Since renovation began in the 1990s, the Custard Factory in central Birmingham has grown into an important centre for the creative and digital industries, as well as a destination for leisure, retail and cultural activities. The 15-acre site, which in Victorian days was a pioneering centre for food and ingredients production, has been transformed into a thriving working community for hundreds of small businesses, benefiting from several phases of development. The Custard Factory now comprises multiple buildings in a vibrant city centre location, so the risks of petty crime must be planned for and the safety of users ensured.

Upgrading to IP and wireless technology

An ageing analogue video system at the Custard Factory was proving expensive to maintain and, without enough cameras, it was giving only limited coverage. An upgrade was needed but installation work had to take place without disruption to the many businesses at the site, so specialist integrator Unison Integrated Technology was asked to find the most suitable solution.

Latest video tech from IDIS was selected because it provided the best image quality

The latest video tech from IDIS was selected because it provided the best image quality, unrivalled usability and trouble-free installation with the ability to mix and match equipment. It also allowed existing infrastructure such as coax cabling to be incorporated, and by combining HD-TVI with the latest IP and wireless technology it enabled real-time monitoring in the control room without the need for complex and expensive civil works.

IDIS IP cameras

More than 60 new high-performance cameras have now been integrated into a leading-edge solution giving complete coverage of this diverse estate made up of the main Custard Factory Buildings, an open-air carpark, neighbouring external areas and the Fazeley studios.

To protect the carpark and external areas, including historic archways, a mix of cameras has been used, including dome cameras with IR LED and wide dynamic range giving coverage in all lighting conditions. All IDIS IP cameras also benefit from IDIS Smart Failover technology which ensures continued video capture in the event of network instability or failure.

DR-6316 H.265 NVR

Video is streamed to the control room via a SilverNet wireless link, yet crucially there is no latency or lag on the images. These cameras are connected to a DR-6316 H.265 NVR, supporting 16 channels that utilises IDIS Intelligent Codec to minimise bandwidth and storage requirements.

Thanks to IDIS true plug-and-play technology, Unison Integrated Technology installed new cameras without disruption

At the Fazeley studios, which includes both indoor and outdoor facilities, a combination of IP and analogue bullet cameras, PTZs and domes are used.  And at the Custard Factory main buildings, four PTZ cameras, two fixed domes and 25 bullet cameras are connected to IDIS’s powerful DR-8364D recorder, which supports up to 64 channels with a super-fast 900Mps throughput.

IDIS true plug-and-play technology

Thanks to IDIS true plug-and-play technology, Unison Integrated Technology installed the new cameras without disruption or any need to stop trading during the work, which included working around operational restaurants and shops.

At the purpose-built security control, room operators now have a complete view of the site, allowing them to replace inefficient patrols on foot with more frequent video tours. And the free IDIS Center video management system (VMS) makes it easy to operate the new, enhanced system incorporating third-party cameras, the HD-TVI analogue devices and the latest IDIS IP tech.

High-resolution video surveillance

With the new surveillance system and improved lighting in place visitors feel safer, particularly walking to and from the car park after evening events. The ability of the security team to monitor events real-time and respond to health & safety incidents is appreciated by event organisers using the Fazely venue. And police have been able to tackle petty theft more effectively thanks to the high-resolution video evidence which is now easily and quickly retrieved in order to tackle crime.

The IDIS technology fully delivered on our requirements for an affordable, high-quality surveillance solution"

The solution is flexible and scalable, with more cameras easily added as the Digbeth estate continues to evolve and expand. Custard Factory estate manager Simon Dunn says the upgrade has far exceeded expectations.

IDIS video security system

Simon says, “The IDIS technology fully delivered on our requirements for an affordable, high-quality surveillance solution covering our complete estate. The Unison engineering team delivered the project to the highest standard and they were considerate and respectful of our busy, live environment. I am very pleased with the result, both in terms of the quality of the images and the operation of the system, which is simple and effective.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?