Pelco Developer Network (PDN)

DigitalSENTRY ASCII Integration

The DigitalSENTRY video management system is the most complete digital video surveillance system in the industry, accommodating a virtually unlimited amount of cameras in multiple locations.

Digital Sentry Additional ASCII information

The Digital Sentry Operation Configuration Manual describes ASCII commands that are specific for DS products.

Configure all device-specific items under the Serial Inputs tab for the selected VAU.

One of DigitalSENTRY's best features is support for serial input devices, such as card readers, or 'printer' output from an access control system connected to the VAU.

Select the COM port to which the device is connected and click on the Add button.

Select the newly added COM port.

Set the interface type to monitor or card reader.

There is no difference between the monitor and card reader settings.

Under the General tab, define the following:

Maximum Line Size --- The length of the largest string that may be sent by the device.

First End of Line Character --- One of three user selected ASCII characters selected from a given drop down list, sorted by ASCII values, that may indicate the end of a line of text read from the device.

Second End of Line Character --- One of three user selected ASCII characters selected from a given drop down list, sorted by ASCII values, that may indicate the end of a line of text read from the device.

Third End of Line Character --- One of three user selected ASCII characters selected from a given drop down list, sorted by ASCII values, that may indicate the end of a line of text read from the device.

The above information is specific to the access control system.

Description --- Optional text that may be entered about the port or device. This text is only viewed in this section.

Active --- Activate the COM port to make the device available for zoned events.

Under the Port Settings tab, define the device specific communication settings:

  • Baud Rate
  • Parity
  • Stop Bits

Device texts teach DigitalSENTRY to discern meaningful data from insignificant data. This establishes filters to determine potential alarms.

Reset Text --- Any text string segments sent by the device to indicate an alarm reset. (e.g. RESET RESTORE)

Required Text --- Any text which may be required DigitalSENTRY to accompany other texts to recognize device use as an alarm. For example, if the user only wants to force recording in the LAB. Assuming the access control system uses the word LAB to designate a location, users can key on the word LAB.

Alarm Text --- General text which, when read, indicates that an alarm has been tripped. More specific alarm texts may be entered for each zone. (e.g. ALARM, DENY)

Normal Text --- Alarm text which, when read, indicates an alarm, but does not cause the DigitalSENTRY Client to automatically display video. Any event recording, according to zone settings, still occurs. (e.g. APPROVE, ACCEPT, VALID)

Since this is an ASCII string, you may not use key words that are sub-sets of each other. A good example are the words INVALID and VALID. Since "VALID" is a string of characters within the string "INVALID", the system will only key on the VALID string. Consequently if a user selects INVALID as the 'alarm text' and VALID as the 'normal text', the video will never display.

Zoned Alarms

DigitalSENTRY's event recording is triggered by Zones.

Zone --- A set of criteria which causes specific cameras to record. These zones may be triggered by alarm contacts, motion detection, video signal or scene loss, or serial text input. During the scheduled time, if any alarm criteria is met, up to 16 cameras may record. In addition, if set accordingly under Configuration Parameters, when an alarm is tripped the video associated with that alarm is automatically displayed to the DigitalSENTRY  client. If 3 or less cameras are set to record, live video from those cameras will accompany the alarm event playback in DigitalSENTRY.

Similar to other features of DigitalSENTRY, right click on the Zones folder and select Add Zone. After doing so, a pop up window will prompt for the following information:

Zone Name --- The name by which the zone is reference in the Current Alarms list and while searching the event history. This will usually be the name of the access point (i.e. card swipe, motion sensor, etc)

Zone Description --- This is only visible in DSAdmin.

Active --- Set the alarm to be active if it should be monitored immediately. Set it to be inactive if it is not yet functional.

Report Alarm --- Determines whether the DigitalSENTRY client should be notified through the client application's Current Alarms window. This must be checked in order to "DISPLAY" the video.

Record Until RESET Received --- Deselecting this option causes an instantaneous alarm event, which shall record only pre and post alarm times immediately when the alarm is triggered. Selecting this option causes DigitalSENTRY to record the entire event and not begin post alarm recording until after the zone is reset.

Priority --- Determines how zones are sorted in the Current Alarms window. One is the highest priority and thus at the top of the list (when sorted by priority).

Prealarm --- The amount of time, in seconds, before an alarm is triggered for which recording should occur.

Postalarm --- The amount of time, in seconds, after an alarm is reset for which recording should occur.

Realarm --- The amount of time, in seconds, after an alarm is reset that the same alarm being triggered again is seen as a new event.

After creating the zone, each of these items may be changed under the zone's General tab.

Assigning Cameras to Record

In an existing zone, click the Cameras tab. In the top window, a display of Available Cameras is listed. Simply select cameras from this window to record when that zone is tripped.

Up to 16 cameras may be selected.

If any of the zone criteria is triggered, all of the selected cameras will record.

Zone Criteria - Serial Interface

Click on the VAU name /COM Port combo which you previously configured.

In the UNIQUE ZONE TEXT box, type the name the access control system uses for a specific access point (i.e. lobbydoor, door1, rearentrance).

Click the ADD button. Click SAVE.

How It Works

When a card is swiped, the access control system will produce an ASC string which contains information. Usually this string contains a date, time, user name or card number, access point name or location, and status (access/deny).

DigitalSENTRY captures the entire string and evaluates it. Based on the key words you have configured in the preceding sections, it can do three things:

  1. Nothing.
  2. Start recording on designated cameras. Log an entry into the event database.
  3. Start recording on designated cameras. Log an entry into the event database. Display (pop) the video to the client software of any user ID that is configured to view alarms.

Scenario 1

Your Key words are as follows:

  • NORMAL TEXT --- access
  • ALARM TEXT --- deny
  • Required TEXT --- lab
  • UNIQUE ZONE TEXT --- door1

The following string is captured:

?door1 102903 115908am Jim Smith access mainbldg

Since you have a required text of LAB, and it is not part of the string, nothing will happen.

Scenario 2

Your Key words are as follows:

  • NORMAL TEXT --- access
  • ALARM TEXT --- deny
  • Required TEXT ---
  • UNIQUE ZONE TEXT --- door1

The following string is captured:

?door1 102903 115908am Jim Smith access mainbldg 

Since you have no required text, the appropriate cameras will record. There will be an entry written into the EVENT area of the data base. The entire string will be captured as well. This will allow you to search on any word from the string (jim, smith, mainbldg). You can also use door1 (ZONE NAME) as a filter in the EVENT VIEWER page.

Scenario 3

Your Key words are as follows:

  • NORMAL TEXT --- access
  • ALARM TEXT --- deny
  • Required TEXT ---
  • UNIQUE ZONE TEXT --- door1

The following string is captured:

?door1 102903 115908am Jim Smith deny mainbldg

Since you have no required text, the appropriate cameras will record. Video will be sent to the clients of all IDs configured to receive alarm video. There will be an entry written into the EVENT area of the data base. The entire string will be captured as well. This will allow you to search on any word from the string (jim, smith, mainbldg). You can also use door1 (ZONE NAME) as a filter in the EVENT VIEWER page.

Schedule

Similar to the Motion and Time-Lapse schedules that are established per camera, each zone has its own schedule. The schedule dictates when the zone should be monitored. Zoned recording always occurs at the high frame rate.