Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman is a vast urban region encompassing the cities of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. It stretches along 184 kilometres of the coastline of the United Arab Emirates and is the fastest growing urban area in the entire region. A combined population of approximately 3.25 million makes it one of the top 10 Arab urban areas by population and the region’s $100 billion economy makes it Arabia’s eighth largest. The area also includes some of the most prominent universities in the region, including the American Universities of Sharjah and Dubai and Ajman University of Science and Technology.

The National Charity school

The National Charity School sits close to Dubai International Airport, overlooking the nearby Dubai Creek. The school is the centre of education for about 5,600 pupils and has been in operation since 1983. It’s a co-educational establishment, providing education from Grade 1 to Grade 12 to pupils in the age range five to 17 years.

As a charity school it takes pupils primarily from economically disadvantaged backgrounds that are unable to afford private education. Despite the relative lack of family wealth, the school’s aim is to provide first-class educational facilities and learning resources for the students in order to enable academic excellence and examination excellence.

Ensuring safe transport

Drawing pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds over such a wide area has given rise to transport problems and the school recognised that providing all their pupils with safe, secure transport was a top priority. Additional impetus was provided by the notoriety of the roads around Al Garhoud, which are taking ever higher levels of traffic with an associated rise in the number of accidents.

To ensure convenience and protection for all pupils, the National Charity School has recently invested in a school bus fleet. Parents were asked for a nominal fee and in return, the school has provided 100 modern air-conditioned buses.

Conscious of their responsibility to ensure safe transport, the school turned to a local specialist company - Al Arabia Technical Supplies and Contracts LLC – to install reversing camera systems into the entire fleet and a comprehensive CCTV system into the largest 60 buses.

“At a first glance the project appeared to be simple,” says Sabri Alkhawaja, Integration Manager at Al Arabia Technical Supplies and Contracts LLC. “The primary requirement was that each of the 60 large buses, whether single- or double- decker, had to be equipped with sufficient CCTV cameras to ensure that all access doors and seating areas were monitored. In addition, all of the buses were to be fitted with external cameras, together with a monitor visible to the driver, for safer manoeuvring and reversing. And, naturally, all of the selected equipment had to be robust enough to cope with the harsh operating environment.”

"The installation process was relatively easy and straightforward and the safety of the pupils who use the school buses has been secured"

Al Arabia Technical Supplies and Contracts was certain that its specialist knowledge and experience within the school transport sector would enable it to combine the latest in CCTV technology with the necessary hardened installation. However, the integration team faced a major problem. Every bus had to be surveyed for camera siting and all the equipment ordered and installed in just 2 months.

The 100-bus solution

Within the two month deadline, Al Arabia Technical Supplies and Contracts installed 240 Hikvision DS-2CE5582P IR Dome Cameras, 60 Hikvision DS-8104HMFI-T Mobile DVRs and 100 LCD monitors across the 100-bus fleet. “Harsh environmental issues of vibration, dust and rapidly-changing extremes of temperature had to be faced by all the pieces of equipment we selected for the project,” says Sabri Alkhawaja. “This was particularly the case for the Hikvision DS-8104HMFI-T Mobile DVR that was at the core of the mobile CCTV surveillance system in the 60 large buses. Each receives video feeds from two or three cameras, depending on the bus type, and is equipped with dual SATA HDDs or SSDs, a built-in GPS module, 3G connectivity, a redundant power supply and power-off protection. Importantly, the DVR is capable of being powered by a DC voltage between 6V and 36V, ideal for all vehicle and other mobile applications, and also provides 12V and 5V DC outputs to drive cameras and other associated equipment. In practice, all 60 have performed faultlessly.”

Of the 240 cameras, 100 were matched with LCD monitors for reversing and external viewing applications. The remaining 140 cameras were positioned to meet the requirement to monitor all doors and seats – three being used in each of the double-decker buses and two each in the single-deckers.

“The DS-2CE5582P IR Dome Camera is ideal for this type of installation.” says Sabri Alkhawaja. “The IP66 rating allowing it to be used internally or externally and the 12V DC supply is ideally matched with the Mobile DVR. Together with a 20m IR range, true day and night operation and good resolution from the large image sensor, this camera also has the capability to provide high quality video of all the areas surveyed. Finally, the extremes of temperature encountered in the Gulf are not a problem, since it will operate in temperatures as high as 60 °C and as low as -40 °C.


“The new CCTV systems have proven an immediate success,” according to Sabri Alkhawaja. “The installation process was relatively easy and straightforward, which was extremely useful given the tight timescales, and the safety of all the pupils who make use of the school buses has been secured.

“Hikvision responded rapidly to our requests for information and in equipment delivery. Importantly, all the equipment we selected for this project has stood up really well to the harsh environmental challenges of vibration, dust and changing temperatures – and children!”

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