Somerset Mall in South Africa’s Western Cape Province has become the first shopping mall to make the transition to IP CCTV surveillance. Working with local systems-integrator, SSC Infrasek, Somerset Mall has installed 130 Hikvision network cameras to protect the safety of visitors and stores alike throughout the complex, the third-largest shopping centre in the province.

The scenic splendour of South Africa’s Western Cape Province has long attracted visitors. Millions of tourists flock to visit Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, Robben Island – where the late Nelson Mandela was incarcerated – and enjoy the Cape Winelands and the beautiful coastline. But, as the fourth largest of South Africa’s nine provinces with a population of almost 6 million, visitors with business in mind are also plentiful in the capital, Cape Town.

The town of Somerset West on the outskirts of Cape Town is ideally situated for commuters and visitors. Lying in the Helderberg basin with a view across the bay to Simon’s Town and Cape Point, and overlooked by the Hottentots-Holland mountain range, approximately 55,000 people call it home and welcome tourists to the beachfront and numerous golf courses. Both can also take advantage of Western Cape’s third largest shopping centre – Somerset Mall.

Bigger challenges

First opened in 1993, Somerset Mall is on the N2 Freeway that connects Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and Durban. It’s an ideal position to attract visitors and since its first opening the mall has seen numbers continue to climb. Two separate expansion phases have taken place and Somerset Mall now houses 204 stores extending over more than 1.3 km, all with single level access. Parking is also similarly extensive, with a total of 4,500 parking bays of which approximately 700 are undercover.

Alongside the stores, the most recent expansion of Somerset Mall has also seen it expand to encompass an Adventure Arena. This is dominated by a spectacular double climbing wall with views of the Helderberg mountains, but the Adventure Arena also includes a 10-pin bowling alley, a games arcade and an 8-screen movie complex.

As a result, the successful complex now attracts an average of 200,000 visitors per week. However, the CCTV security system had not kept pace with the growing numbers of visitors and shoppers and the Mall’s management realised that enhancing the level of security was vital. They turned to systems-integrator SSC Infrasek for a solution.

New IP system

The wide range of cameras and options available to us meant that we could select the right camera for the job without compromising the design objective"

According to Mario Groenewald, technical manager at SSC Infrasek, “When we looked at the entirety of the security challenges facing the Mall, we quickly realised that simply supplementing the existing analogue system was not going to work. The expansion of the shopping precinct to 1.3 km of storefronts together with the new Arena and extensive car parks had stretched the old system almost to its limits. Increasing levels of surveillance in the pedestrian areas and in the extensive car parks was a priority and we were also conscious that the mall is very innovative and successful in attracting visitors to its unique blend of attractions. Therefore, further expansion of the site is quite likely and any proposed CCTV system would have to be capable of coping with this expansion.

“Having been tasked with implementing a comprehensive CCTV system to maintain security throughout the whole complex, we decided that the only realistic solution was to replace the whole of the existing analogue system with a fully IP CCTV system, based upon 130 Hikvision network cameras supplied through their local distributor, Sensor Limited.”

According to Mario, the choice of Hikvision technology was based on a number of factors. “The wide range of cameras and options available to us meant that we could select the right camera for the job without compromising the design objectives. We had also used Hikvision products in other projects and found them to be robust and reliable, delivering very high-quality images whilst remaining cost-effective. Finally, Hikvision has successfully delivered many similar projects around the world and offered us great support all the way from system design through to implementation.”

Maximum protection inside

For the inside of the mall, SSC Infrasek chose DS-2CD7153-E the network mini dome camera, which offers many features that make it ideal for the surveillance of an area like Somerset Mall where image quality and a robust build quality are key priorities.

Inside the vandal proof IP66 rated housing, the camera is based around a large 1/3” progressive scan CMOS image sensor, offering 2 megapixel HD resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels), dual real-time video streams of up to 720p, and offers a choice of H.264, MPEG4 and MJPEG video compression. The DS-2CD7153-E model is fitted with a bright 4 mm F1.8 lens, although 2.8, 6 and 8 mm versions are also available, and offers a wide 68 degree viewing angle. The unit also offers three axis adjustments at installation and Hikvision’s ePTZ capability for increased viewing control and versatility. The result is a camera that delivers outstanding images while withstanding the rigours of a very public placement.

Image quality was paramount, but protecting the camera from any environmental factors was considered closely

A total of 100 DS-2CD7153-E models were installed throughout the interior of the mall.Versatility is also offered in placement of the camera courtesy of the PoE feature. Meanwhile, the inclusion of day/night automatic switching and multiple alarm triggers, including motion detection, tampering alarm, network disconnect, and IP address conflict, give installers and users maximum flexibility.

SSC Infrasek opted to install 30 Hikvision DS-2DF1-518 PTZ network high speed dome cameras to protect the outside of the mall and the 3,800 outside parking spaces. Again, image quality was paramount but protecting the camera from any environmental factors was considered closely.

At the heart of the DS-2DF1-518 is a powerful 36x F1.8 zoom lens that take just 5.4 seconds to go from wide open to fully zoomed. Augmented with 16x digital zoom, this bright 3.4 - 122.4 mm lens is backed up by with a 1/4’’ Sony Super HAD CCD image sensor inside a tough, weatherproof IP66 housing.

This combination of 36x zoom, 3D intelligent positioning and the powerful built-in PTZ control means that operators can maintain surveillance over very large panoramas whilst retaining the ability to focus effortlessly on any area of interest. The camera also integrates an IR cut filter, for seamless day and night operation down to a minimum 0.2 lux in colour and a very low 0.02 lux in black & white.

Building success into the future

“The successful implementation of South Africa’s first IP surveillance solution in a shopping centre environment is an impressive demonstration of SSC Infrasek’s design and implementation expertise that is set to bring in more IP projects in the coming months,” according to Mario Groenewald.

“It is also an expression of Hikvision’s commitment to producing the most technologically advanced cameras and making them available to every market in the world,” he concludes.

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