Siemens Watches Over UK University

Equipment from Siemens Building Technologies Security Products is playing a central role in a major refurbishment and upgrade project for video surveillance installations at Salford University. The project is being carried out by Renard Systems, a supplier of integrated and IP-based security solutions.

The central objective of the project is to the enhance the safety and security of students, university workers and members of the public by providing extended video surveillance coverage, better performance and reliability, and greater flexibility to cope with future changes in requirements. This will support the excellent in-house student and staff volunteer scheme — Campuswatch — set up 18 months ago, the first such scheme in Greater Manchester.

At Salford University, the video installation covers the student village, outlying teaching facilities, main campus facilities, car parks and sports grounds. The cameras are installed in indoor and outdoor locations, with images from them 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.”

Early in the project, the decision was taken that the requirements for flexibility could best be satisfied by converting the installation to an networked system. This approach would also provide the best possible future proofing, and it was economical, since permission had been given for the video system to piggyback on the existing high-bandwidth IP network that links most of the university's sites.

Renard Systems had taken over the management and maintenance of more than 100 existing analog cameras. Since most were in working order, replacing them with network cameras was an unwarranted expense. Many of the cameras were converted for IP operation with Siemens IP interface modules. To extend the coverage of the installation, 50 new Solaris dome cameras were added, equipped with IP modules.

Although centralized 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 analog cameras. This was useful in areas where it had been necessary to maintain unconverted analog cameras in use pending replacement.

The local recorders are linked to the central control room via the university's existing IP network. Salford University continues to use its original control room. The next stage of the project will provide a new one 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 video installation so that, for example, a camera can automatically be pointed at a location where an unauthorized access attempt has been detected.

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 recabling. Therefore straightforward network connections can be utilized 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.
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