UK child care facility puts trust in networked surveillance

UK child care facility puts trust in networked surveillance

One of UK's oldest child care centers, Gingerbread Corner, established in 1976 in Croydon, Surrey, recently replaced its outdated analog video surveillance system with an IP-based video surveillance system consisting of 21 Samsung Techwin network cameras and two NVRs to improve protection of the 160 children between ages of 3 months to 11 years on its premises. Coulsdon based video surveillance and public address specialists Postfield Systems recommended the installation of the IP system.

The old analog system consisted of four cameras which only allowed the monitoring of entrances and exits, the quality of the images captured and recorded were not sufficient for practical use if an incident needed to be investigated. As a registered charity, Gingerbread Corner relies heavily on its fund-raising activities to maintain and improve its facilities, as well as employing 40 members of staff. Despite concerns over significant funding gaps following the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, Gingerbread Corner's management were determined to allocate sufficient capital for the installation of the replacement video surveillance system.

“There are so many potential situations where access to high quality video evidence can help protect the children in our care and also verify that our staff has at all times professionally carried out their duties,” said Ben Dzendzera, Operations Manager, Gingerbread Corner. “For example, with so many children living in single parent environments, we can avoid any disputes by being able to monitor, and if necessary verify, who has collected a child from our premises.” The center can also quickly resolve bullying issues on its premises, and protect staff from any false accusations.

"It was clear that we immediately needed approximately 20 cameras in order to be able to monitor all activity throughout the site, but we also wanted to ensure that the system we invested in could continue to be expanded if and when our requirements changed,” said Dzendzera. An analog system would have provided Gingerbread Corner with a slightly lower cost option, but the justification for allocating the extra capital for an IP network based system, due to the system's flexibility and how it can be monitored. “Live or recorded images can be viewed by any authorized member of staff who has access to the Internet,” said Dzendzera. “I personally use the VMS on my laptop to view the video of any incidents, whilst senior management can access the system via smartphone when they are off site.”

Sixteen D/N domes were installed. These utilize WDR technology making them ideal for locations where there may be strong contrasting lighting conditions. This has resulted in costs being kept to a minimum as there wasn't a need for coaxial cable to be run to each of the 21 cameras. The five other cameras are IR weatherproof cameras, which is part of a range of cameras which was designed to provide a cost effective network video surveillance solution for small to medium size applications. Both models offer multiple streaming with a choice of compression methods, providing the option to simultaneously transmit images to multiple locations at various frame rates and at different resolutions. This allows different authorized users to monitor live images at one location, whilst recording video evidence at another. The images from all of the cameras are recorded on one of two NVRs.

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