Perched on a beautiful peninsula just 7 nautical miles north-east of Sydney, Australia, lies the suburb of Manly. When Captain Arthur Philips, founder of the settlement of Sydney, first visited the area, he was apparently so impressed by the self-assured and manly behaviour of the local Aborigines that he named it Manly Cove, whence present day Manly derives its name.

A mere stone’s throw from the central business district, and with the stunning Northern Beaches region on its doorstep, this coastal municipality boasts a perfect combination of world-class surfing, heritage buildings, and a vibrant and bustling town centre. It is a highly attractive residential location and tourist destination alike, welcoming around 6 million visitors each year.

Famous for all the wrong reasons

However, in recent times, Manly had become famous for all the wrong reasons. The lively entertainment precinct is somewhat of a social hub, not only for locals, but also for holidaymakers, backpackers, and young people from the surrounding areas. In 2007, serious concerns about increasing levels of anti-social and violent behaviour, much of it alcohol-related, led Manly Municipal Council to install CCTV. After close consultation with the local police force to identify trouble spots, the reins were handed over to the council’s IT department who then developed the system. There are now more than 100 MOBOTIX cameras in place throughout the suburb. In a coastal area such as this, it would be simple to also monitor remote areas thanks to the MOBOTIX MxActivity Sensor firmware, which comes standard with every camera from the 4.1.6 firmware upwards.

In a coastal area such as this, it would be simple to also monitor remote areas thanks to the MOBOTIX MxActivity Sensor firmware

The low energy consumption and minimal bandwidth load of MOBOTIX cameras means that Ethernet cabling is usually all that is required to create a network and supply power, but  the Manly site was too large for such a solution. Instead fibre optic cable was laid to carry data back to the main NAS storage and PoE was provided by means of power injectors, mainly using lightpoles as an energy source. Wherever several cameras were installed in close proximity to one another, airbridges created a network between them, meaning a single fibre optic cable could carry signals from several devices.

A large network

"The main reason we chose MOBOTIX,” explains Kevin Shea, Systems Administrator at Manly Council, "is because the cameras needed to be able to withstand extreme conditions, such as high temperatures, torrential rain storms and the damaging salt air. And, because we are a government agency, we were also looking for an economical solution which could offer excellent image quality in all light and weather." MOBOTIX has delivered on all counts. Larger, high quality images are recorded using fewer cameras than traditional video solutions, and 7 years on, the cameras have proved to be extremely low maintenance and robust.

Managing such a large surveillance operation is simplified with MOBOTIX MxControlCenter (MxCC) video management software. Its user-friendly interface makes controlling and configuring cameras easy and offers a myriad of sophisticated post-processing and analysis possibilities, including MxCC’s time search facility. In just a few clicks footage from one, or several, cameras can be found and viewed. More importantly, the timeserver synchronisation used to achieve this meets court standards, so that the footage can be used as evidence and the superior quality of the high-resolution images maximises the chances of positive identification.

MOBOTIX technology has not only helped make the streets of Manly safer, it has also played a significant role in promoting the positives about the town

Beyond the call of duty

MOBOTIX technology has not only helped make the streets of Manly safer, it has also played a significant role in promoting the positives about the town. The high quality recordings have been used to market a diverse array of events, including the Christmas carols and the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing (AOS). Widely hailed as the birthplace of Australian surfing after Duke Kahanamoku of Hawaii brought his famous surfing exhibition to Manly in the summer of 1914/15, the AOS has really put the town on the international surfing map.

Modelled on the famous US Open of Surfing in Huntingdon, California, the festival of surfing, art, music, fashion, and skateboarding attracts upwards of 100,000 visitors and is a major highlight of the local calendar. “Constructing the festival site takes around 10 days, so we use the cameras to keep an eye on things whilst it is being built,” Kevin explains. “Also,” he adds further, “this year we gave the footage to the surfing festival promoters, who used it to make a time-lapse film of the construction.” A MOBOTIX camera is also keeping Manly’s tiniest residents safe from harm, watching over the only breeding colony of the endangered Little Penguin to be found on the NSW mainland.

Conclusion

Manly council have successfully implemented and managed a large-scale CCTV operation. Easy to install and configure, and low maintenance, the solution has been both economical and capable of weathering the harsh outdoor environmental conditions. MOBOTIX technology has played an important role in making Manly safer, and in protecting and promoting all that makes the place so special.

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