When a major UK Shopping Centre was looking to overhaul its security system, installers KCR recommended the Digital Sprite from Dedicated Micros.
The Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill, Surrey, is a massive complex that includes 50 shops and restaurants and welcomes around 25,000 shoppers a day. As with most multi-store complexes, the Belfry is open for longer hours than most high street stores - until 8.00 pm some evenings. The existing VCR-based system could no longer meet the stringent requirements for a state of the art, reliable security system.
Says Graham Beswick, Operations Manager at the Belfry Shopping Centre: "With Christmas and of course the January sales on the way, we are expecting around 1.8 million shoppers to visit the centre over the next three months.
"Our security system must be able to provide the safest possible environment so that everyone can enjoy shopping and retailers will enjoy working here - and will come back time and time again. Furthermore, we want the retail outlets that are based here to be satisfied with the security we operate - and we're always looking to attract new retailers."
KCR (UK) Ltd are specialists in retail and shopping centre security. Working closely with the security team at the Belfry, they opted for two 16-way networkable Digital Sprite digital multiplex recorders from Dedicated Micros. Says Chris Browne, Sales Manager at KCR: "We were obviously looking for a digital system for this modern complex and the DM model actually exceeded our expectations.
"We've evaluated various digital options and found the best overall solution was to link two Digital Sprite digital multiplex recorders to an intruder alarm system, seventeen Pelco dome systems and 31 fixed cameras.
"We've set it up to provide an intelligent response system for night time break-ins: when the alarm is triggered, the relevant dome revolves instantly and automatically towards the action and the system records the incident in real time.
"These 'incident' images recorded overnight are then emailed automatically to the security team's central PC so they can view any activity first thing in the morning. These images are also sent directly to the centre manager's PC so he can put together a response or a damage limitation programme immediately.
"The system is fully networked, enabling the live images to be viewed directly by three designated staff from their PCs - they simply have to click on an icon to gain access to the network. This does not merely allow viewing of images, it also enables cameras to be selected and controlled remotely.
"Furthermore, image quality is so good that, through careful camera positioning, we get a recording of everyone that enters the centre through any one of the entrances - and, if necessary, can track their movements through the entire centre, from their car right through to the shops."
Graham Beswick at the Belfry Shopping Centre continues: "We've found this system extremely easy to use. We looked at other digital systems but found them much more complicated to get to grips with, whereas the DM menu-driven approach was very straightforward - yet delivered high quality performance.
"In addition, we no longer have the hassle of video tape management. The digital system removes the need to constantly change tapes, instead capturing all data on the hard drive which we can easily find and should we need to.
"Pauline Norstrom, Marketing Communications Manager at Dedicated Micros comments: "For large scale applications such as the Belfry Shopping Centre, the networking option on this digital system really comes into its own."
"Having the facility to automatically email alerts not just to the security team but also to the management to advise of a potential problem is a key product strength."