|D-Link was chosen for picture quality of its 2 Megapixel cameras and the end-to-end nature of the solution|
BT Business Direct and its sister company DABS.com are leading providers of IT equipment direct to business and consumers respectively. Part of the BT Group, BT Business Direct offers over 20,000 hardware and software products through its online store and direct sales force, aiming to be a one-stop shop for computing, networking, communications and support.
The company was moving its mid-market sales team from an older building it had outgrown to a custom-built office, completely refitted for the purpose, in Horwich, Bolton. The new building, called Alpha and Beta House, is home to all the sales and back-office support staff for the BT Business Direct operation. The site is on a commercial/retail estate, so easier for customers and staff to get to, with all amenities on site and well served by transport links. The building also serves as a reference showcase for customers wanting to see products in action.
Since Alpha and Beta House is a one-storey high building, security was an important consideration, and the company was looking for surveillance of the main reception area in different light conditions, plus internal surveillance around the office.
IT manager, Alex Davis, project managed the technical implementation of the IP cameras at the new building. He says: “Historically we’d always had analogue CCTV systems which the facilities team would look after, but over the last few years, more of the cameras are IP-based, so it was felt at this time the IT team would look after them.”
BT Business Direct issued an open invitation to a small number of preferred suppliers, asking how they would meet the brief. It quickly became obvious that D-Link had the best solution, both because of the picture quality of its 2 Megapixel cameras and the end-to-end nature of the solution it was proposing including cameras, network infrastructure, storage and software. In addition, its edge-of-network design means the impact on the network is minimised, and redundancy is built in.
|D-link's solution's edge of network design means the impact on the network is minimised, and redundancy is built in|
Initially, BT Business Direct came up with some suggested positions for cameras based on the new building’s floor plan. However, using the electronic PTZ function of the D-Link DCS-6616 cameras and changing the lenses to wide-angles, D-Link suggested replacing three cameras that were grouped together with one PTZ camera to survey the whole room. This reduced the cost of the overall solution, provided sharper coverage around the office, and meant Davis’ team had to scan fewer cameras in the event of an emergency.
“They reduced the number of cameras but repositioned those we had already thought about so we got better coverage,” says Davis. “We replaced two or three cameras with one single dome PTZ camera so we had control of the camera and if the alarms were sounded we could scan the area without having to look at multiple cameras at once.”
D-Link’s design of the solution sees DCS-6112 cameras connected to DNS-726-4 network video recorders, with a maximum of 9 cameras per unit. The recorders are networked on a VLAN, with all the benefits of improved quality of service, resiliency and full redundancy built in. If a single camera fails, a Samba client will record the video locally; if an NVR fails, the cameras can record to an alternative unit.
The NVRs are backed up to a DSN-3200 for storage, which can record up to 90 days of HD quality 720p resolution video locally, thus reducing the impact on network usage.
BT Business Direct was initially looking at using a third party piece of software for monitoring, but D-Link suggested using its own bundled DCS-100 software which can manage up to 32 cameras. The software is easy to use and with a couple of hours training, plus one follow-up visit, Davis and his team are fully confident in their use of the system. “They reduced the cost by bringing the system to be completely D-Link so that was good again from our point of view,” says Davis.
Based on positive experiences from this project, BT Business Direct is considering installing D-Link cameras in the national logistics centre in the future
The installation was also seamless. A third-party installer recommended by D-Link set up and configured the cameras in a matter of hours. “At the time there was a lot of building work going on,” says Davis. “We had all of the networking provisioned and already set up, so it was really as simple as installing the cameras, and plugging them onto the network. Then D-Link spent half a day configuring them so all the NVRs worked together, all the cameras connected to the NVRs in the right way and so on.
“It was a really simple process, not from a technical perspective, but from D-Link dealing with us, and the advice they provided, it all went seamlessly. As they agreed the points where the cameras were going to be, we had the power and cable points run in, so any camera that needed power and network points were all there ready to go.”
BT Business Direct now has full surveillance of the building for security, with remote monitoring. “We have put e-mail alerting on some of the cameras to let us know if there’s any motion detected during certain times of the day. But also if the alarm goes off it sends a signal to a number of people, then they can jump on the camera and have a look. We haven’t needed to use that but we’ve tested it and it all works.” If they need to, sales managers can connect via a helpdesk request and have playback of footage to look at what a person was doing at a particular time. This internal system can be used for checking on health and safety incidents such as someone tripping over, or should there be a customer complaint, managers can go back and look at the body language and behaviour of the sales representative at the time. “We don’t record voice but we can tie in with the phone system records, and we have a full picture from an HR point of view about what happened with that particular person at that time.”
According to Davis, the main benefit of the new system is the way it is implemented. “You’ve got one cable running back to one switch and it’s all remotely managed so there are no overheads on having the system. It’s just another network device. That for us is the main advantage.”
Based on positive experiences from this project, BT Business Direct is considering installing D-Link cameras in the national logistics centre in the future. “At the moment the national logistics centre CCTV is an aging system. We are looking the next 12 months to replace that. And why wouldn’t we put in a D-Link system?”