A retail case study from the town of Kingston upon Thames: Eden Walk Shopping Centre, whose 28 retailers and cafes include such household names as M&S, BHS, H&M, Cargo, Sainsbury’s and Heal’s. The shopping centre also features a multi-story car park of 14 floors with 675 spaces.
Eden Walk, which opened in the late 1960s, recently decided to update its analogue video system with new IP video from DVTEL. The installer was Syntinex. Jacques Lombard, Managing Director of Syntinex, reports that the company took over maintenance of the electronic security system at Eden Walk about four years ago. Syntinex initially fitted digital recorders at the site, to support the analogue. However, about six months ago, they experienced a failure with one of the recorders; and they decided to deploy a Horizon NVR server from DVTEL.
Lombard said: “We first replaced one of the existing DVRs and converted the analogue images using DVTEL’s Ariel IP video encoders, and the customer was quite happy with that. We then removed a second DVR and built the entire system on an IP backbone.”
Because of the system’s age, Lombard said that image quality wasn’t on par with modern standards, which was further compounded by the fact that the mall was recording video at very low frame rates. However, with the new platform and H.264 compression, Lombard said the system now can record video in real time, so that security staff at Eden Walk can search footage much more effectively.
The project took the installer between two and three weeks and included the installation of eight Ariel encoders, a Horizon rack-mount server, plus two new Quasar IP cameras, all from DVTEL. The installer had also been asked to deploy three more Quasar cameras on the floor of the shopping centre, to add to coverage. As the analogue cameras on the networks fail, Lombard said they will also switch the mall to Quasar cameras.
Ailsa Fraser, Centre Manager, Eden Walk, said: “The clarity that we now have is amazing. I have 28 camera feeds up on a 32-inch TV screen in my office and I can see absolutely everything going on in the shopping centre as well as the basement area and corridors. I mean it is absolutely fantastic,” she said. “We’ve also been able to bring one of the office blocks we manage online as well with the DVTEL system, so we’ve now got cameras in places where we didn’t have coverage previously.”
Fraser also lauded the intuitiveness of the system for users, as well as the mobility, as she and her deputy now can remotely access using their tablet or mobile phone.
Fraser said: “If there was ever a major incident, we would be able to carry on with running the shopping centre because we can see what’s going on remotely. If there was ever a shooting or some other incident that we had to manage off-site we have the ability to view the cameras to speed-up response and video footage if needed.
“I’m not a tech-y person, but even I can operate it because it is very user friendly. We also now have the ability to send the local Council control Centre our video feeds. They have the ability to link into our system and liaise directly with the police where necessary. Syntinex came to us and suggested this would improve our security processes.”
Also, Fraser said the upgrades have helped reduce latency in the video feeds as the movement of people within images is no longer blurry. “In the old system when you would play video back, it was very jerky, but with this system you can play it back or slow it down to meet specific needs. In the past, when the camera was processing images, you might easily miss something when you were downloading information.”
As an open site the mall is not able to control access in or out of the shopping centre with gates at night; nor does Eden Walk have any security personnel on the premises at night, Eden Walk says that the CCTV recently helped security officers access images of a juvenile who spray painted graffiti in the public toilets.
“We were able to get into the system, narrow down the time from when the graffiti was discovered to when the toilets had previously been cleaned. We were then able to easily play-back — literally choose the time of day and the date — and get a clear image of the young lad who thought it was fun to spray graffiti over our new facilities.”
DVTEL stresses that its products are open, with the ability to integrate with camera partners, such as Axis, Bosch, Sony, Arecont, Pelco, and Panasonic; and integrate with other applications, such as access control, LPR, PSIM, and gunshot detection. Visit: www.dvtel.com.