People love to eat, work and play around water. England’s second city, Birmingham, has no river, but the canal system that once fed the heart of its industrial past has been lovingly restored and converted into one of the most impressive and successful inner city mixed-use developments in the country.
Named after James Brindley, one of the UK’s pioneering 18th century canal engineers, Brindleyplace was opened in 1995 and is now home to a host of restaurants, bars and cafés and a thriving community of businesses from major banks to art galleries and entertainment attractions, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Ikon Gallery, the National SEA LIFE Centre and The Crescent Theatre.
Situated on the western side of the city in a stunning waterside location, Brindleyplace counts among its neighbours the International Convention Centre and the Symphony Hall, just across the canal to the east, and Broad Street, a major thoroughfare and popular nightspot, to the south.
It’s a busy place, with over 10,000 people a day passing through, either to work or to visit for business or pleasure. Monitoring the safety and security of the people using Brindleyplace, not to mention the buildings themselves, is a responsibility taken seriously by the estate’s management team.
When GVA, the management company for Brindleyplace, wanted to upgrade its CCTV system (a basic IndigoVision analog-camera system), they appointed Tony Lloyd from Lloyd Asset Protection Ltd to organize the project, write specifications and tender possible suppliers. This resulted in a local system integrator called Sitewatch being appointed to provide the installation and commission the new system.
Most of the original cameras were cabled to the control room via a single 4 core fibre trunk. The new cameras would require an increased bandwidth that the fibre was unable to provide. Replacing the fibre was not possible as the original route was built over during the site development, so the decision was made to employ a wireless solution that could handle the large data transmission without creating loss of signal or latency in the camera movement. Fluidmesh was chosen over the competition not only because of the quality and reliability of its products but also because of the renowned excellence of its technical support.
“One of the cameras was 30MP static so ensuring sufficient wireless bandwidth was vital” said Tony Lloyd. “The site has since surprised other interested industry parties with the fluidity of the wireless transmission. The site security team have been thrilled to use the new system.
The Wireless system
The system design is based on multiple wireless clusters comprising of point-to-multipoint and point-to-point configurations.
The design criteria was to ensure low latency across the network by minimising the number of wireless repeater ‘hops’ to ensure smooth operation of the PTZ control and video delivery.
Due to the topology involved e.g. large brick and concrete structures, the wireless transmission relies on the overall use of Fluidmesh FM1200V-HW access points that benefit from a 33degree horizontal beamwidth and an integrated 2×2 MIMO antenna panel.
All the cameras in the system could be connected in line-of-sight apart from a couple of points where a bridge was needed to reach them. The Fluidmesh solution consists of 43 x Fluidmesh FM1200 VOLO radio units, featuring the Fluidmesh MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) wireless transmission protocol and two Fluidmesh 1300 OTTO radio bridges.
FM 1300 OTTO is the Fluidmesh high-bandwidth radio that is supplied with a 30Mbps bandwidth, but can be extended to 500Mbps through a software upgrade. When the customer asked for the connection to be “future proof”, the FM 1300 OTTO was the natural choice.
The cameras provide 24/7 surveillance and their images are viewed from a central control room making Brindleyplace a safer and more enjoyable place. “The whole system is very smooth and clear with the result that the client is pleased and immediately engaged a second level of cameras to use the wireless network,” concluded Tony Lloyd.