When the University of Bath decided it was time to upgrade the campus security, CCTV was clearly recognised as having a big part to play.
"The challenge was to find a video management system which could give us complete control over the cameras already in place whilst giving us unlimited expansion potential," said Brian Schofield, Head of Security Services. "We also needed a system which could integrate and interact with our access control system in order to get maximum benefit from our security systems."
The University put the project out to tender although no specific product or technology was specified. The University was looking for an installer who could demonstrate that they had the experience and expertise to design, install and maintain a complex system.
CDS Ltd was one of the installers invited to tender. "We were determined to win what we consider to be a very prestigious project," said Andrew Williams CDS's Operations Manager. "We therefore invested the time to really understand what the University required now and for the future, and then set about researching the best possible solution."
CDS's research lead them to Sunbury on Thames based Vigilant Technology. "Vigilant was chosen because they had the ideal solution to be able to record images from the existing CCTV cameras whilst offering unlimited expansion to include further standard cameras as well as the very latest IP cameras," added Andrew Williams.
The University currently has 100 cameras located across the two hundred acre campus and there are plans to add more in the near future.
"The Vigilant ‘hybrid solution' which we designed takes advantage of a number of Vigilant modules. As such it can deliver the flexibility that the University requires by working with both analogue and digital cameras," said Andrew Williams.
At the heart of the video management system are Vigilant Xstream servers, chosen for their high performance. Xstream were able to match CDS's system design requirements i.e. a server which could deliver ‘live' real time images (25 images per second) whilst recording at 4CIF. The Xstream servers are monitored in the University's CCTV control room using Vigilant NetView Virtual Matrix for live image display and management, and Vigilant Viewstations for playback.
Additional Xstream servers have been installed in buildings around the campus. These work in conjunction with Vigilant's Remote Viewer system to empower other University departments to have access to live images as well as playback video from specific groups of cameras. This is achieved on standard PCs using very little bandwidth.
To complete the video management system, CDS have installed a Vigilant NETVR Network Video Recorder which enables the University to seamlessly view and record video from both IP cameras and analogue cameras.
"Looking at the equipment list, you could mistakenly think that the system is very complicated," said Andrew Williams. "Despite its complexity, the system is in fact very easy to learn to use and operate, not only for the operators in the CCTV room but also for those members of staff in other departments who are authorised to have access to the video.
With approximately 12,000 students and 2,650 staff potentially on campus at anyone time, creating a safe, crime free environment is high up on the University's priority list. Brian Schofield added: "Having an easy to use CCTV system is proving a major benefit. It is so helpful to be able to look at live images easily and without fuss and if necessary, retrieve previously recorded images if and when an incident occurs."