Installing a camera without wires or power? Solar to the rescue.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Installing a camera without wires or power? Solar to the rescue.In a lot of ways, the requirements to install a commercial security camera are usually pretty easy to accomodate. 90% of the time we need just one wire that is smaller than your pinky finger. We can install that wire inside, outside, in conduit, or even stretch it between poles. We used to have limits on how far away a camera could be installed, but with new wire technologies and PoE extenders (Power over Ethernet), distance is rarely an issue. However, there are still times when you just can’t get a wire to where you want to install a camera.

The next best option is to at least have a power source. With a constant power source, we can at least power the camera and hopefully connect it to a wireless or fiber network to get the signal back to a base station. Kenton Brothers has installed numerous cameras where the only resource we had was power. Entire city blocks are blanketed with a wireless network for this type of security situation.

But what is the solution when you have to have a camera, but don’t have power and can’t get a wire there?

Solar Power

Installing a camera without wires or power? Solar to the rescue.Solar power is not a new thing. It’s been around for decades. The hard part about solar is not the technology or the calculations, the hard part about solar is deploying it. Solar panels work by charging a bank of batteries when the sun is out and then using the batteries to power equipment when it’s dark.

First, of course, is knowing the load that will be running on the circuit. Second, is knowing which solar zone you’re in. (This is a measurement of how much sun you can expect in the area you will be deploying solar.) Last is knowing how long you need to be able to tolerate not having any sunlight. Based on all of that information, you or your solar system provider can determine how big the solar panels will need to be and how many will be needed to support periods of time without sunlight.

Solar Kits

A solar kit comes with solar panels, a solar controller, and batteries. What isn’t commonly thought of is the size of the panels and the weight of the batteries. For a recent project at a lake, our single 300-watt panel was about 3′ by 5′. This large surface area acts like a sail in the wind . If installed on a pole (the most likely type of installation) you have to account for the wind when specifying the size and strength of the pole. Likewise, the batteries that were needed for this installation weighed almost 120 pounds!

Using solar panels on poles provides a way to install cameras where there is no wire and no power. The solar panels can support the power requirements of the camera(s) as well as communication equipment like point to point or wireless. (It would also be possible to record locally to the camera or a weather hardened server, but a bit more challenging to get to that data.)

As you can see in these project pictures, the end result is a sturdy, self contained, solar powered security camera with a wireless data connection. And it’s high enough off the ground to avoid tampering.

If you have a unique situation where you aren’t sure how to get power and connectivity to a camera, give us a call. We will have the products and techniques to solve your problem!

Installing a camera without wires or power? Solar to the rescue. Installing a camera without wires or power? Solar to the rescue.

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Challenging installs are our specialty.

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem. We love a good challenge, and love creating the right solution to meet the need. The latest challenge comes in the way of no network, lots of trees, and in some places… no power.

A local county Parks and Recreation group came to us with several places they wanted to have cameras. They have an existing Milestone commercial video surveillance system in the county, but it was not integrated with their parks and rec department. The team wanted to cover marinas, several park shelters around lakes, and a few trailheads that had no power. The final goal was to integrate everything into the Milestone platform so there is more visibility.

Remote Locations

The first challenge is how remote some of the locations are. An internet connection was available in 8 of the 30+ locations they wanted cameras, but the internet connections were not very strong or fast. We need to make sure the cameras are recording reliably, so we placed servers at the 8 locations as centralized storage spots for the cameras around each area. In one instance, we installed a server at the marina.

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem. Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem.

No Local Area Network (LAN)

The second challenge is that there is no network at several of the shelters where the department wanted cameras. Of course, wireless radios are nothing new, but we have lots of trees in the way. We had to get pretty creative to make a path from the cameras back to the marina, with line of sight for the radios and the least number of “hops”. There were several times we had to direct the signal away from the marina so that we could collect many signals in one place, and then send it all back to be recorded on the marina server.

No Power

No network is for sure a challenge. But the hardest challenge can be no power. We had to move  to a solar solution to power the cameras.

It’s always fun to overcome technical challenges. Projects like these are memorable and satisfying. Do you have an interesting situation to deal with as you consider improving your commercial security posture? We’ve dealth with literally hundreds, and if you have something new, we would love to tackle it with you. Please give us a call.

Does Your Physical Security Provider Understand BAA and NDAA Regulations for Federally Funded Projects?

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

Commercial Security Trends: The Buy American Act and the impact on Federally Funded ProjectsWhether it’s the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or Buy American Act (BAA),  the landscape of government regulations is changing quickly. Recently, the BAA is getting a lot of attention because of thresholds that the act has established for products used in federal projects or for federally funded projects. We’ve spent some time discussing the NDAA regulations previously in this blog. We will concentrate on the Buy American Act’s new rules in this blog.

BAA – What You Should Know

THE BAA  is intended to protect US manufacturers and utilize US goods and products first.

Buy American Act (BAA) Two-Part Test

The BAA uses a two-part test to define a domestic end product.
– The article must be manufactured in the United States
– The cost of domestic components must exceed 60% (2023) percent of the cost of all the components
This regulation is for all projects over $10,000

The final published rules make several material changes to the regulations of the BAA.

1) Increased domestic content requirements.

The final rule increases the percentage of domestic content necessary for a product to qualify as a “domestic end product” in compliance with the BAA. Currently, the BAA regulations require a product to contain 60%  domestic components to qualify as domestic. In 2024 these same products must carry a 65% minimum threshold and this will increase to 75% in 2029. So current products having 63% of the components sourced domestically are considered BAA compliant, but in a year that will no longer be true.

2) The Fallback Threshold.

The Buy American ActThe current regulations have a “fallback threshold” for products that meet the current domestic content threshold but not the increased thresholds. The Fallback Threshold will allow agencies to use the existing 65% domestic content threshold in certain circumstances. This would be possible if the agency determines that there are no products that meet the new threshold, or such products are of unreasonable cost. The fallback threshold expires in 2030, one year after the domestic content threshold increases to 75%.

The government does allow for an agency to deem a product critical and exempt it from BAA compliancy on a temporary basis if the price is unreasonable. Waiver applications will go through the FTA. So far, even products that are in the 20-30% higher range have been upheld and BAA compliance is required.

The government has yet to publish a standard for what is “unreasonable” so all exceptions to the regulation must be made through the waiver request process.

3) Removes the commercially available-off-the-shelf (“COTS”) exception. 

This was available during the pandemic to  lessen the burden on agencies trying to deal with the supply chain.

4) Established restricted countries of origin.

Cannot purchase or use supplies, material, or services originating in, transported from or through the following countries or entities:

  • China
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • The territory of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban
  • Serbia (excluding Kosovo)
  • Entities controlled by the government of Iraq

The Buy American ActThese regulations have a direct impact on physical security projects that are federally funded or are purchased by a federal agency. These regulations effect the following components that a physical security integrator may be providing or installing.

  • IP Video Surveillance cameras
  • Network and Digital Video Recorders
  • Switches
  • Servers
  • Access Control Components
  • Mechanical and electrified locking door hardware
  • Doors and Frames
  • Metal Detectors
  • Turnstiles
  • Intrusion Detections Systems
  • Cable

Government regulations can be difficult to understand, and Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can help you navigate these regulations for your next project. We have suppliers that meet the BAA regulations and can fulfill your project with compliant materials. Give us a call today!

WOW! Avigilon FIPS 140-2 certification in its H5A commercial camera line!

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

With hackers and subversives becoming more technically advanced, it is critical to national and local security to stay one step ahead.

One of Kenton Brothers System for Security trusted partners recently announced that their new line of commercial IP video surveillance cameras is FIPS 140-2 certified! What this means is that the H5A camera line now meets or exceeds Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS).

The FIPS Standard

This standard requires that all information, including images and camera information, be encrypted to a minimum standard as it is being transported, processed or stored. This encrypted information can only be unlocked with a specific cryptographic key. So, if you don’t have the specific key, the images or information look like random ones and zeros, making no sense to a hacker that is trying to gain access to your system.

Of course, this is wonderful news as Avigilon has extended the encryption all the way out to the commercial security camera. If someone was able to gain access to a camera feed, it would still be useless to them. This is a WOW! for high security sites such as Federal Government, Municipal Government, Corrections Departments, Financial Institutions and the list goes on and on.

This coupled with the fact that Avigilon is manufactured in North America and is TAA and section 889 compliant, makes it an easy go to for any federal, state or local agency.

Next Generation Video Analytics

Avigilon H5A Camera LineIn addition to this high security update, the Avigilon H5A camera line also features next-generation video analytics technology.

The H5A line leverages the latest in AI-powered video analytics to detect and persistently track more objects – whether stationary or moving – with greater accuracy even in crowded scenes, detect unusual activity in a scene autonomously and apply facial recognition technology to alert off of face watch list matches. These advanced capabilities help provide detailed information on what is happening on your site so you can detect potentially critical security events faster and take responsive action, all while keeping the images and data secure.

The H5A line features unique object detection and self-learning video analytics, both of which allow clients to detect, confirm, and respond more quickly to incidents. These advances combine to create a smarter, more reliable CCTV system that utilizes the most powerful, intelligent technologies to ensure the safety of your people, property, and possessions.

We are very excited about this technology advancement!

Here are a few of the other highlights from the H5A Video Surveillance lineup:

  • The H5A line has camera image sensors with resolutions ranging from 2MP to and AMAZING 61MP and a few with 10K HD option
  • The camera line comes with a 5-year warranty standard
    Enables the camera to be deployed at sites requiring FIPS-compliant cryptograph
    Expanded object classifications and more accurate detection in crowded scenes so you can detect faster
  • Once mounted and aimed, the cameras zoom level can be adjusted and image can be focused remotely
    Offers exceptional detail in areas with low lighting
    Available ports for external audio including sirens, microphones and/or loudspeakers for audio talk-down situations

Want to learn more? Please schedule a demo with us today!


Do you sell to or receive government funding? You need to know this about Section 889.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

National Defense Authorization Act Section 889 – A Plan for Compliance

Section 889 UpdateThe Federal government has enacted both phases of the NDAA Section 889 rules and it has led to the removal of several manufacturers of telecom and surveillance equipment throughout the United States. As of August 13, 2019, all federal agencies, federal contractors, colleges and universities and private companies that hold federal contracts or receive federal funds are mandated to remove any and all products from the following companies:

  • Huawei Technologies Company
  • ZTE Corporation
  • Hytera Communications Corporation
  • Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company
  • Dahua Technology Company

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company and Dahua Technology Company are two of the largest commercial video surveillance manufacturers in the world. They operate and distribute through OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) over 100 brands around the globe. Some of these brands include:

  • ADT
  • FLIR – Specific Models
  • DMP

As of August 2020, all federal agencies, contractors and those receiving federal funds are required to perform due diligence in determining what components are present on their networks as well as prohibit the use or implementation of any further products from these companies. All prohibited items found on the network or in possession were to be removed or face penalties including denial of future contracts or funds from federal contracts.

This situation has left many agencies and entities scrambling for solutions on where to start and how to be compliant.

889(B) Compliance AssessmentWe will take the time to help define the steps your organization may need to take to become compliant.

1. Education: Read and understand the rules and necessary actions for compliance. (See below for several links to help in this process or contact us at Kenton Brothers Systems for Security to run down the most current list of prohibited technologies.

2. Assessment: Through reasonable inquiry, determine whether you use “covered telecommunications” equipment or services.  This would include a survey of all devices used in video surveillance and access control, WIFI management and network controllers.

3. Construction: Though builds are a great place to start, visual inspection is another way to determine what brands are installed on your system.  Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can also help with this step by doing a complete walk through of your systems and determining you risks.

4. Create a Cost of Removal and Replacement Plan: Once your assessment is complete, we determine what pieces and parts need to be removed and replaced to maintain current security and performance levels.  Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can help this by creating a complete proposal.  Many times, we can utilize several components from your current system lowering you cost of replacement dramatically.

5. Apply for Waivers: As it is already past the deadline for these systems to be removed, you will need to apply for a waiver that will permit you a one to two-year period to remove or replace all non-compliant items in your organization.  This will include a detailed plan for compliance over the next 12 or 24 months.  This waiver will need to include a project timeline and measurable targets with dates attached.  Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can help you complete this plan for submittal.

6. Apply for Grants: Federal dollars have been put aside for compliance in these matters.  We have posted a couple of links below for your convenience.

We want you to know you’re not alone in navigating the intricacies of the NDAA Section 889 rules.

Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can help you identify your risk, create a plan for mitigation and compliance and partner with you for long term support. Give us a call to get started.

Additional Resources

A great resource for all section 889 resources – This is a “must have” link.

GSA Acquisition Letter MV-20-10 implementing Section 889 – Includes Specific rules and compliance steps

Video recording of how private companies will need to be compliant:

Another Video specifically designed for Federal Agencies and resources available: