One of Europe’s largest utilities operators is upscaling the reach and capability of its Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) by using command and control technology to enable centralised security monitoring and management of its national network of sites and assets. The integrated, interoperable solution developed and deployed by Synectics using its Synergy 3 platform, will enable the organisation to monitor and control vital security and safety systems from more than 60 diverse sites. These sites will include manned facilities, unmanned sub-stations, and Category 5 sites critical to national infrastructure requiring the highest levels of protection. One of Europe’s largest utilities operators is upscaling the reach and capability of its Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) Open architecture capability Synergy 3’s open architecture capability integrates data inputs from a multitude of site-based systems such as emergency alarms, sensors, analytics, perimeter detection, audio call points and access control. Pairing this system data with GIS mapping and video footage from Synectics’ COEX and third-party cameras, gives ARC operatives a real-time, geographically accurate view of any anomalous event detected, and the immediate ability to investigate the situation visually through automated camera prioritization. Interoperable control via the Synergy 3-driven solution enables the ARC-based operators to take rapid action in response to unfolding events or incidents, for example cutting power, changing the voltage to perimeter fences, unlocking areas to aid rapid evacuation, locking down zones to prevent intrusion, or controlling lighting. The system also enables staff in the control center to speak directly with colleagues at the site via audio point systems. Synergy 3’s open architecture capability integrates data inputs from a multitude of site-based systems Evidence locker functionality Any data received or actioned – either through automation or manual input – is securely logged for an authenticated audit trail in line with industry regulations. The evidence locker functionality ensures that all footage, data, and metadata associated with incidents is captured, encrypted, and securely stored should it be needed. Given the sheer scale and geographic spread of the sites covered, network and bandwidth capacity was a consideration to be addressed. Synectics has configured the solution to adapt to changing priorities, incorporating smart recording and data streaming to minimise network and bandwidth load. High quality video recording At the source, all video is recorded at a high-quality frame rate and then scaled down for satellite transmission to the ARC. However, if an event/alarm is detected, the system automatically reverts to the superior frame rate to ensure real-time review can take place. The evidence locker functionality ensures that all footage, data, and metadata associated with incidents is captured The solution developed for the customer had two distinct goals in mind; organisational efficiency and operator support as Brett Longley, Technical Sales Manager at Synectics, explains. “For a project of this scale, delivering heightened situational awareness through systems integration is essential. However, just as important is the understanding of business priorities which has enabled us to ensure that operators at the ARC have the processes in place to protect such a vast number of sites.” Incident database “As part of the system design, we worked closely with the customer to create a database of rules for specific types of incidents in line with their standard operating procedures. With this database established, dynamic workflows were created to guide the ARC operators through the most appropriate next steps for any given scenario. These workflows ensure both rapid and consistent incident response which is crucial for high-security sites.” adds Brett Longley The Synectics solution also reflects the need to eliminate the potential for data loss or downtime. Multiple levels of redundancy have been built-in to remove any single point of failure, including hot swap technology, backfilling capabilities, and a ‘back-up ARC’ with full data replication. 20 locations integrate systems To date, Synectics has worked with the customer to integrate systems for over 20 locations and will work closely with the organisation’s in-house team to roll-out the remaining sites for an estimated project completion date of 2021.
An integrated surveillance and security management solution, developed and deployed by Synectics, is helping to improve staff and inmate safety at a major European Category A prison. The vast site, which houses over 750 inmates, comprises multiple buildings, including cell blocks, visiting zones, gym and exercise areas, and special focus zones, all of which are monitored by over 2000 cameras. A command and control solution was required that would allow operators to monitor and manage all cameras from a single location – the ECR (Emergency Control Room). The solution had to be capable of integrating with a wide range of third-party access control, security, and emergency systems operating across the prison estate that are designed to flag up staff and inmate safety risks – a key priority for the prison authority.Synergy 3 is designed to integrate with a wide range of ONVIF-conformant systems and devices Multi-site monitoring The end-to-end Synergy 3-driven solution developed by Synectics gives security personnel located in each block 24/7 access to video footage and ensures that overarching control is only allowed by operators based in the central ECR. Here, footage from any camera located in any block is monitored, controlled, and reviewed in real time, with integrated GIS mapping displaying camera points, additional location-based data and live ‘field of view’ plotting on an exact site layout. Operators can simply point and click to immediately view live feed and control PTZ cameras directly from the map. Synergy 3 is designed to integrate with a wide range of ONVIF-conformant systems and devices. Hence, video footage can be paired with data inputs from other third-party systems to provide the prison with a comprehensive alarm monitoring and alert solution. Threat detection with body-worn alerts By connecting data from the access control system and information from body-worn emergency alerts, Synergy 3 can immediately flag up the location of a staff member and display footage from the nearest camera, allowing operators to undertake a visual assessment of any potential threat. The map-centric display, teamed with alert-triggered on-screen guidance workflows, ensures that the right support is dispatched to the correct location as quickly as possible.Synergy 3 removes the need to allocate specific blocks/areas to supporting inmates in need of help GIS mapping The GIS mapping capabilities of Synergy 3 also facilitates the prison’s ‘safer cells’ initiative that changes the level of support and monitoring assigned to an individual cell based on the inmate’s risk level. For example, if an inmate is suffering from mental health issues, they may require more frequent staff contact, observation, or in severe cases be assigned to suicide watch. Using Synergy 3, operators in the ECR can monitor any designated ‘safer cells’ and therefore activate/de-activate associated systems including in-cell surveillance, pill-hatch status, and audio logging of conversations with prison staff and from audio call points implemented in partnership with the Samaritans. In addition to supporting those inmates most in need of help, using Synergy 3 to activate safer cell features removes the need to allocate specific blocks/areas of the prison to this purpose, thus reducing situations where vulnerable prisoners might feel even more isolated. Emergency response through interoperability Synergy 3’s interoperability with other systems enables operators based in the ECR to engage precise emergency protocols should a threat be detected. For example, individual doors or whole zones can be locked down for incident containment. Conversely, should the need arise to evacuate a particular area quickly, access control can be overridden to create the fastest route to safety. Synergy 3's workflow feature also enables lights and power to be controlled in response to evolving scenarios, such as disabling lifts in the event a fire or if a hazard has been detected on a specific floor.With built-in redundancy functionality, coverage at the prison is guaranteed 24/7 360-degree surveillance While enhanced safety was an essential priority for the project, the Category A status of the facility requires the highest levels of security functionality from the surveillance solution supplied. By integrating and interrogating data from a wide range of systems, the Synergy 3 solution from Synectics delivers a 360-degree view of all site movement, activity, and alarms for complete situational awareness. For example, integration with the perimeter fence solution and video analytics generates alerts based on movement, touch, and approaching shapes for immediate review and action. And with built-in redundancy functionality, including server failover and hot-swap recording to eliminate any single points of failure, coverage at the prison is guaranteed 24/7. Together with Synergy 3’s operational and safety management capabilities, these features all help ensure that inmates, personnel, and facilities across the prison estate are supported and protected. Brett Longley, Technical Sales Manager at Synectics, said: “Prison facilities are no longer just about traditional security. This project demonstrates that a fully integrated surveillance solution delivers a wide range of safety measures benefiting inmates and staff and helps improve overall operational efficacy.”