Growth spurs new Tech Support Manager

November 12, 2009

Controlware announce the appointment of Mark Ashbolt as Technical Support Manager

Leading IP CCTV specialists and Value Added Distributors Controlware have appointed Mark Ashbolt as Technical Support Manager. Mark brings over 15 years technical experience to the role and will be responsible for managing UK support operations.

Prior to joining Controlware, Mark was most recently IT Manager at the Halcrow Group where he was responsible for managing a team that supported over 600 users. At Controlware, Mark is responsible for the management of all Customer Support operations including the Help Desk and onsite Technical Field Engineers. He is currently managing the transition of the company’s traditional Help Desk to an integrated Service Support model based around the introduction of procedures that will streamline operations to assist all areas of the business.

Customer focused support services

Mark and his team provide expert Technical Support for Controlware’s existing customers and new surveillance projects that can range from a few cameras to thousands across multiple sites. Having provided support services for more than 20 years Controlware engineers have a reputation for providing exceptional technical assistance enabling service contracts to be tailored to exact requirements for individual products or complete solutions. In this way the Controlware support team can help make CCTV more effective than before through regular firmware updates, configuration management and maintenance checks.

As the primary UK Technical support team for Controlware’s Cware open management platform the team also has expert strength in depth to deal with the most technical of enquires. The Cware open management platform enables users to benefit from integrated surveillance and recording solutions. Based on open standards Cware supports integration with leading vendor codec’s and cameras, external systems such as access control, video analytics and intruder alarms as well as technologies such as H.264. Systems based on the Cware management platform are future-proofed and provide a real-world return on investment for users, reseller and integration partners.

“We are pleased to welcome Mark Ashbolt to Controlware and are already seeing the benefit of having someone with his extensive experience on board,” said Mark Harraway, Country Manager, Controlware UK. “Mark has joined us during a period of extremely strong growth both in staff and customer numbers and we look forward to his input as we continue to evolve and expand our support services. “

Rapid growth of IP based CCTV

Mark Ashbolt’s career began with the RAF providing support for flight simulators before leaving to join the private sector. Having spent the majority of his career in management roles for the likes of IBM where he managed a multi-lingual Pan European team Mark Ashbolt is looking forward to this new role assisting Controlware’s integrator and reseller customer base especially at this time of exciting growth for the company.

“I am looking forward to helping Controlware meet the growing demand for IP based security systems in the industry at this exciting time and aim to ensure that the support team continues to provide the highest levels of support for our customers.”

For more information about Controlware click here.

Mark Ashbolt joins Controlware


CCTV video of warehouse accident demonstrates importance of Health and Safety

November 6, 2009

Much has been discussed about the wider merits of CCTV and how it can reduce crime and make people feel safer but a topic that is often over looked is how CCTV can help with health and safety.

It is sometimes a shock to find staff carrying out tasks that completely go against the training, regulations and processes that have been put in place. CCTV if well monitored can therefore be highly important in preventing the occurrence of accidents. Also if employees having received training and been made aware of regulations are involved in an accident, CCTV is a tool that can be used to help clear your company of blame and potential legal action that might follow.

The video below filmed at a warehouse in Russia shows a major health and safety incident occurring. Fortunately no one was badly injured, but five million roubles (£105,000) worth of alcohol was destroyed in the accident, according to the website that posted the video, scandalim.ru.

If resource for live monitoring is not available technologies such as Video Analysis (Video Analytics / Smart CCTV) can help. When using an open management platform such as Cware, Video Analysis from IP cameras, analogue (analog) cameras or codecs can be easily integrated into the CCTV system. Video Analysis continuously checks for activity, events or behaviours that might be considered suspicious against user-defined policies. When activity is detected the system will classify the objects of interest (people, vehicle etc.), track and identify the direction of moving objects, interpret what the objects are doing and determine if a customer-defined policy has been broken. Once a policy is broken, for instance an intruder climbing over a perimeter fence or a vehicle parking in a forbidden zone, a wide variety of automatic countermeasures can be taken. PTZ cameras can automatically zoom in and track the object to get images of evidential quality, audible alarms can be broadcast to frighten away trespassers and emails or text messages can be sent to notify security personnel.

For more information about IP CCTV, the Cware management platform and Video Analysis click here.

Plus what do you think about CCTV? Is Britain becoming a Surveillance Society? Discuss here.


College benefit from advanced IP CCTV system that improves security and safety

October 13, 2009

Leading IP CCTV specialist Controlware with partners ntl:Telewest Business, has supplied an advanced security solution to The Oldham College that saves costs and delivers improved flexibility and video quality over their previous system.

The Oldham College is in the process of producing strategy that will see 70% of the college’s building portfolio being re-built with plans for a £70 million regeneration of their campus. The IT and Estates teams knew that their existing analogue system would not be good enough to provide the level of security they needed throughout the course of the campus redevelopment and into the future. An analogue solution would be expensive and inflexible as the cameras would need to be moved frequently during the redevelopment of the campus. They looked at IP solutions that could integrate with their IT network and enable cameras to be quickly redeployed around the campus as building work progresses.

Having fully examined the advanced IP CCTV solution at Warrington Collegiate, The Oldham College had no doubts about developing their system around Controlware’s Cware management platform and replacing their three old analogue systems with a single powerful platform.

Bob Leigh, Estates Manager for The Oldham College, who manages the security team, is extremely pleased with the improved quality and usability of the new solution. “Cware’s management interface is great and much easier to use than our old system, best of all the image quality is superb allowing security staff to really see what they are looking at, which we didn’t have before. Everyone who has seen the new solution says how impressed they are”.

From day one Cware was so easy to use that staff taught themselves how to use the system in hours and this has made the team more confident in managing security incidents. Reviewing archive video recordings and exporting video to DVD has also become much easier. Specific footage is easy to find and video export takes a few mouse clicks instead of a lengthy process that required the help of a network specialist in the past.

Costs savings have also been made. Jon Evans, IT Services Manager at The Oldham College explains that “Since IP CCTV is so flexible we don’t need to call in an external contractor to move cameras like we did before. The IT department can move a camera in 15 minutes when it would have taken an external contractor the best part of a day and cost the college £500. This also enables us to be proactive about security by moving cameras to potential hotspots in order to make the most of our resources”

The college can also take advantage of further cost savings from PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology which requires fewer cables to be run to cameras than traditional cabling. The network is also protected against power failure by UPS’s (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) that deliver increased resilience over analogue or hybrid based systems where each camera would rely on its own power supply.

“The IT and Estates teams at Oldham College can see that the Cware management platform delivers real benefits. The new integrated system improves security and support operations enabling students and teachers to feel more secure and confident in security as the college develops as a world-class learning facility.” said Mark Harraway, Country Manager for Controlware UK.

Please click here for more information about Controlware.

The Oldham College


Building advanced CCTV security systems: Control room components

October 1, 2009

Recording and Management Servers
Within the primary control room, there will be servers with sufficient storage to capture video at full frame rate DVD resolution from the cameras located around the site.

In addition to the recording servers, the primary management server will also reside within this location.  The management server stores all user and system configurations and enables the management of devices and alarms. Each of these servers will be protected from power loss by the inclusion of UPS battery backup devices.

Viewing and Replay
Each Operator workstations has dual 19” LCD displays and a Joystick for PTZ camera control.  These workstations will be powered by the Cware Control Centre application that enables the operators to view live or recorded video, manage alarms and control cameras.

The Control Centre user interface is designed to be as simple as possible while still providing advanced capabilities.  The main screen can be utilised as the operator’s spot monitor and facilitates viewing of multiple cameras in live or replay mode, export of footage, viewing of alarms, management of the video wall and so on.  To enable simple navigation through the cameras and provide vital information on camera positions, the second monitor can be used as the map interface.  The map interface can provide users with a zoom overview of the site and highlight elements such as alarm triggers and camera positions.

As well as the maps, the system can be licensed with the patented ICN feature.  ICN stands for Image Content Navigation and enables a revolutionary method of navigating through the system.  With ICN enabled, it is possible to setup predefined invisible links within the video image from a camera that link to another camera.  This offers the operator the opportunity to click on an area of the image and the system will automatically switch to the best view of that area.  For example, if you have a camera overlooking a doorway and you see a suspicious individual enter through the door of a building, ICN makes it possible to click on the door and automatically switch to the camera inside quickly and easily without having to search through a list of cameras to identify the correct one.

The Cware server within the central location will constantly monitor each remote IP camera and encoder (for existing analogue cameras) device for alarm triggers, such as motion detection.  In the event of an alarm trigger from a remote location, the alarm management and response configuration can allow for a variety of notification methods, including simply presenting the user automatically with the video on their spot monitor or presenting the alarm to the video wall displays.

cware server

In addition to the monitoring motion alarms, the system can also enable system health monitoring.  In the event of events such as loss of connectivity to a server or the failure of a video feed to an encoder, an e-mail can be sent out to system administrators who are responsible for maintenance and upkeep.  This ensures that the system can proactively prevent and notify of potential performance issues.
cware log

The system also provides comprehensive logging, including operator activity, alarms and so on.  The log viewer tool then enables system managers to search and extract valuable information as a CSV file. This can then be imported into 3rd party systems, such as excel, to assess performance such as response times, number of alarms and so on.

Videowall
Within the control room, there will be high performance rack mount workstations connected to a large screen LCD displays.  These workstations will be powered by the Cware Videowall application.  Each workstation can display up to 16 or more video streams from remote cameras on wither a predefined or custom layout.  The Control Centre clients can manage the display of the cameras onto the video wall by simply clicking a tab at the bottom of the screen and choosing which cameras they would like to display.  It is proposed to utilise one or more of the screens as a dedicated alarm display whereby all incoming alarms from cameras can be shown to highlight this to the user.

control room


Building advanced CCTV security systems: The control room

September 30, 2009

The Cware surveillance platform is an advanced video management and recording solution. Based on open standards and supporting leading Intelligent Video Analysis developers and camera and encoder manufacturers, Cware is the ideal high-performance solution for surveillance and alarm management.

Cware offers a variety of surveillance and management solutions to suit various applications including access via a traditional web browser or access via the Cware Control Centre interface. Due to client-server architecture, multiple clients with appropriate permissions can log onto the system from any location and view live or recorded video footage, control cameras and manage alarms. All user permissions, privileges and capabilities are also held centrally on the server meaning that changes can be implemented quickly and efficiently while increasing overall security.

With surveillance based on Cware the solution is fully resilient with failover control servers, failover storage servers, RAID 5/6 storage and high quality hard drives. The storage can be on or off site, in the control room or in a secure location; it can be distributed for security as long as the network is large enough to support high bandwidths. Additional control rooms can be added to provide mirror systems and/or DR sites if required.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.

cware controlroom


Building the next generation CCTV security system

September 29, 2009

Video surveillance has evolved significantly in the last few years and Controlware has been at the forefront of the development of this technology.

Digital video surveillance is cost-effective and offers greater flexibility due to the wide range of cameras available.  If implemented as a separate system to meet the needs of a security plan or upgrade, a standard system may be adequate for immediate requirements, but if the system is integrated with access control and intrusion detection system or part of the broader building automation system, surveillance improves and reduces the need for additional security personnel.

Integration of access control with video verification, for example, allows a security operator to see live video at the point a person gains entry.  This also enables the prevention of individuals who are “tailgating”, when one person follows another through the door.  The integrated system allows organizations to visually identify, verify and capture security breaches at access points.

Utilising video analytics within new generation cameras brings additional advantages to the system.  This technology enables the cameras to look for certain characteristics in the video and provide alerts when these occur.  This facilitates each camera to effectively act as another pair of eyes looking for breaches in the security policy.  Using this technology enables operators to focus only on what is truly important, managing surveillance by exceptional events rather than trying to observe all events.

The goal of Controlware’s Cware platform is to provide a single, unified, integrated architecture for organizations.  This will prevent intruder access to secure areas, limit access to public areas, and remotely monitor critical areas to reduce the risk of crime and security incidents.

Using an integrated system, security staff at a central monitoring station can view live or recorded footage from surveillance cameras, move pan-tilt-zoom cameras, or perform advanced searches for video clips stored on the security management system.  When an alarm is triggered by an intrusion, access control or video analytics policy, the system can automatically respond in a wide variety of ways such as move a cameras position and display live video at the location, map the alarm location, and send an alert to the security personnel’s mobile devices.

CCTV cameras are an important security component at vulnerable areas of a site, such as entrances, car parks and IT labs. When an alarm is activated at one of these locations, cameras can be activated to survey the scene and monitor the incident, allowing security personnel to quickly evaluate both the alarm and their response.

Asset protection is also becoming increasingly high priority. There is often a need to track everything from office equipment, PCs to PDAs and phones—not just for the value of these items but also for the data that could be located on them. Controlware integrate RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and tagging technologies to assist with asset tracking. This system works in conjunction with video and access control to document the movement of assets or persons around monitored locations.  This same RFID technology can be utilised to provide a locational awareness function across sites to identify the whereabouts of security staff, equipment or objects at any given time.  Using this technology provides the facility to automatically alert the nearest operators when an alarm is detected on the system. Operators or guards with mobile devices can be sent both live and recorded footage so they can determine the severity of the alarm and take action as necessary.

As well as video images coming from the fixed position cameras, it is also possible to look towards the implementation green camera locations where both wind and solar can be used to power the cameras where digs are not possible.  This enables the use of temporary cameras to be deployed around the site where and when they are required.  Also, due to the network architecture, it is also possible to stream images into the systems from remote sources to increase the site security.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.

Cware


Building an integrated security system: Access Control

September 25, 2009

Implementing a simple access control solution on its own provides little benefit if a member of staff or the public hold a door open for a non-authorised person to enter a secure building.   By integrating Access Control with CCTV it is possible to detect events automatically using Video Analytics and issue alarms to security staff in real-time.

Access Control could also be used to manage site access as a whole enabling secure out of hours availability of restricted areas.  An example could be the issuing of  security passes that restrict certian groups to specific areas for example a pass that provides access to the car parking facilities and so on.

With the CCTV system recording video across the site as a whole, it is important that the Access Control is tightly integrated within this.  By combining the functions of Access Control and CCTV, the system can become much more effective in ensuring that areas of sensitivity are not breached.  This can be realised by automatic alarms that alert operators to suspicious events enabling them to see what is happening and react accordingly.

Controlware integrate Access Control systems from leading vendors into the Cware management platform.  In addition, development is currently taking place to utilise advanced biometric systems to control access, such as palm scanning and facial recognition.  This provides the ability for individuals to gain access to restricted areas or facilities without the need to carry an access card which can be forgotten, lost or stolen.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.