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Comms Satellites Used

by msecadm4921

You can use communications satellites for CCTV surveillance purposes, say the partners in a joint venture.

Mobile phone rental company Cellhire and security company Leerose have created the joint venture WCCTV. David Gilbertson, Managing Director of Cellhire and sales director of WCCTV, said: ?We came together to develop a niche product which has huge opportunities. Lots of people from medical experts remotely checking critically ill patients to yacht owners, police surveillance teams and construction and pipeline companies need remote and mobile monitoring systems.?

Boats and planes

WCCTV surveillance based on wireless technology makes it possible to install CCTV in places without mains power or fixed communications networks, such as boats and aeroplanes. These wireless based CCTV units can be temporarily installed on a site and quickly moved when required. Live images can be viewed in real time using laptop or personal computers connected to any of the GSM mobile networks, WCCTV says. Or images can be stored locally or downloaded to computers for more permanent storage and
later review. There is customer demand for surveillance units where there are no terrestrial cellular networks, Gilbertson said. Already a partner of the Inmarsat service provider Stratos, Gilbertson asked Stratos for help in creating a global wireless surveillance solution. It took WCCTV and Stratos engineers around six months to get the product working over satellites.

Dial in

Customers outside the reach of terrestrial cellular mobile networks can now access and control their cameras by dialling into the Inmarsat Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), satellite network. Operating at 64 kbit/s, the Inmarsat Global Area Network (GAN) only charges customers when they actually transmit information over the GAN. David Frampton, senior marketing manager at Stratos, says: ?Despite their strengths, there are widespread misconceptions about the capabilities of GEO satellites but these disappear once people use the systems. Market development has also been held back because there are too few real solutions available. Offering customers a GAN terminal is not the answer because people may not have the time to be trained to use the equipment or do not know how to add satellite facilities to their communications networks. There is now a greater market for services and, to grow the business, we have to look at and develop other sectors.?

Several versions

Traditionally Stratos supplies the maritime, aeronautical and fleet industries. WCCTV has developed several versions of its wireless surveillance solution. The Duo Rapid Deployment System and Standard and Advanced Services differ in the networks used and number of attached cameras, whether they can be operated remotely and the availability of a hard disc. Depending on the customer’s need, units are pre-configured to use either GSM or the Inmarsat satellite networks to transmit video data at speeds varying from the lowest rate of 2.4 kbit/s up to the Inmarsat 64 kbit/s. Users can attach up to ten remotely controlled cameras to the communications box. If necessary the unit can be equipped with a removable hard disc drive to increase the locally stored
video information.

Worldwide access

Working across all GSM, Inmarsat or fixed networks the unit can be accessed from anywhere and pictures downloaded to a laptop or PC using the supplied CD-Rom. Users dial into the unit from their computer (or the system can be set up to automatically dial a pre-configured number), over whichever network is most convenient and live images of the site can be viewed on the web. Or, images can be saved to a computer hard disk. Powered by mains, battery or solar panels, WCCTV surveillance systems are small enough to be disguised as a smoke alarm. Units are shipped with a number of automatic alarms and, if needed, the pre-installed phone numbers of the owners. Gilbertson says: ?As this is a passive infra-red system, as soon as anything changes on site the camera tapes the information and an alert is sent through. It is also possible to configure the system so that it automatically switches on lights, closes gates or dials a specific person when it senses a change in movement. Customers can view live video footage played out on their computer or they can store up to 80 gigabits of real time video information on an installed hard disc – which amounts to approximately 35 days of constant recording. If needed, users can specify a second hard disc or have the option of over recording data or downloading it for storage.?


Download speeds vary with the access network but video sent via the Inmarsat GAN network allows six frames per second to be transmitted. Frampton says: ?WCCTV is opening up a new market both for satellites and for remote monitoring in the security industry. It has other applications: units could be used to back-up terrestrial surveillance systems especially those of the emergency services.? If customers do not have the time or ability to monitor their own sites, WCCTV can do it for them from its remote monitoring facility.

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