Location: Oxford University
Requirement: Student security and continuous monitoring of college premises
Solution: Intruder monitoring and access control, using HD CCTV and digital recording
Our long-term relationship with Oxford University allowed us to recommend the upgrade of security systems to the latest standard, offering greater levels of security and less time-intensive security monitoring. The client also expressed a desire to reduce the college’s carbon footprint if possible. In order to fit within the college’s available budget, we planned a phased development.
Phase one included the replacement of the analogue Digital Video Recorders (DVR) with a digital server. This not only saved physical space but the system also used significantly less electricity, meeting the client’s requirement to reduce the college’s carbon footprint.
To allow the existing cameras to record to an IP server, we converted the signal from analogue to digital. We did this by fitting several 4-channel encoders which took the analogue BNC feeds from the cameras and output them with a single RJ45 IP network connector. This in turn was plugged into a network POE switch which powered the encoders.
Although no HD cameras were fitted during this first phase, the client immediately benefitted from better picture quality and enormously improved search and display facilities.
When the original system was installed, hard disk drives (HDD) were extremely expensive, with a 40Gb HDD costing many hundreds of pounds. Because of these storage limitations, it was necessary for DVRs to compress images to fit onto the smallest HDD possible. This compression, of course, compromised image quality. With the vastly reduced storage costs, multiple Terabyte HDD space makes the previous levels of compression unnecessary. With the new HDD system installed, the client was able to see recorded images which are the same quality as live images.
Previously, when an incident occurred, it was necessary for the client to review the DVR footage in real time. Fast-forwarding skipped periods of time, and may have resulted in the incident being missed. Given a three hour window when the incident occurred, it could take three hours to check the footage. With the new, advanced server software, the client is able to find what is being searched for within 6 clicks of a mouse, often less. Finding an incident and saving it for future evidence now takes minutes rather than hours.
During phase two we replaced several key cameras at the entrances to the college with HD cameras. For minimum disruption and for maximum cost-effectiveness, we re-used existing coaxial cable to carry the HD IP feed to the server. These strategically placed HD cameras resulted in greater evidence capture, with faces and registration plates easily identifiable. Existing analogue cameras were, therefore, still of use – perpetrators who could not be identified at the crime location can simply be identified earlier or later on the HD camera footage as they enter or exit the premises.
Phases three and four saw all the remaining analogue cameras replaced with new HD cameras which, according to the seasoned security staff on site, deliver the best results they have ever seen. Photo quality images of perpetrators can be grabbed from the system and emailed to other colleges in seconds, preventing further crimes from being committed.
With the advances in technology, the costs of HD CCTV systems are dramatically lower than those of the old analogue systems. This makes the installation of highly sophisticated, efficient systems more cost-effective than ever.
Through the phased implementation, we were able to completely replace the client’s old analogue CCTV system with a state-of-the-art, high-definition system. Security operatives’ time in reviewing footage was saved, and electricity usage was reduced. This result was also achieved without a huge single investment, with budgeted costs spread over a period of time.
With over 37 years of experience, The Bloomfield Group has grown to be a leading specialist in the design, installation and maintenance of electronic security systems, often in the most demanding of environments. In recent years, our service has developed to include physical security, manned guarding and fire detection, allowing us to offer total security solutions. A strong management team with excellent technical and marketing experience, coupled with the use of cutting-edge technology, keeps us at the forefront of the security industry, ensuring that customers are offered the very best, most cost-effective solutions.
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