Transforming Shopping Center Surveillance with IP Video

Transforming Shopping Center Surveillance with IP Video

A new, digital surveillance system has been adopted by the Wythenshawe Shopping Center in the south of Manchester, England. The surveillance system is an upgrade from an old analog matrix system to the latest distributed IP network solution that provides significant benefits for the Center's operators.

As with many of the older shopping centers throughout Britain, Wythenshawe has both internal and external retail units and a complex perimeter area to monitor. The entire system consists of 40 cameras which are monitored and controlled by operators using an IP video and alarm management software package from IndigoVision. The system was installed by IndigoVision's local partner, VideoTec.

"The video quality is excellent and ‘Control Center' provides us with a set of tools to quickly search and analyze recorded footage," said Alastair Budd, Asset Manager of St. Modwen Properties, the Center's owner and operator. "Now that the system is network-based, we can easily add or reposition cameras in the future at very little cost, something that would have been very expensive with the old system."

As with any public place in the United Kingdom, there is a requirement to keep video footage for 31 days. This is achieved using three stand-alone NVRs, with a total storage of 6 terabytes. Even though this is a relatively small amount of storage, IndigoVision's advanced compression technology means that high-resolution video from all the cameras can be continuously recorded at 12 frames per second for the required period. Video clips can be exported to the police for evidentiary purposes in the event of an incident.

The security control room uses a combination of 42-inch plasma displays and 19-inch LCD monitors, also controlled by "Control Center." The combination of larger format displays and smaller spot screens allows operators to monitor the entire site at a glance and pull down images of suspicious activity for closer inspection on the spot monitors — all from the click of a mouse or through a traditional keyboard/joystick. The screen configurations can also be easily changed depending on the time of day. For example, during the day, the primary displays show the cameras around the shopping areas; but, at night, the requirements differ and the emphasis is on perimeter protection.

The nature of network-based surveillance systems means they can be installed alongside existing analog equipment, and any down time is minimized during the migration. The upgrade at Wythenshawe was installed over the busy Christmas period without any loss of coverage during the switchover — an essential requirement of the client.

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