CCTV system design options improved with IP

March 23, 2010

When working with Installers and System Integrators to develop CCTV systems it is often helpful to include the end user in these discussions. That way all parties gain a more comprehensive understanding of what is required in the Must Have / Nice to have / Wish list of features.

Following on from part 1 other Wish list things we could offer included driving outputs to switch on lights in poorly lit areas – and again cost savings could be made by using Raytec LED lighting. This was interesting for me as we were able to use mixed white and red light illuminators in one device, which gave additional cost savings through reduced running costs.

And all this before we had even got to the software!

Once at the control room even more Wishlist items could be ticked off. We could run the system over the End Users Virtual Machine environment and utilise their large SAN. Not having to buy expensive dedicated DVR / NVRs which would need to be deployed locally onsite, allowed them to expand the system potential. They could add more locations and cameras to the network, improving the system functionality and meaning more installation work for the System Integrator and a higher value / margin software sale.

The powerful feature rich element of our Cware Video Management Software also meant improved operational usage. They could deploy the fully functional client with all the alarm handling and escalation onto multiple operators’ stations. The alarms could flash on the operator’s PC toolbar, drawing their attention to anything that required action rather than just sitting watching cameras waiting for something to happen. This meant that they could then work on other things, improving productivity and providing a more interactive and interesting work environment.

All in all through working in partnership with different manufacturers and the CCTV Integrator within the overall solution and running over an IP infrastructure we were able to far exceed the customer’s expectations and correspondingly improve their perception of the System Integrators and also improve the System Integrators slice of the project spend by clever deployment of hardware and software to maximise available budgets, rather than spend these on options that may not have been won by the SI such as additional cabling or digging trenches.

To read part 1, click here. If you would like to find out more about working in partnership with Controlware, please drop me an email at ipcctv@controlware.co.uk.


IP delivers increased flexibility when specifying CCTV project options

March 18, 2010

Many CCTV projects begin with looking into the features required and the amount of integration needed with other systems. These discussions run along the lines of producing a Must Have / Nice to have / Wish list of features. We recently worked with a Systems Integrator (SI) to develop a CCTV system for a company from the petro-chemical industry. It provided an interesting insight into how many Wish list items we were able to include in the system simply by specifying IP.

The end customers key Must Have was a reliable and robust system; but they also wanted enhanced functionality for communications and public address broadcasting, as well as remote lighting management and proactive alert systems. And cost, like most projects, was a key concern.

To cut project costs existing analogue cameras were utilised by being connected to an IP encoder for transmission over a local 5GHz wireless LAN from Infinet. This helped avoid cable runs from difficult areas and enhanced project savings by cutting the costs of digging trenches to new camera locations. Another requirement was met by the use of Mesh network topology to provide resilience in the transmission of the CCTV.

It was at this point that we could start ticking off the main Wishlist items as the encoder could support local I/O devices such as Redwall’s and also be connected to local tannoy systems from TOA in the event that communications needed to be broadcast, such as safety announcements or to get a remote site worker to come to a site office or rendezvous with other colleagues.

We could also support other I/O devices through the use of Adams boards to convert I/O to IP and then link this data to either display the cameras signalling alarms or make a PTZ go to a preset position to give a visual overview of events; allow for process control and ensuring contracted works had been carried out; or even provide lone worker protection.

If you would like to find out more about working in partnership with Controlware, please drop me an email at ipcctv@controlware.co.uk .


Open CCTV management software the best way forward for CCTV systems

February 11, 2010

It is plain to see that the CCTV market will embrace IP as the dominant technology for CCTV systems very soon. The next thing to examine is how the industry is able to quickly integrate IP into today’s new and existing installations.

One of the most attractive things about the IP-based open management platform is the ability to help migrate existing systems to IP without replacing existing infrastructure or the cost of upgrading relatively new components in order to get an attractive new feature. This is why one of Controlware’s fundamental approaches when working alongside partners is to make system design as modular as possible so that components can be integrated as and when required to meet operational requirements, phased project management or simply budgetary needs. By utilising an open management platform over the life of the project (be this one month, one year, 10 years) it allows us to work with partners to meet these requirements in a flexible and logical way.

It would be very difficult to achieve a project successfully if you were tied to a proprietary system because you would need to be able to ensure that you could get all the interoperable components over the lifetime of the system (How many times have we been involved with projects where a key component has gone end of life and the replacement isn’t similar at all?). The use of a proprietary solution could also force you to use inferior parts of that vendor’s overall system that don’t meet your requirements. Other vendors’ products would probably fit your needs much better but you can’t use them because you are held hostage by the very nature of selecting a proprietary system!

By taking the open management platform route the future is far easier. You can mix and match non-compatible edge devices from different manufacturers, you are free to choose which storage and recording hardware vendor you want to work with and also how storage is deployed in relation network topology to help with redundancy or resilience continuity planning. Also you can integrate other technology options including analytics or access control and actively manage migration of legacy systems to meet operational / budgetary requirements.  This is an example of how  Controlware works with its partners – We ensure that the operational requirement of the end user is met rather than just sell you tin.  In order to meet the needs of our customers and partners we work closely to ensure you don’t buy a square peg to fit a round hole – and have to live with the consequences.

If you would like to challenge Controlware to prove that open management can be just as cost effective as proprietary systems, provide a better service than analogue or allow you to enable an upgrade to IP without replacing your entire system then please contact Controlware or have a look at the Cware open management platform.


The importance of the CCTV Operational Requirement

December 3, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explores the importance of the Operational Requirement.

However, one of the biggest issues facing consultants is managing customer expectations and creating the CCTV Operational Requirement (OR). It’s the historical trend for manufacturer’s functionality to drive the OR but this is the wrong way round, OR should drive product selection. Another common issue is when poorly-educated specifiers base a solution on budget. Without proper regard for what is actually needed, a solution is created that does not meet the OR required today, or in the longer-term by not being reliable, or providing poor quality video footage that cannot be used for evidential purposes. This leaves consultants stuck in the middle. At Controlware we have a different approach. Every expert design we undertake begins with an OR. The OR determines the functionality specification, which in turn drives budget requirement. This enables our partners, customers and the consultants who work with us, to make informed and realistic choices for the right system to meet the end-user’s needs i.e. the budget may determine the selection of a cheap PTZ or a high quality static camera but it should be the OR that dictates the final choice.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here