|It was essential to be able to recognise the details of the license plates of cars at the gas pumps
Ukrainian gas station chain parallel relies on German-made 390 IP cameras
Drivers in Ukraine are united by one thing: The Parallel and Gefest gas station chains that operate a network of 117 regions in the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk as well as in the Crimea. 116 convenience stores and 22 car wash facilities supplement the sale of fuel. Parallel-M LTD supplies other gas stations with natural gas and fuel in the business customer segment. The company was founded in 1995 with the construction of a gas station in Donetsk. It has developed into one of the largest networks of gas stations in Ukraine and has its sights set on further expansion.
Parallel has relied on analogue camera systems since day one to provide for sufficient security in the gas stations and stores. This involves monitoring the company’s numerous locations, including the outdoor and indoor areas of the offices and stores. "Our analogue video system eventually reached its limits early in 2010. It was just outdated technology," says Alex Y. Aksenov, Head of Security division at Parallel-M LTD. "It was no longer capable of satisfying the requirements of a modern security system."
Protection against theft
It was time to explore and evaluate new video solutions. Both systems from a Chinese manufacturer and the complete system from the German company MOBOTIX came under close examination. Unitop, a MOBOTIX distributor in Ukraine, won the contract to support the project. "The decision was based on the high-quality archiving options, the reliability of the systems and the high resolution of the cameras," explains Aksenov. "You can make out the serial number of a banknote at the checkout. The detailed resolution also provides valuable support to our anti-theft protection measures." For the outdoor installations, it was essential to be able to recognise the details of the license plates of cars at the gas pumps in order to deter fuel theft and identify and investigate culprits in a quick and efficient manner.
The simple installation was impressive from the outset, not to mention the fact that, thanks to the performance demonstrated by the camera, only a few components were required for a full-blown, highly effective system to secure a gas station. "The reduced need for maintenance and the associated savings are additional advantages," adds Aksenov. The first systems were installed at Gefest gas stations in eastern Ukraine in 2010. 55 Parallel-M locations were equipped with a MOBOTIX security system consisting of 390 cameras by mid-2012. The upgrade took place simultaneously in groups of five to ten locations at a time. The cameras are installed in the stores, car wash facilities, coffee areas, utility rooms and outdoor areas. MOBOTIX’s in-house MxControlCenter software is used to operate the systems. The professional video management system connects any number of cameras for centralised or local use and evaluation. The easy-to-use software is provided by MOBOTIX free of charge with the cameras.
Store recordings with sound
|All locations use the M24 Allround model, the weatherproof Q24 dome camera with 360-degree panorama view
All locations use the M24 Allround model, the weatherproof Q24 dome camera with 360-degree panorama view to capture entire rooms and the D24 with exchangeable lenses and vandalism set. The camera housings are compliant with protection classes IP65 and IP66, ensuring that they are protected against dust, dirt and water and making them suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. In addition to high resolution, hemispheric technology for an overview with no blind spots and lip-synchronous audio recording, the technology boasts digital long-term flash memory to record and automatically store video streams in the camera for up to several weeks, depending on the image size and frame rate.
Usually, cameras only supply images, while processing and recording take place later on a central PC using video management software. Unlike other systems, with the decentralised MOBOTIX concept, a high-speed processor and, if requested, a digital long-term flash memory (MicroSD/SD card) are built into every camera, enabling you to record for several days. The PC now serves purely for viewing and controlling the camera, but not for analysis or recording. The advantages are plain to see. This system requires lower network bandwidth than conventional systems, because everything is processed in the camera itself and the images therefore do not have to be constantly transferred for analysis. In addition, fewer cameras and recording devices are required due to the higher resolution.
The cameras in and around the gas stations remain active around the clock. "We store all of the recordings with sound in order to pinpoint incidents of any kind," explains Aksenov. As a result, we use different recording modes depending on location. Event-based recording is used in offices and utility rooms. The recording mode is activated by specific, predefined events. The most frequented areas such as the stores and outdoor spaces are continuously recorded.
MOBOTIX cameras have become the standard solution at Parallel-M LTD. The expansion of the installation at all locations is currently in the implementation phase. "Our goal is to be the leading gas station chain in Ukraine," says Aksenov. "MOBOTIX security systems help to ensure that we are better protected against setbacks resulting from incidents as well as the associated economic losses."