The Caisse d’Épargne banking group needed to cost-effectively extend the benefits of surveillance monitoring into 70 regional branch offices throughout France. The new surveillance system needed to meet the banks high expectations for security, reliability, and quality.
Up to three Axis network cameras were installed directly to the existing networks within each regional bank. Using standard frame relay protocol, the bank headquarters can access surveillance images from each regional office over a secure network.
A cost analysis of alternative surveillance systems revealed that an Axis-based network solution cost nearly 5 times less than any comparative CCTV solution. More than 180 Axis network cameras provide real opportunity to capture detailed photographic evidence of any criminal activity from over 70 regional banks. Staff are relinquished from the time consuming responsibility of changing and storing magnetic tapes. Bank employees appreciate the reassurance of a modern technology that extends remote surveillance access to the bank’s headquarters and security contractors during emergency situations.
“We are extremely pleased with the results. This is really just the start of our strategic migration from analogue CCTV to IP-Surveillance technology.” Mr Guy Kleiber, Chief Technical & Information Officer Caisse d’Épargne Bank, Val de France-Orléanais.
Discovering a CCTV alternative
With many of their regional branch offices already benefiting from the use of traditional analogue CCTV (closed circuit television) as a precaution against theft, armed robbery and fraud, the Caisse d’Épargne Bank investigated the extension of surveillance cameras to another 70 offices. In examining the costs, they quickly discovered a much cheaper and sophisticated alternative—in Axis network cameras.
Employing over 44,000 staff in over 450 banks throughout the country, Caisse d’Épargne serves an estimated 26 million customers, and is the third largest depository bank in France. Requiring the surveillance coverage of up to three strategically placed cameras within each branch office, the potential cost saving for the national rollout of cameras was considerable.
Mr. Guy Kleiber, Chief Technical and Information Officer at the Caisse d’Épargne Bank in Val de France-Orléanais, was the man initially charged with investigating the alternative surveillance solutions. With an emphasis on security, reliability, quality, and cost-efficiency, Mr. Kleiber analyzed the comparative costs of analogue CCTV against a modern IP-surveillance system. He concluded that a network camera solution from Axis would cost between 3.5 to 4.9 times less than any comparative analogue solution.
Life without tape!
Unlike analogue CCTV that requires dedicated cabling for every new camera installation, IP-surveillance systems utilize existing LAN topologies for video transmission to offer a quick and uncomplicated installation. However, it was the tangible savings associated with digital video storage - rather than convenient image transmission - that really enticed the Caisse d’Épargne Bank towards an Axis-based network solution.
CCTV is typically recorded onto large reels of degradable magnetic tape, which places huge demand on finding the physical space needed for tape archives. Furthermore, the tape drive assemblies used for recording surveillance images to the tape employ sophisticated pneumatic drive assemblies that are all too unreliable to maintain. The volatile nature of magnetic tape, combined with a necessity to house each tape drive within an expensive security enclosure, clearly makes analogue video inappropriate for any new surveillance system. Concerns over the general reliability of analogue tape were also compounded by some obvious difficulties regional banking staff experienced when changing tapes.
“Frequently preoccupied with an abundance of customer enquiries and other daily responsibilities, staff would occasionally forget to change tapes. This ultimately led to several security incidents not being recorded. It’s understandable, but from a security perspective, it was a clearly unacceptable situation”, explained Mr Kleiber.
Using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), the digital images produced by Axis’ network cameras are conveniently transmitted over an IP network onto computer hard disk-without any operator intervention whatsoever.
“With Axis network cameras we needn’t worry about maintenance or storage overheads. Our staff need no longer concern themselves with tapes” said Mr Kleiber.
Image storage over the network
The imaging specification for the new cameras was defined by Direction du Patrimoine Immobilier et de la Securité – the specialist security and building management team at the bank. In understanding that consistent image quality is vital for good object recognition, the group concluded that the new system must guarantee consistent image resolution at all times—regardless of any intermediate reductions in the network bandwidth. With this as a prerequisite, an imaging frequency of one image every three seconds would be more than sufficient for the purposes of identification.
“As AXIS 2100 Network Cameras are capable of delivering up to 10 standard JPEG images every second, meeting this comparatively modest specification was never going to be an issue”, explained Mr. Kleiber.
Apart from the operational benefits, banking staff also enjoy the reassurance of knowing that, in any emergency situation, the bank headquarters and security partners can access the surveillance images at anytime over the corporate network, using a standard frame relay protocol. Empowered with the ability to remotely monitor the front reception desk and keep a check on customer waiting queues – without leaving their offices – the regional bank managers are also very pleased with the new Axis system.
With digital images that can be posted into e-mail and many other security applications over the network, potential raiders can now rely on the bank’s efficiency in providing timely photographic evidence of their activities to local police authorities.
Just the beginning
With the trial of Axis network cameras successfully concluded within the organization, the full rollout of over two hundred AXIS 2100 Network Cameras is now well underway. Delivering high-quality images with the real opportunity of providing detailed photographic evidence of any criminal activity, the bank have been more than pleased with the speed at which the cameras have been installed.
“The speed in which we were able to install the new Axis network cameras was highly impressive. The cameras consistently provide high-quality digital images with the level of detail that is necessary for good recognition. We are extremely pleased with the results. And, with the next phase of the project now focused towards transmitting images from our existing analogue cameras over the network using AXIS 2400 Video Servers, this is really just the start of our migration strategy from CCTV to IP-Surveillance technology” commented Mr. Kleiber.