CCTV wireless surveillance
End User: The Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation
Manufacturer: Fluidmesh Networks, Inc.
Integrator: Enliven Technology Ltd.
The Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation (QEF) in the UK enables disabled people to enhance their lives and become more independent by learning everyday life skills and training for future employment. One of their residential hostels, GBSE, was shut down and scheduled to be replaced by a new building. In the interim, the residents needed to be accommodated in other buildings on site. QEF decided to extend its present digital video surveillance coverage to include the newly occupied buildings, in order to provide safety and security for all.
The main objective was to provide a cost-efficient, yet effective short-term solution in the interim. Because the existing fibre optic network didn’t cover the more remote buildings on the property, the integrator for the project - Enliven Technology Ltd., based in Surrey, England - felt that introducing the Fluidmesh wireless solution would be the most cost-effective approach compared to laying fresh cable ducts throughout the site, which would have been cost prohibitive. Also, beyond the interim period, after the new hostel was built, they would have had to re-route more cable paths to accommodate the new surveillance camera locations and incur additional costs and disruptions. To protect the customer’s investment, Enliven Technology ensured that any equipment purchased at the onset of the project would be re-deployed later, when the new hostel was ready. A plan was drawn up to show how and where each Fluidmesh unit could be re-used with the new hostel, so as to provide effective cover throughout the head office site.
The main buildings at QEF are all connected via a network of fibre optic cabling. However, some of the remote premises on their 35-acre site have no network connection or coverage. Digging trenches and laying fibre-optic cables would be expensive and unsettling for everyday life. Plus, there wasn’t much time to dig trenches and roads, and then re-tarmac to put things back to normal. Time was very much of the essence on this project; QEF informed Enliven Technology of the project in September 2011, it was subsequently funded, and they were given the go-ahead for immediate implementation in December. The installation commenced on the 20th of December and was completed on the 23rd, followed by some fine-tuning work during the first week of January. Consequently, wireless video surveillance was strongly considered, and Fluidmesh was selected and successfully implemented for those ‘difficult to reach’ points where cabling didn’t make sense. Another critical challenge for the integrator was convincing the client that Fluidmesh wireless technology would not only work for them, but would also offer tremendous flexibility.
Due to the openness of the site, wireless antennas requiring clear ‘line of sight’ were used to play a significant part in providing effective surveillance coverage. QEF wanted reliability with manageable bandwidth for its high-resolution video streaming plus the ability to expand the system easily in the future. They can capitalize on their new-found flexibility moving forward by mixing ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ connections, as and when required, to protect their current investment in Fluidmesh technology.
The initial topology is based on a point-to-multipoint design with a back-haul link to the QEF main admin building. QEF was impressed with the ease and low cost of being able to convert to a fully redundant system in the future. This was achieved with 'Fluidmax' - a patented dual-protocol from Fluidmesh that allows existing equipment to convert from a point-to-multipoint layout to a 'mesh' design. The small form factor and the absence of an external antenna were important, as the system had to blend in with existing buildings and be discreet. Because Fluidmesh is a digital system, the integration of QEF’s new Paxton door access control system was easily achieved.
Panasonic digital IP Mega-pixel and VGA cameras were added to QEF’s existing video surveillance system and the existing, expensive door access control system from G4 was replaced by Paxton Net2 system. QEF implemented fibre optic cabling throughout its main buildings a few years ago. This made it easy for them to implement a fully digital video surveillance system from scratch in 2006 with 2-way audio which has proved critical in a couple of incidents.
“QEF saw the benefit of a fully digital video surveillance system from the very beginning and invested in it six years ago,” explains Mr Garry Billing, Principal, Vocational Services, QEF. “Fully digital offers many benefits that an analogue or a 'hybrid' system cannot provide. Pan-tilt movement, for example, gives bigger area coverage, and a separate cable isn’t needed for power supply to a camera. It allows for 2-way audio, lasts longer and is therefore less expensive, and enables remote access and control of a camera not only from a PC, but also from a mobile phone.”
“The QEF 35-acre site is 'spread out' with buildings, car parks, and site roads,” Billing adds. “Although the main buildings are covered via fibre optic cabling, many others are not. This is where Fluidmesh wireless technology offers us the flexibility to literally secure the four corners of our site, because all it needs is a 'clear line of sight' for the antennas. We found Fluidmesh technology to be reliable, cost-effective, non-disruptive, and quick.”
The introduction of Fluidmesh was therefore, relatively simple. With wireless technology in place, the system can be easily expanded, and there is no restriction on the number of applications that can be added. The wireless technology is working in harmony with the video surveillance and door access control system today, but broadband for students can be included in the future, if needed. According to Roy Sinha-Roy, Director, Enliven Technology, “QEF is very happy not only with the reliability of the new installation, but also by saving a significant amount of money on future maintenance. Overall, it’s a manageable system that is also highly reliable and secure.”
INSIGHTS FROM THE INTEGRATOR:
The QEF project clearly demonstrates that when it comes to video surveillance and door access control, there are tremendous benefits to be gained in terms of rich functionality and reduced costs by moving to a digital platform as soon as possible. For a typical “building / car park / site roads’ scenario, including rough terrain, Fluidmesh wireless technology enables a site to be securely covered in the most cost-effective fashion.
“For customers with analogue technology, it is never too late to make the switch. Instead of continuing along a limited function/ expensive analogue path with fixes, the sooner they make a transition to digital, the better,” Roy notes. “In these times of cost consciousness, migration to digital is the most important decision a customer can make. Enliven Technology has been specializing in this very field for the past six years to help customers migrate to a digital platform cost-effectively and efficiently.”
About Enliven Technology Ltd.
Enliven Technology, a Panasonic and Fluidmesh partner, has been implementing, for the past eight years, fully-digital video surveillance solutions where Camera, Connection, and Capture are all digital. Most of the installations out there today are ‘hybrid’, despite having digital recording, because of their old analogue cabling infrastructure. Enliven Technology are specialists in how to help these companies migrate to a fully-digital platform in the most cost-effective way, so as to derive all the benefits a fully-digital system offers. In collaboration with Imperial College, London, they are actively pursuing smartphone ‘App’ based solutions to take video surveillance to the next level. Founded by an experienced IBM executive, Enliven Technology serves customers in Local Government, Education, Retail, and Builder-Developer sectors. www.enliventechnology.com