APC Overnight has never hesitated to invest in the latest technology to ensure that it provides an efficient and reliable service to its customers. With the help of electronic security experts, Securitec Systems and Samsung, it has applied the same philosophy to the surveillance system which it relies on to minimize shrinkage, protect its premises and monitor health and safety compliance at its national sorting center in Wolverhampton.
APC is the UK's largest next-day delivery network with more than 125 local depots covering all areas of the country. The network specializes in timed deliveries, offering a choice of convenient morning or afternoon options as well as a Saturday service. APC collects, routes and delivers more than one million parcels each month with an on-time delivery record.
Securitec Systems in Cannock were tasked by Colin Dicken, APC Overnight's Head of Security, to recommend how IP-based cameras could be introduced as part of an expansion of the surveillance system, while retaining the 64 existing analog cameras which were still performing satisfactorily.
APC's requirements in respect of what they wanted to achieve from its surveillance had changed. The original system was installed for general security purposes but there were two other specific objectives. The first of these was to ensure that the company's health and safety policies were adhered to and that if there was an accident or incident that needed investigating, there would be video evidence to call on. The second objective was to monitor the processing of every parcel that entered the building until it was loaded onto a delivery vehicle.
“The system provides a visual record of how we carefully and accurately handle our customers' parcels. It also helps us demonstrate how we monitor the parcels while they are in our care. Such video records also help to reduce claims,” Dicken said. “The 96 cameras which we have installed cover every square inch of our premises. There are absolutely no blind spots and we can track every movement of parcels from the moment they arrive until they are sent back on the road by tying in the surveillance system with our barcode booking system.”
Securitec recommended and installed 32 Samsung network dome cameras. With its vandal-resistant body and tough polycarbonate dome casing, the camera provides a solution for a busy sorting center and as it is a true day/night camera with an integrated IR cut-filter, it is also able to deliver high-quality images even in the most demanding of lighting conditions. The camera is also equipped with Samsung's noise reduction technology, which eliminates image noise in low-light conditions without ghosting or blurring. There is also the added bonus that the technology can save up to 70 percent of storage space on a DVR, while maximizing bandwidth when viewing the video over a network.
Securitec also upgraded the surveillance recording facilities by installing four Samsung DVRs onto which images captured by the analog cameras are recorded, while a Samsung DVR records the images from the network camera. The DVR can record at half D1 resolution across all 32 channels and give users the option to customize recording settings to achieve real-time full D1 resolution recording on selected channels.
“This project has been successful on two levels,” said Martin Kadir of Securitec Systems. “We have been able to prolong the life of the previously installed 64 analog cameras by integrating them with the 32 new network cameras and this has saved APC a considerable sum of money by not having to rip out the existing cameras which have been performing satisfactorily.” “We have also achieved a degree of integration allowing both sets of cameras to be monitored from the same multiscreen display in APC's security control room. This has been achieved by utilizing the control functionality of Samsung's CMS.
The cost of extending the surveillance system has been justified according to Colin Dicken. Any complaints of lost or damaged parcels have been investigated with the help of video captured by the cameras. “We take great care to ensure that our customers' property arrives in good condition as well as on time,” Dicken said. “Therefore, it is important that we can identify and track individual package through our sorting center. The quality of the images we are seeing from the new network cameras is certainly helping us to do this.”