Published on 14 April, 2008
Huddersfield Technical College, situated in West Yorkshire, is starting to reap the practical benefits of an advanced NetVu Connected CCTV solution specified and installed by DM Fusion member Oracle Vision, to deliver effective protection for its 22,000 full and part-time students studying courses from GCSE to degree level.
The geographically dispersed College has four key sites, all of which are now covered by the new digital CCTV solution which comprises two DS2 DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) from Dedicated Micros - installed in the main control room at the main New North Road site - plus three of the latest SD Range systems situated at the College's other sites. These are linked back, seamlessly, over the network to the control room for centralised monitoring and review via NetVu ObserVer video management software.
With respect to the feature-packed SD Range of DVRs, Huddersfield Technical College is one of the first sites in the UK to go live with the system.
Chris Lakin, Technical Director at Oracle Vision outlines how the CCTV capability at the College has been transformed: "The previous set-up was very basic. Essentially there was a matrix and multiplexers with VCR capability. It was clear from our initial discussions with the College that they were keen to move away from this outdated analogue, tape-based, approach and instead adopt a digital video over IP solution which would allow them to utilise their IT network to send and receive images and manage their CCTV."
The Facilities Manager at Huddersfield Technical College, David Hardcastle, was a leading advocate for the College going down a digital networked CCTV route: "In terms of the brief to Oracle Vision I told them that we wanted a future-proof solution that was easy to manage and maintain."
According to Chris Lakin, Oracle Vision's search for the right CCTV system to build the solution around brought them to the latest generation Digital Sprite 2 (DS2) DVR from Dedicated Micros: "One of the things which drew us to the DS2 is the way that it is possible to interact and manage the CCTV intuitively through the supplied NetVu ObserVer (GUI) Graphic User Interface software and the fact that being NetVu Connected, the solution could be scaled-up to cope with future demands."
The next phase of the project saw the selection of SD Range units, also from Dedicated Micros, when it was decided to expand the digital CCTV coverage to three additional sites.
Said Lakin: "The capable and cost-effective SD Range offered the potential, through common system architecture, to operate with the existing DS2s and be fully functional with the CCTV cameras at each campus. In addition, we knew that the picture quality was pretty good and, using MPEG-4 through MultiMode Recording, it would be network friendly - always an important consideration."
The ability to configure the units from a central point over the College's network was particularly attractive according to Lakin: "This is certainly advantageous in terms of setting the system up and also from a maintenance point of view.
"Another beneficial feature with the SD Range", emphasised Lakin, "is the fact that there are no buttons on the front which could be pressed to change settings after they have been configured, so keeping access to the system secure."
On the ground Philip Whitehead, the Security Co-ordinator - based in the control room at the College's New North Road campus - believes that the new 24-hour monitoring solution is a vast improvement over what went before: "Now we can review images in seconds while still recording whereas in the past we had to literally turn off half of the old system to view a single analogue tape. In essence the whole process of working with our CCTV is much better, especially, given the fact that the three remote sites are now all linked-in via the SD units allowing their images to be managed and reviewed centrally via the same NetVu ObserVer software as used with the DS2s."
In terms of specific incidents, Whitehead recalled a recent event which resulted in a positive outcome: "About a month ago we had an incident involving theft and located on CCTV a person acting suspiciously. We were then able to detain the suspect and call the police. When the police arrived, with the capabilities of the new digital system, they could view the incident in a matter of seconds and be provided with a CD as evidence."
Commented Carol Cope, Partnership Manager at Dedicated Micros: "It is pleasing to hear the positive feedback from Huddersfield Technical College in terms of the CCTV equipment specified - including the new SD - and, crucially, the level of service and support provided by Oracle Vision as a founder member of the DM Fusion installer programme."
Looking to the future David Hardcastle, Huddersfield Technical College's Facilities Manager, sees the new NetVu Connected surveillance solution as having tremendous potential for income generation: "This is really only the beginning for us, we now have a CCTV infrastructure which can evolve with us and will not have to be ripped out and replaced in two years. This gives us the confidence to be able to offer a monitoring service to other schools and colleges in the area helping to provide a long term return on our initial investment and to improve security in the surrounding community."