Published on 17 February 2009
|The new control room includes 18 32-inch plasma monitors and a further 12 22-inch monitors|
With rapidly escalating costs making the use of on-site security guards increasingly unattractive for many businesses, Crown Security Group
of Port Talbot has, for some time, been working with Siemens Building Technologies
to develop a sophisticated security service based on remote monitoring.
This service - RedAlert - already easily surpasses the effectiveness of traditional on-site guards, yet the recurring costs are typically around one-tenth of those associated with the guards. As a result, the service is proving so popular that Crown Security has recently invested more than £500,000 to equip a brand new control centre to support the growth in demand.
In addition to SISTORE digital recording and video switching equipment from Siemens, the new control room includes 18 32-inch plasma monitors and a further 12 22-inch monitors. The control room was designed to meet the specific requirements of Crown Security, and Siemens was responsible for the supply, installation and commissioning of all major items of equipment.
The new control room operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is currently used to monitor 500 remote sites, to which it is linked by broadband Internet connections. It has sufficient capacity for monitoring a further 500 sites, and provision has been made for the future addition of a second control room adjacent to the first. This will also have capacity for monitoring up to 1,000 sites.
In addition to intensive CCTV monitoring of client sites, the RedAlert service also uses live audio feedback equipment supplied by Toa Corporation, which delivers a crystal clear message from the control room directly to the potential miscreants. This has so far proved effective in all cases to deter criminal activity.
In fact the service is routinely achieving impressive results, not all of which directly relate to traditional security activities. One client, for example, has achieved productivity gains worth £250,000 per year by acting on information provided by the monitoring service about inefficient working practices. Another was able to successfully defend a £100,000 insurance claim by using video recordings from the system to show incontrovertibly that the claim was based on an inaccurate description of the events that had taken place.
More directly related to security were the problems of a fastener supplier whose business premises had been broken into so many times that he could no longer get insurance cover at any price. Shortly after the RedAlert system was implemented, the control room operators spotted an intruder and alerted the police who arrested him in less than seven minutes! The premises have since been crime free, and insurance cover has been reinstated.
"The Siemens equipment gives us an efficient, flexible and dependable platform on which to base our service," said Alun Evans, Managing Director of Crown Security Group, "and we're delighted with the results the equipment enables us to deliver, as are our clients. However, we are continuing to work closely with Siemens on more developments, and we anticipate that, in the very near future, the fruits of this collaboration will enable us to make further enhancements."
The key is the use of advanced video analytics to alert control room operators instantly to suspicious activity at any of the sites being monitored. A leader in the field of video analytics for security applications, Siemens is already able to provide these facilities for CCTV installations where monitoring is carried out off site. The high data rates involved mean that applications that rely on remote monitoring via a standard broadband link can be provided.
"Advanced video analytics is way ahead of ordinary motion detection," said Alun Evans. "It detects unusual activity exceptionally reliably, and yet it is virtually free from generating false alerts, even under difficult conditions such as an outside camera operating in severe weather conditions."
"This not only means that the attention of control room staff is quickly and reliably drawn to potential problems, but also that the same number of staff can monitor a larger number of sites. Now that the new system is available, we will be able to offer an even more competitive service to our clients, while further improving on our already industry-leading results."
The effectiveness of Crown Security Group's RedAlert remote monitoring service has been recognised by the police service, major insurers and consultants as well as by the company's clients. This clearly shows that, with the latest equipment in the right hands, CCTV-based remote monitoring is now a practical, dependable and affordable alternative to the traditional security guard.
Alun concludes: "This development from Siemens is far superior to anything else on the market and in my opinion will change the face of security for ever. Cameras which are linked back to a control centre utilising a high standard of motion control is the future for security".