|Surveillance operations proceeding swimmingly thanks to Milestone - Securitas|
Securitas-Milestone partnership a "win-win" for customers, too
After having used Milestone software in their alarm command centre for a year, video surveillance manager Andreas Sparrenblad at Securitas Alert Services in Malmö, Sweden, gives an inside look at their operations including integration with analytics.
A comprehensive solution
Securitas Alert Services, a division of Securitas, provides central alarm services for companies and government authorities in Sweden. They have a complete chain of services, from installation and maintenance of video surveillance cameras to dispatch of security guards - in addition to working with independent system integrators - a unique and innovative approach that has been the key to their success and made them a leader in the international security sector. Out of their 260,000 employees worldwide, a greater percentage comprises security guards.
Securitas has about 400 system integrators that make solutions for, among others, fire alarms, burglar alarms and GPS track-and-trace systems. Some integrators have their own customers and projects, and Securitas provides them with a security or surveillance framework that connects with their own. However, they don't always rely on external integrators; they often do security projects themselves by meeting with customers and starting from scratch.
The prime concern is perimeter protection and the protection of assets within the perimeter. To this end, Securitas Alert Services has more than 80,000 alarms connected to their monitoring stations in Malmö and Stockholm.
Securitas also prides itself on delivering a customer agreement that provides just the required function (what the customer needs), with minimal customer involvement in the technical and legal intricacies of an installation.
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Milestone integrates for system unity and operational efficiency
In the past, key customers approached Securitas with their own cameras, alarms and security systems - at some point up to 25 brands - which exacted an enormous toll on the company's efficiency which meant that operators had to be familiar with each individual system. When an alarm was triggered, it was often difficult to manage and to find the video that was related to the incident. In an industry where time is vitally important, this scenario was becoming increasingly untenable. With the Milestone open platform it became possible to integrate all these disparate and proprietary systems into one central overview, allowing operators to become familiar with a single user interface and to improve overall efficiency and response time.
"We wanted a platform in the alarm central that was stable and could connect to an open platform - could connect to several systems at customer sites... because we wanted to work with independent system integrators. After doing an investigation about a year ago, Milestone was the best platform at that time, and it still is. We have also had good cooperation, good support, and a scalable solution," says Andreas Sparrenblad.
One of the main reasons Securitas chose Milestone was the ability to use third-party programs that are completely integrated with the Milestone platform. Among these are analytics programs like OPAX and Agent Vi, which provide intelligent video analysis on the perimeter, under conditions where constant human monitoring is not always possible. Securitas uses Agent Vi for people counting, car counting and grouping rules that check for loitering. OPAX is used for perimeter protection. Integrations often involve access systems and burglar alarms. It is essential that monitoring on all sites is automatic and has as few alarms as possible so guards are not sent out unnecessarily. In this respect, analytics integrations have been invaluable and indispensable investments.
Securitas has streamlined their services by using as few brands as possible to be more efficient. They chose Axis as their main camera brand, and since Securitas has been in operation for a long time, old analogue cameras are still used on some sites. However, the scalability and flexibility of Milestone software means that newer digital models can still be added with ease, and analogue camera output is simply run through a video encoder.
"We now have a system that can connect 1000-10,000 cameras, so it saves a lot of time. It used to be a big discussion about what to buy, what it will cost, how to do it - now it's measurable, we can see how much less time installations take," says Sparrenblad.
Securitas buys its video management software only from Milestone, and one of the benefits of this has been that cooperation and partnership is constantly improving.
"We can have our applications custom made if needed. We give Milestone valuable feedback. It's a win-win situation for us and for the customers."
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