A case study of a refurbishment and upgrade project for CCTV installations at Salford University.
The central objective of the project is to enhance the safety and security of students, university workers and members of the public by providing extended CCTV coverage, better performance and reliability, and greater flexibility to cope with future changes in requirements. This will support the in-house student/staff volunteer scheme – Campuswatch – set up 18 months ago, and the first such scheme in Greater Manchester. Equipment is from Siemens Building Technologies Security Products and the install is by Renard Systems.
At Salford University, the CCTV installation covers the student village, outlying teaching facilities, main campus facilities, car parks and sports grounds. The CCTV cameras are installed in both indoor and outdoor locations, and images from them are fed back to a central control room for monitoring.
"There were many reasons why we chose to work with Siemens on this large and prestigious project," said Steve Turton, Sales Director of Renard Systems. "Perhaps the most significant were the reputation and quality of the Siemens equipment, but it was also important that the company had a wide enough product range to provide us with everything we needed from a single source."
"Siemens was also very supportive with the project. The company actually lent equipment to us for evaluation, so that the university’s project team could be absolutely sure that they were getting what they needed."
Early in the project, the decision was taken that the requirements for flexibility could best be satisfied by converting the installation to an IP networked system. This approach would also provide the best possible future proofing, and it was economical, since permission had been given for the CCTV system to piggyback on the existing high-bandwidth IP network that links most of the university’s sites.
Renard Systems had, however, taken over the management and maintenance of more than 100 existing cameras with analogue outputs. Since most of these were in good working order, replacing them with IP cameras was an unwarranted expense. Many of the cameras were, therefore, converted for IP operation with the aid of Siemens IP interface modules. To extend the coverage of the installation, 50 new cameras were also fitted. These were all dome cameras from the Solaris range, and all were equipped with IP modules.
Although centralised monitoring was required, Renard Systems decided to provide local recording facilities in a number of areas using Siemens CX-Sistore digital recorders. These units are particularly well suited for this application as they not only provide full IP support, they are also capable interfacing directly with analogue cameras. This was useful in areas where it had been necessary to maintain unconverted analogue cameras in use pending replacement. The local recorders are linked to the central control room via the university’s existing IP network. The adoption of local recording offers two important benefits – the amount of network traffic is reduced and, during network outages, images continue to be recorded and are, therefore, available for later access.
Salford University continues to use its original CCTV control room. The next stage of the project, however, is to provide a new control room at a different location. This will use completely new equipment throughout, including large flat panel displays. It will also have provisions for linking the university’s access control systems and the CCTV installation so that, for example, a camera can automatically be pointed at a location where an unauthorised access attempt has been detected.
Systems in the new control room will use virtual video matrix technology, which means that simple and inexpensive software changes are all that’s needed to reconfigure them if requirements change. For Renard Systems, the use of IP technology on the site is an important aid to the relocation of the control room, as it virtually eliminates the need for re-cabling. Therefore straightforward network connections can be utilised for the new control room equipment.
"The upgrade work carried out is already delivering big benefits," said Mark Shutt, Head of Security for Salford University. "It’s enabling the security team to keep a close eye on even the most remote corners of the university’s properties, something that wasn’t possible with the more limited coverage provided by the older system. The upgrades also mean that it’s now easier for the team to track potential miscreants, and the new DVRs mean that recorded images are of excellent quality, and can also be searched and accessed to review any incidents."
"The new control room will further enhance the capabilities of the installation, and the use of the latest Siemens equipment together with IP technology means that there is plenty of scope for future expansion. The installation will, therefore, provide this university, along with its "on the ground" staff and student resource of Campuswatch volunteers, with an efficient, reliable and cost-effective security resource for many years to come."