Initsys Merlin Provides Secure Environment for UK University

Initsys Merlin Provides Secure Environment for UK University
The University of Portsmouth is providing a safer and more secure learning environment for its students as a result of installing Initsys Merlin software. This alarm receiving room software solution was developed by Initsys, Europe's provider of verified alarm technology, and has enabled the university to cost-effectively integrate new and existing intruder and fire alarms with surveillance cameras and DVRs installed at two campuses across the city. It is enabling control room operators to deliver a faster, more efficient response to all alarm activations, as well as helping to achieve significant cost savings.

The new Merlin software has been integrated with all existing surveillance, intruder and fire alarm systems despite the fact that they are based on a wide range of different analogue, digital and IP technologies. It has eliminated the need for each type of alarm system to have a dedicated monitoring screen and instead provides control room operator with all necessary information from a variety of sources on a single screen making it easy to efficiently monitor and manage incidents.

"The Initsys Merlin system connects to the camera closest to the location where an intruder alarm activation has taken place and automatically operates the PTZ functions enabling events to be quickly reviewed and recorded. It has enabled us to enhance the operational capability of existing security networks without having to upgrade the whole system to ensure that the campus provides a safe and secure learning environment for every student and staff member," said Chris Beaman, Control Room Manager at the University of Portsmouth.

In addition to selecting the camera closest to where an activation has taken place, the Initsys Merlin system automatically shows views of the nearest fire exits, doors and windows with live streaming of images from these locations as well as pre and post event images. This information can also be used by emergency services to tailor their response according to the specific circumstances of the incident as well as enabling the precise cause and effect of every incident to be accurately logged and analyzed. 

The Merlin system has also been integrated with a new digital radio system used by security guards that patrol both campuses. It automatically transmits details of incidents that require rapid verification direct to these radios along with updates in real-time to ensure the most appropriate response is delivered.

Initsys has also provided the University of Portsmouth with a solution that enables visually or hearing impaired students to interact with the central security control room and receive audible and visual alerts. Students can reply to these messages to confirm they are safe or whether they need priority assistance. The solution is currently being trialled and is expected to be rolled out to around fifty students during the first half of 2010. The same technology is being deployed for WASP, an innovative solution developed by SOS Response in partnership with the University and Hampshire Constabulary that is being used to reduce the incidence of bicycle theft from campuses across the city. 

The Initsys Merlin system has enabled the University of Portsmouth to make significant savings by eliminating the need to immediately replace existing installed equipment. It has also reduced the amount of equipment installed in the control room which is leading to lower running costs. Further major cost savings in terms of phone line rentals will also be realized once all systems have fully migrated to IP. What is more, the enhanced security levels that can be achieved are expected to result in reduced insurance premiums.

"Merlin is at the core of our strategic emergency plans enabling all systems to be monitored and controlled from anywhere on the University's network in the event of the control room being out of action. It is certainly helping to make the university an even safer place to be, at a fraction of the cost of deploying a completely new system," concluded Chris Beaman.
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