St Pancras International CCTV system improves security and safety

January 25, 2010

Prestigious larndmark benefits from integrated IP CCTV that improves flexibility and reduces costs

The £800m refurbishment and extension of St Pancras International is part of HS1, Britain’s first major rail project for over a century and the UK’s biggest ever construction project. Opened by the Queen this prestigious landmark required an advanced CCTV solution to help protect staff, customers, and visitors to the station. Controlware won the contract on the basis of the advanced technical solution, integration expertise, and the proven ability to deliver large projects successfully.

Working closely with the Costain, O’Rourke, Bachy and Emcor Rail (CORBER) consortium and Rail Link Engineering (RLE) the 450-camera solution includes a mixture of cameras, codec’s, networked storage and an advanced management platform that provides access to live, DVD quality video. The comprehensive IP surveillance solution provides control of security operations and enables resources to be easily coordinated to meet specific incidents as they happen. Accessing recorded video is made easier through time and date-based searches and since digital recording is used no videotapes are required, saving both time and costs. The surveillance network is also highly scalable to support growth of cameras and storage requirements in the future as the recent integration of the NCP CCTV network has demonstrated.

The new CCTV solution not only helps maintain security and safety but also delivers improved flexibility, reliability and operational benefits as well. By using a unified network for video, data and voice cabling costs are reduced. User access to multiple systems such as Access Control, CCTV, Fire, and Building Control is simplified through a single common interface that provides fast access to detailed information. Training costs are also significantly reduced since each user only needs to be trained on a single system. Easy to use management tools provide users with fast access to live and recorded video from multiple locations either inside or outside of the station. This improves resilience and helps innovate the way that individual departments work. Station announcers for example now have access to live video from platform cameras allowing more accurate announcements to be made and resources to be guided to incidents as they happen, directly improving delivery of information and services and increasing safety for passengers.

For more information, latest news and case studies visit the Controlware website

To receive the True cost of IP CCTV and a system cost breakdown click here.

IP knowledge is essential for CCTV

November 16, 2009

The second part of  an end user’s response to Mark Harraway’s article “Don’t Go Hybrid” that can be read in full here.

Richard Quinn is Food Retail Loss Provention Manager for the Co-operative Group.

IP has been muted by the industry for some time as the end of analogue and the entry of a new digital age in CCTV. The predominant limiting factors to this are in my opinion restricted firstly to technology and secondly to capability and awareness.

Capability and Awareness

Despite talking about IP for a number of years, it remains still a relatively unknown subject to some installers, who do not have the required skill sets, or knowledge to be able to integrate and communicate effectively with IT functions and appear to have the confidence to install the equipment correctly.

Our own experience of this is relatively mixed and we still seem to have issues with the knowledge and capability of people installing the equipment. Whilst I do not wish to ‘badge’ all installers as not having the capability, we need to ensure that there is adequate knowledge within the sector and from experience across a number of installers – This depth of knowledge is simly not there at the moment.

That said, I am sure that those installers who wish to develop their capability and understanding in this area, should focus their efforts on building knowledge in the short term in order to communicate confidently with Clients, including their IT departments regarding the benefits and drawbacks of such a solution and its implementation.

I also believe that manfacturers collaborating together to develop common standard protocols will also benefit the end user to adapt and migrate across to IP led systems.

In summary addressing these key points will help the market to evolve and conifdence to be generated around identifying whether IP is indeed a viable option. In the current climate the market certainly has to adapt and go the extra mile in demonstrating it’s viability to end users, more importantly end users are becoming increasingly aware of the requirement to demonstrate a rate of return on any capital investment – These systems are not exempt from this and I believe therein lies another challenge, additional spend often requires different styles of thinking, in order to identify whether there is a clear business case for this type of investment.

To read the initial Dont Go Hybrid article that started the debate click here.

Is IP CCTV the next big thing?

November 13, 2009

The first part of  an end user’s response to Mark Harraway’s article “Don’t Go Hybrid” that can be read in full here.

Richard Quinn is Food Retail Loss Provention Manager for the Co-operative Group.

IP has been muted by the industry for some time as the end of analogue and the entry of a new digital age in CCTV. The predominant limiting factors to this are in my opinion restricted firstly to the technology itself.

Technology Capability and Platforms

Whilst in simple terms it is easy to build an IP infrastructure and effective back-up resource to ensure that single point of failures become a thing of the past, the capability and functionality is still not at the same level as analogue cameras, which can easily be bolted into an IP recording solution.  The quality of these devices has improved ten fold over the last few years, but there is still some way to go and the market (Buyers) are not yet demanding IP as a full solution, due to the fact that costs are still relatively high by comparison and they can adopt a hybrid IP solution that meets their needs.  These may include conecting to a data mining solution, taking images/recorded media across a WAN/LAN – In taking this approach it meets requirements both current and in the future.  In any event as the UK has earned the mantle of having more CCTV Cameras per 1,000 population, the likelihood of replacing these frequently is extremely high. Indeed this is something most businesses experience on an almost daily basis and a planned programme of asset renewal when the market requires the deployment of IP cameras, will ensure that systems are changed over time.

As with all good technologies, until a product reaches the market that provides the functional requirements and is as good as an analogue camera – It simply won’t get adopted.

To read the initial Dont Go Hybrid article that started the debate click here.

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

Flexible system design is key for CCTV ROI

November 10, 2009

IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems. So Mark Harraway argues here. Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the next part of his response below.

The sensible answer to all these issues (concering analogue, hybrid and IP technology) is for us to encourage progress and quality whilst coming to terms with the equipment we actually have available and using that to design cost effective solutions for the security and surveillance needs of clients that are both backwardly and forwardly compatible. Whatever the systems employed, the paramount consideration is to provide image quality that can be measured on a repeatable basis and will meet the expectations of the discerning user and the professional commissioning engineer.

In this way, system designs and installations should never need to come under the critical, eagle eyes of the expert witnesses! Tavcom’s consultants will not mind losing that strand of business if systems are working efficiently for the benefit of people and property.

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article click here.

To read from the beginning of the Tavcom posts click here.

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,

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.

HD can improve the quality of CCTV

November 5, 2009

Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the next part of his response to Controlware’s Mark Harraway argument that IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems. 

In the face of this Beauty and Beast IP conundrum there is a very strong case for enterprising suppliers and integrators to provide hybrid security solutions for their clients. Cost effective systems can be deployed – and sensible Operational Requirements achieved – by using the best of the client’s existing equipment whilst bringing the control and management of the scheme ‘bang up to date’.

For example, I am aware of the new technology from JVC that enables the use of High Definition (HD) cameras across existing coaxial cable runs and produces quite stunning real time pictures of 25 to 30 images per second over 500 metres or so. This sort of innovative design thinking will save the user thousands of pounds, dollars or yen because, when using this system, there is only a need to upgrade to HD technology when the picture quality being produced by conventional cameras fails to meet a specific need.

HD is upon us and it will be commonly available in the 16:9 format in the blink of an eye. That, of course, means we will require even MORE bandwidth for IP solutions, even more storage space for the recorded images although – if we don’t compress or manipulate the CCTV images any more than we do nowadays with the resultant alarming reduction in picture quality – there will certainly be a marked improvement in imagery!

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article click here.

To read from the beginning of the Tavcom posts click here.