales group includes the monitoring room on the tours it gives to potential tenants. “Our visitors are amazed by the sharpness and definition of the video wall, as well as its ability to manage all the systems we have in one place,” Campos explains. “America Free Zone’s concern for the security of its tenants is reflected in this great system, and our visitors can experience that.”