|Club's Grace Road ground deploys advanced CCTV and PA technology from Bosch Security Systems|
When Leicestershire County Cricket Club was looking for an upgrade to its existing CCTV system, it turned to local fire and security specialist Squirealarms Limited
. Squirealarms designed, commissioned and installed an integrated wireless CCTV and communications system for the club's Grace Road ground, featuring advanced CCTV and PA technology from Bosch Security Systems
Grace Road is a 6,500 capacity ground, which hosts all formats of the game at county level. It features two main buildings on opposite sides of the pitch; one of which houses the club's offices, hospitality areas and changing rooms, with the other home to the media centre and the Mike Turner Cricket Centre, an indoor cricket school.
For many years, security at the ground was served by a basic CCTV system linked to VHS tapes. In order to meet ECB and Police requirements, an upgrade to the system was needed, as Phil Atkinson, Operations & Compliance Manager, Leicestershire County Cricket Club explains: "The existing system was very basic, consisting of two cameras and VHS tape recorders. Reviewing any activity meant lots of fast-forwarding and rewinding of the tapes and consequently it was seldom used. The system was a cheap short-term solution to be compliant, but in fact the club was paying over the odds for the contract. An upgrade was desperately needed."
"In addition we had problems with the existing telephone lines. Understandably we didn't want to dig up the pitch for trenching, or the disruption of laying cabling around the group for either system, and so we decided to skip the manual cables and looked towards a wireless solution," says Phil.
The club sought the opinions of the existing telephone provider and several security companies but opted to work with Squirealarms, as Phil continues: "We're a small club with a limited budget, but still wanted professional services and a quality product. Squirealarms know the club well and best understood our requirements. Its ability to offer a complete solution was another bonus giving us one point of contact for the whole project."
Squirealarms worked with a specialist wireless provider to deliver the solution to the cricket club, as Managing Director, Richard Squire explains: "Using a wireless IP system was the obvious solution for the cricket club, negating the need for excess cabling and disruption to the ground. We deployed a carrier grade wireless network at the ground; this offered the most versatility, high bandwidth and high security whilst remaining cost effective."
"We designed the security solution using Bosch IP products, including Dinion and Autodome cameras and the Divar XF Digital Video Recorder. Alongside this a Bosch PA/VA system comprising Plena amplifiers and horn speakers has been connected to the wireless IP network to provide ground wide audio ability. They offer a quality product, fulfilling, ours and the club's requirements and giving it a future-proof solution," he says.
Squirealarms installed several Autodome cameras to cover the entirety of the ground, with two Dinion cameras also in action. The privacy masking function of the Autodomes ensures that neighbouring houses are hidden from the view of the camera to protect residents' privacy.
"The Bosch cameras were selected for their excellent picture quality, especially in low-lighting conditions..."
"The Bosch cameras were selected for their excellent picture quality, especially in low-lighting conditions," continues Richard. "They also feature dual-streaming technology, with the ability to record at high-speed while playing back at lower speed. And of course being wireless, the cameras could be placed where they provided the best coverage, rather than the best place for cabling access."
"Rather than a short-term fix we now have a long-term solution," continues Phil. "The cameras cover a great expanse, and being wireless it is easy to add to the system at a later date should we need to."
Images from the cameras are transmitted wirelessly to the control room, where on match day the Safety Officer can review recordings whilst monitoring live images. If the Safety Officer spots something amiss, he can radio to stewards at ground level to investigate. Outside of hours, the cameras are linked to motion detectors so that when the ground is empty and motion is detected they move to view the relevant preset scene.
The Divar XF DVR is also monitored remotely by Squirealarms. This enables an operator to view the site and speak directly to intruders via the PA system, or dispatch a mobile security guard unit in the event of any incidents.
The images are constantly recorded and stored for 30-days using the Bosch Divar XF DVR which uses H.264 compression to enable it to record high quality resolutions of up to 4CIF at 25 images per second on every channel. These images are easily downloadable onto a disk or a USB drive bearing a watermark.
"Already the benefits have been obvious," says Phil. "As the ground is situated in the middle of a residential area and has numerous access points, we previously experienced recurrent problems with kids and troublemakers at the ground, alongside more serious incidences of theft. Within the first few weeks, the cameras picked up on these problems and, with the images being easy to retrieve and clearly identifiable, where there were cases of theft there have been convictions as a result."
"We are working closely with the Police who are impressed with the system, even commenting that they have been to the area less since the system has been in place. The new CCTV system and the convictions are acting as a good deterrent to troublemakers entering the ground and to more serious crimes too - the word is getting out that the system is in place."
"We also opted for an audio facility through the Bosch Plena system and horn speakers, this enables us to broadcast a message to intruders when they are detected, or in the case of an evacuation to direct supporters to safety. We are delighted with the system, it is doing everything we hoped and more. Now that I've seen the technology in action I'm keen to add extra cameras beyond the original specification and thankfully this can be done easily with the wireless system."
"Previously the club always spent money on a short-term fix, which cost money in the long- term. It's obviously not always easy to invest in a quality product on a limited budget, but we have done just that with Squirealarms and Bosch technology. I feel confident that by investing in a quality product the investment is future-proof," Phil concludes.
Richard Squire agrees with Phil's last comment and adds, "We are satisfied with the solution we have deployed here, integrating wireless networking and Bosch IP Products and are delighted that our customer has a security solution that meets his requirements."