New CCTV security solution for Hospitals NHS Trust

January 15, 2010

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust benefits from high quality digital recordings that are secure and easy to search through, the Hospital is also supported by external monitoring.

With a population exceeding 82,000 Runnymede Borough Council is committed to reducing the fear of crime and increasing public safety. To help meet these aims the council moved to a new purpose built 24 hour control centre in 2008. Across the Borough CCTV was upgraded to take advantage of digital transmission, management, recording and all the benefits that IP based surveillance systems can bring. Today Runnymede Borough Council’s control centre provides central operations for intruder and fire alarms, lone worker security, disaster recovery services and borough wide CCTV surveillance that record more than 20,000 incidents a year. Last year the Safer Runnymede system was honoured with Government Business magazine’s Public Sector Security award for delivering improved security services to the Borough. It is as part of Runnymede Borough Council’s continuous programme of development that the surveillance system at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals has been upgraded.

The council network includes a mixture of both analogue and IP cameras with numerous sites linked over Broadband. The hospitals are connected over Ethernet via a high capacity fibre backbone that consists of four fibre pairs connected back to the central control centre. Previously CCTV at the Hospitals was recorded to video tapes which required ongoing maintenance to keep changing the tapes in order to keep the system recording. Today the recording process is wholly digital, ruling out the possibility of losing recordings through human error and making instances such as tapes running out or not being swapped over in time a thing of the past. Working closely with installation partners Central Security Systems codec’s were installed to cost-efficiently encode video from more than 64 analogue cameras situated around the Hospital sites. The video is digitally recorded locally at the Hospitals but there is also a connection to the control centre so that operators and police can review archived video from any seven cameras at a time in the Borough Council control centre.

Community Safety Manager for Runnymede Borough Council, David Dodd said: “Controlware continue to support us with the extension of the network to provide advanced IP video management, control and recording of CCTV from cameras situated across Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals sites.”

The new solution makes operation and maintenance much easier. The Hospitals are able to save costs by retaining investment in their existing 64 analogue cameras by using 16 channel codec’s instead of replacing their cameras. Access to archive video is faster, more secure and it is easier to search for specific incidents. Support for expansion of storage capacity and reliability is also assured as new cameras are added to the network and the Hospital’s recording requirements evolve in the future.

Staff, patients and visitors benefit from improved security thanks to fast access to recorded video at the hospital and remotely at the Borough Council control centre. This is a significant improvement on the previous system where video could only be monitored at the Hospitals, enabling extra resources to monitor the video. Time-consuming searches of multiple video tapes to look for specific incidents are also a thing of the past, saving time and improving operator productivity.

“Today operators in the Borough Council control centre can view both live CCTV and archive video of the Hospitals side-by-side and at the same time,” explains David Dodd. “Operators can therefore quickly review incidents while tracking suspects in real-time and this is a powerful tool which is already producing identifiable results”

Mark Harraway, Country Manager of Controlware said “The extension of the Borough Council system to Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals demonstrates the flexibility that IP based CCTV systems can deliver. Anyone who is looking to replace or upgrade their security solutions should consider IP as the only technology that can meet the quality, operational and future proofing requirements of today while addressing the challenges facing modern surveillance systems”.

For more information about how Controlware can help with CCTV security projects or if you would like to challenge Controlware to prove that IP CCTV can be just as cost effective or provide a better service than analogue,  please contact us at A downloadable pdf of the case study is available here.

A little CCTV knowledge is a dangerous thing…

December 1, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explains why a little CCTV knowledge is a dangerous thing.

There have been some interesting and conflicting industry comments regarding the Home Office Scientific Development Branch’s (HOSDB) newly proposed test targets; many welcome the new initiative, while a number of consultants point out that they could be ineffective in driving the uptake of manufacturers to show compliance for their equipment, although the test targets and the scoring system need further review to ensure that they meet their goals. What is clear is that we live in an evolving industry, which is trying to discover for itself a clearer sense of direction, and is crying out for leadership from our industry regulatory bodies to develop a comprehensive set of achievable benchmark standards across manufacturing, installation and maintenance in order to meet useable evidence requirements.

As the industry moves forward to IP-based solutions, consultants are placed in an unenviable position of being trapped between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. There is so much confusing and conflicting information in the marketplace and the industry is moving forward so fast it’s impossible for many consultants to keep up with the knowledge required to specify IP-based solutions.

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

The importance of vocational training for CCTV

November 11, 2009

Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the final part of his response to Mark Harraway of Controlware’s “Dont Go Hybrid”  article.

The security systems industry is one of exceptional challenge and reward. At Tavcom, we believe that the key to a successful future career in the sector lies with our special brand of vocational training – a careful blend and balance of classroom theory and ‘hands on’ practical experience that reinforces knowledge based learning. In a fast paced technological world we are not ashamed to state that some ‘old fashioned’ tried and tested methods of teaching still remain the best. In short, ‘Tell me and I will listen’, ‘Show me and I will observe’ and ‘Let me do it to demonstrate that I have learned’ are the maxims by which Tavcom’s team of experienced tutors continues to operate. Tavcom’s total independence of individual manufacturers or suppliers is fundamental to the success of training as students are able to observe and compare a selection of products side by side. This allows them to develop informed opinions of competing systems and support the choices and recommendations made within the workplace. In accordance with the sentiments expressed in this article, Tavcom’s policy is to utilise only equipment that is current and in general use – neither fully redundant nor excessively futuristic – for students to hone their skills.

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

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

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.