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Security Upgrade

15 July 2008

Technology has a tendency to grow ever-more complex, so when Abbey’s security management team were looking to upgrade its branch surveillance systems, they started by understanding what was important to them.

The Mitsubishi DX-TL4509E

ASECURITY SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM is only as good as its weakest component. Taking this as their starting point, the team at Abbey quickly realised that the baseline objectives of simplicity, flexibility and high product quality were key to success. Achieving these objectives within the context of the complicated legacy of its existing security infrastructure was a challenging task.

According to Abbey’s Security Management department, its starting point consisted of a mixture of historic systems and technologies. While the system had for the most part worked adequately well for years, the combination of low-tech hardware and ad-hoc configuration within the different branches was making it increasingly difficult to achieve an adequate level of performance and operational efficiency.

Having a different set-up in each branch was clearly not the ideal approach, and they needed to standardise their branch surveillance systems around a flexible digital recording platform. The search for a solution encompassing the required flexibility and simplicity led Abbey to look towards a dedicated Digital Video Recording (DVR) platform for its future requirements. It looked at quite a number of different manufacturers before narrowing itssearch to those companies it felt were in a position to offer the combination of high-quality, forward-thinking design and product support it was looking for.

Mitsubishi Electric was short-listed. Dean Kemp, sales manager of Mitsubishi Electric security division takes up the story, “Abbey came to us with a straightforward request: They wanted a DVR to do ‘exactly what it said on the tin’. They had a very clear understanding of the features that were important for them, and we had what we felt was the ideal solution for them in the shape of our DX-TL4509E dedicated ecurity recorder.”

Abbey wanted up to nine channels of recording, and a suitable, reliable recording capacity. Simplicity of operation and ease of maintenance were also important, together with a sustainable solution and a degree of future proofing. The Mitsubishi DX-TL4509E fitted those requirements very well, with the added bonus that it is one of the few Kalagate-certified DVRs on the market, making its video evidence admissible in court.

The 9-channel DX-TL4509E is one of a family of purpose-built multi-channel security DVRs. Its features included as standard built in motion detection and a dual multiplexer output that allows for the simultaneous monitoring of both live and recorded footage. Images are recorded using the latest JPEG2000 compression technology, which ensures image capture of the highest clarity. JPEG2000 also allows the still images to be printed from video at extremely high quality. Each of the nine channels can be programmed independently to record at different frame rates up to 100pps. The DX-TL4509E comes as standard with 400Gb of HDD. An expansion bay allows extra HDD capacity to be added if required. Memory can be extended externally up to a massive 7Tb using the optional ZD5UE Hard disk extender box.

The Linux-based DX-TL4509E comes with a built-in USB port, CD and DVD R/RW drive, plus the additional benefit of built-in software that automatically embeds a video player onto any CD recording, allowing the footage to be played on any PC without the need for specialist thirdparty video player software. Having the playback software embedded in the player enables staff to get the evidence into the hands of the police within the vital ‘golden hour’ following an incident. If police are able to review evidence immediately without having to wait for specialist viewing equipment, they can be far more responsive and effective.

Most of the components can be swapped on-site in the event of a failure, meaning minimal downtime and very low numbers of box returns. It is also network-ready, paving the way for Abbey to implement a more sophisticated networked system in future with minimal cost penalties.

After detailed and demanding field trials, Abbey specified the DX-TL4509E as its nominated product. The task of carrying out the ambitious refit programme to Abbey’s branch network across the UK fell to Case Security. Installation commenced in May last year and the 2007 programme was completed ahead of the agreed completion date, with the 2008 programme now underway.

In one branch, the DX-TL4509E proved its worth within its first 48 hours of operation because the exceptional quality of its still image performance enabling police to capture a pickpocket in the act of stealing from an Abbey customer’s handbag.

The DX-TL4509E has a sophisticated range of built-in options, including continuous, timed and motion detection recording modes. Simplicity of operation is critical. Regardless of how much training Abbey undertakes with its staff, it recognises that the first time that many staff will have to operate this equipment will be immediately after a real - possibly traumatic - incident. It is therefore essential that the kit is intuitive and easy to operate.

Abbey’s Security Management department is convinced that the high degree of manufacturer support has been instrumental in helping staff achieve a smooth transition to the new technology. “Mitsubishi has really engaged with us by creating very clear user guides and being very pro-active in its support. The support it has given to Case Security has also been exceptional, and it has continued to work with both us and our installers to ensure the programme has progressed smoothly.”


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