Thailand's palm-fringed beaches are a magnet for tourists and, at Pattaya Beach, a sophisticated network of surveillance cameras is helping to ensure that visitors have a holiday to remember - for all the right reasons.
The main beach at Pattaya, on the South China Sea just a couple of hours from Bangkok, is a majestic three-kilometre curve of white sand shaded with palm trees. Unscathed by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Pattaya is one of Thailand's liveliest resort holiday playgrounds. Its beach, backed by hotels, restaurants, department stores, gift shops and nightclubs, is a favourite destination for locals and tourists alike.
So, when Pattaya's City Hall recently re-developed the area, creating a park-style paradise with paved walkways, shady groves and inviting seating, it was natural to consider the benefits of 24/7 security and the Pattaya Beach Monitoring Project commissioned a sophisticated CCTV system.
Mr Kitisak Aramrueng, a consultant for the project, said: "Pattaya tourism protection, and anything that helps tourists to feel that little bit safer is welcome. We want our tourists to feel as secure as possible.”
"Additionally, of course, the cameras deter criminals. And when it comes to those few criminals who are still tempted by tourist dollars to turn to crime, the cameras can be used to help identify them and track them down."
Vanderbilt Solaris Dome system
The Pattaya Beach Monitoring Project assessed several security providers and chose Vanderbilt (a Vanderbilt business) to supply the solution they wanted. "Reliability is key for us, and we know that Vanderbilt has an excellent reputation for that and being a European manufacturer helped," explained Mr Aramrueng Kitisak. The Vanderbilt Solaris Dome system was the solution of choice for the Monitoring Project. The system's unique levels of accuracy, speed and configurability appealed strongly.
"We liked the fact that Solaris is easily connected to an existing IP system, that its specification is extremely high, and installation and maintenance are quick and effective," explained Mr. Aramrueng Kitisak. For the Pattaya Beach Project, an additional merit of the system is that - tested to IP67 as it is - Solaris is able to resist the potentially harsh environmental conditions, such as wind and salt, of a seashore location. In all, Vanderbilt installed a total of 44 Solaris domes, along with 16 of Vanderbilt's more conventional "pan and tilt" security cameras, controlled from a security control centre and four sub-control rooms.
Vanderbilt dome features
In a sensitive environment like Pattaya Beach, Vanderbilt domes were seen to offer a good compromise between style and performance: they are small enough to blend into the background, but large enough to allow for an increased zoom range of up to 18:1, an integral telemetry receiver, and day/night automatic switching option.
Other features are equally innovative. The XTU (External Termination Unit) enables users - and installers - to set up the dome easily and accurately, using the LCD panel and a range of intuitive menus. One of the main advantages for busy Pattaya Beach was that the XTU can be positioned on a wall or at ground level for immediate access, eliminating the need to cordon off the dome to access the actual dome head unit.
"The equipment functions are very effective and the intuitive nature of the control systems has been very useful"
Underneath the contemporary styling of the dome's cover is a fully-featured camera unit that puts its operator in full control. Under manual control, pan and tilt speed is proportional to the degree of zoom, allowing suspicious characters to be inspected and tracked. A 360°/s top speed means near-instantaneous response to alarms.
Enhanced beach security
A year on from the initial installation and the Pattaya Beach Monitoring Project is certain that the beach remains as secure as possible. "Everyone who uses the beach, both tourists and local people, appreciates that CCTV helps to secure the area for its most important use - to help people relax, whether they're on holiday or taking a break," said Mr Aramrueng Kitisak. "Technically, the system's operation has been excellent.”
"The equipment functions are very effective and the intuitive nature of the control systems has been very useful. There is also the fact that the modular systems can be readily expanded or upgraded if our requirements change in the future.”
"The quality of images that has resulted from surveillance has been very good, which has impressed the police in particular. They tell us that troublemakers who are known to them are avoiding the beach, because it is under surveillance. Vanderbilt's technical advice and assistance has been second to none. The company has been a valuable partner - the most valuable partner - on the project. Their support and service are excellent."
On the strength of the results to date, the Pattaya Beach Monitoring Project is now planning a next phase of CCTV installations in its area - using Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt equipment.