Camera for Exeter Quayside

by Mark Rowe

The Transit Shed, Exeter Quayside, is an English Heritage site. More CCTV was required to monitor the waterside area (pictured, summer 2021) of shops, restaurants and bars, popular with visitors to the Devon cathedral city.

Specifier was Derek Maltby of Global MSC Security. Kevin Tyrrell, CCTV Technical Manager for Select Electrics, the Bristol-based installer, says: “With accessible funding granted from a successful Safer Streets 2 application, Exeter City Council looked to expand the surveillance coverage of the Quayside area and integrate it into the existing town centre CCTV network, for monitoring at the Exeter City Council control room.

“Coverage was required to provide safety and security surveillance in an area that is popular with both locals and visitors. Additionally, as the Quayside includes a canal side, should coverage of the canal be required in an emergency, high-definition footage of any incident here would be advantageous.

“To cope with the harsh conditions to be found at Exeter Quayside, we required a camera that would not only provide reliable high-definition images but also one that would withstand high winds and rain, that can combine to make a difficult operational environment for electronic equipment, such as a CCTV camera. We’ve enjoyed a long-term technical relationship with 360 Vision Technology for a number of years, having employed their camera technology in many varied applications and based on this experience, we were confident in their ability to provide a camera that could satisfy our demanding requirements.”

“Additionally, and further complicating matters regarding the installation of cameras, many parts of the Quayside area are historically important, such as the cobbled areas and streets, as well as the English Heritage protected Transit Shed, that occupies a large part of the area.”

As a site for music, dance and street theatre events, the Transit Shed is an open plan building set on cast iron uprights, historically, used to store cargo unloaded from ships. Derek Maltby says: “Obviously the historically important parts of the area could not be disturbed. The logistical effects of installing traditional CCTV infrastructure, such as fibre cabling under streets and a network of CCTV cameras on poles was considered too disruptive and prohibitively expensive – so an alternative solution needed to be found.”

“We have always had a great relationship with the research and development team at 360 Vision and this project was no different. We had identified the Transit Shed as a possible location for the siting of a single PTZ camera, where it would have a perfect line-of-sight to all of the areas that required coverage on this project, but we knew that any camera mounted on, or near the Transit Shed would have to meet strict English Heritage requirements, including a specific body colour, to match the exact heritage hue of the Transit Shed, to blend with in the historic architecture.

“We outlined the technical requirement and restrictions of the project to the team at 360 Vision and were delighted with their enthusiasm and technical understanding of the demanding requirements of this installation. Very quickly, we determined a solution using the 360 Vision Invictus TX wireless camera but in a one-off specific colour, specifically matched to blend with the painted roof of the Transit Shed.”

With continuous rotation pan, 360-degree view and 160-degree tilt, the 360 Vision Invictus camera can deliver views to the control room. For night-time vision, the product comes with LED white light. As for camera performance, unlike many other camera products that use ‘belt-drive’ for pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ), Invictus ‘direct drive’ mechanisms.

The Invictus TX was supplied in a specific green pantone reference. It’s providing comprehensive coverage of the area, at a fraction of the cost of multiple traditional units and associated traditional hard-wired transmission infrastructure, 360 says.

Dennis Cavanagh, control room operations manager at Exeter City Council says: “In operation, system operators can instantly switch-on the LED white light mounted onboard the Invictus camera, to illuminate the scene and inform people at the Quayside that they are being monitored, both for security and safety purposes, for example, if anyone falls into the water at the Quayside at night. Since the 360 Vision Invictus TX camera has been added into the system, we have had many positive comments from residents and local businesses, complimenting the non-invasive nature of the colour-matched camera in the historical surroundings and confirming the feelings of security the camera coverage now provides to the area both during the day and night.”

The camera on the Transit Shed is part of a wider project to increase surveillance coverage and improve image quality across the city’s CCTV network. Over 40 cameras are already installed to either replace cameras or extend coverage to new areas, as part of a rolling programme thanks to the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund.

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