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Safe and secure

Author : Rob Shepherd

27 April 2012

The protection of people, property and assets and is one of the many responsibilities faced by today’s facilities managers. As Rob Shepherd explains, there are number of complex issues to address in order to provide the most appropriate security system possible.

The move towards integrated building services means that modern facilities managers are having to get to grips with security provision. However, security combines a wide range of concepts and technologies and requires a strategic and methodical approach.

Different strokes

In order to understand the specific security threats faced by an organisation the first thing that must be carried out is a comprehensive risk and threat assessment.

For this exercise to be truly worthwhile it is necessary to identify where possible threats could come from. This involves looking at business activities and operations to see whether what a company does and where it does it could make it a target. For instance, those companies that deal with the military, animal research, or have links to countries engaged in conflict, could be at particular risk.

Mike Bluestone, director of security consulting at Corps Security explained: “It is only by undertaking an analysis of an organisation’s activities, premises and facilities, and addressing the risk posed to staff, visitors and customers, that a suitable security strategy can be developed.”

Next step

Once the risk assessment exercise is completed and the information analysed, the next step is to identify the most suitable security solution. This will usually involve a combination of manned guarding, technology such as CCTV and access control, and remote monitoring.

Manned guarding is often available as part of an outsourced multi-service facilities package. Under the guise of total facilities management this is a trend that has taken hold in this sector and while some facilities managers prefer the convenience of having all outsourced services via one company, others feel that security is quite unlike any other service that they procure and requires specialist expertise.

Gadget show

As the importance of security with an organisation has grown, so too has the amount of technology on offer. One of the most significant developments is the move away from traditional analogue CCTV systems to fully networked solutions that utilise Internet protocol (IP).

Commenting on this course of events, Phil Doyle, regional director
Northern Europe at Axis Communications said: “IP based CCTV has a number of advantages over analogue. Whereas analogue camera images cannot easily be distributed for analysis or investigation, network video solutions provide an easy way to capture and distribute high quality video over any kind of IP network or the Internet.”

Gary Harmer, security sales director at Mayflex added: “IP system deployment is completely scalable and limited only by the bandwidth available. As bandwidth can easily be acquired, an IP based system is effectively future-proofed in its design concept from day one.”

IP security is now big business and according to a report published by IMS Research in July 2011, the worldwide market for video surveillance equipment grew more than 10 per cent in 2010 compared with the year before. The report – The World Market for CCTV and Video Surveillance Equipment – also forecasted that the global network security camera market could exceed $4bn in 2015.

All together now

Rather than using a separate video circuit an IP based CCTV system operates over a building’s existing structured cabling network.

Also, the fact that it can utilise power over Ethernet (PoE) cabling negates the use of a separate power network. The IEEE 802.3af PoE standard was published in 2003, however, CCTV manufacturers with pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) products struggled to get them to work to their maximum capabilities. So in 2009 IEEE 802.3at PoE+ was published which answered their power demands by increasing the power levels to 34.2W.

This allows IP based surveillance systems using PoE to gain maximum benefit from the latest generation of megapixel and HD cameras.

Taking the plunge

Although IP based security is generally more expensive for small-scale installations at point of purchase, there is conjecture about exactly what point it becomes cost effective. Tim Biddulph, IP product manager at Samsung Techwin Europe commented: “There are so many factors which have to be taken into consideration, many of which will be affected by the users’ operational requirements.”

However, Axis Communications’ Phil Doyle opined: “An IP based CCTV surveillance system typically has a lower total cost of ownership than a traditional analogue CCTV system as the network video application can piggyback off an organisation’s existing infrastructure.”

This is a sentiment shared by Mayflex’s Gary Harmer, who noted: “It is far more important to look at the tangible benefits gained with IP CCTV when calculating costs of deployment. For example, being able to provide video and data to other areas of the business can produce real financial benefits.”

Features and benefits

The software used to view, capture and analyse video caught by IP CCTV systems has also seen radical improvement in recent years. Mike Lewis, business development director UK & Ireland at Mobotix, explained: “It now includes levels of automation and integration that extends its functionality to remove many manual processes.”

Some organisations are using IP surveillance to provide valuable real-time business intelligence by using analytics. For example, Samsung’s SND-3080C network dome is used in a wide range of market sectors due to its people counting feature. It works by simply drawing a virtual line or box area in a certain part of the scene. The dome then counts the number of people that cross the line or enter the box and the data can then be transmitted at selected intervals to a predetermined location.

The technology in the cameras themselves is also becoming more sophisticated. A good example of this is 360 Vision Technology’s Predator – a dual IR and white light PTZ camera that offers up infrared illumination and ultra bright white for true colour at night. Mark Rees, business development director at 360 Vision Technology said: “It allows high quality images of faces, clothes, vehicles and other details to be accurately and clearly recorded, and the light can be used to follow intruders in the same way that a police searchlight does.”

Audio is also increasingly being incorporated into cameras and this allows operatives at a remote monitoring centre to issue intruders or trespassers with a verbal warning to disperse. Audio warnings have been proven to stop between 80-90 per cent of incidents going any further and also prevent the need for a manned response to be given in the first instance – allowing it to be deployed as and when the situation requires it.

Legal aid

The use of CCTV by has to comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA), regardless of the size of the system. It is important to thoroughly assess the appropriateness and reasons for using it and this, along with the person(s) or organisation(s) responsible for the system, needs to be documented and registered with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

“Consideration of where equipment is situated is a key factor when setting up a CCTV surveillance system. Cameras should only cover the spaces where the equipment is meant to monitor and the user needs to consult with the owners of any domestic areas that might be covered or border the area monitored by the equipment,” advised Phil Doyle of Axis Communications.

Furthermore, the public needs to be aware that they are entering an area that is being monitored by CCTV surveillance equipment. Signs should be placed so that they are clearly visible and legible.

Command and control

Facility managers also need to consider the role of access control within the overall security network, as they often have the responsibility of assigning keys or electronic access including card swipe and biometrics. A major objective to the success of any video surveillance system is to seek ways in which it can interact with other security systems.

Tim Biddulph of Samsung Techwin Europe commented: “A major trend we are seeing at the moment is the linking of CCTV with access control systems. As well as providing visual verification of anyone attempting to gain access to restricted areas, there is also an opportunity to obtain valuable management information such as time and attendance records.”

Fit for purpose

When it comes to selecting an installer of a security system, it is important to make sure that they are suitably skilled.

Mike Lewis of Mobotix advised: “Each IP CCTV vendor will offer different levels of accreditation for individual partners to assure they have a sufficient level of skill to specify, install and maintain security systems. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) requires that all its member companies must be registered to ISO 9001:2000 with a UKAS accredited certification body.”

Case studies and reference customers are a good method of finding a suitable installer and should always be requested and followed up.

Fitting the bill

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to security provision and each solution should be as unique as the organisation itself. This will usually mean that manned guarding works in conjunction with technology and businesses that fully understand the risks that relate to their operations should be utilising a fully integrated solution to deliver strategic and operational objectives.

Rob Shepherd is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to PFM who has written about the building services sector for over 12 years.


Number crunching

How many CCTV cameras are there in the UK?

Up until recently it was thought that there were 4.2 million of them following research undertaken by Michael McCahill and Clive Norris in a paper published in 2002. However, it transpired that this was based on a 1.5km road in a busy shopping district and extrapolated out for the entire UK.

Subsequent research carried out by the deputy chief constable of Cheshire, Graeme Gerrard, and published in 2011, put the figure at 1.85 million – less than half of the original estimate.

His team mapped all of the CCTV cameras in public and private ownership in the county as part of an initiative to help investigating officers locate CCTV evidence more effectively. Adjusting for land use patterns and population, it was estimated that there are 1.7 million privately owned CCTV cameras in the UK. To this number was added 33,433 for the number of cameras operated by local authorities and 115,000 as an estimate of the number of cameras on public transit throughout the UK. By combining the three figures, Gerrard arrived at 1.85 million.


Think ahead

There are a number of important questions to consider before specifying and installing an IP based CCTV system:

• What is the bandwidth capacity of your existing network and will your network manager allow the surveillance system to share the available bandwidth?

• What type of images are required? Does the application dictate the need for high definition or megapixel camera technology?

• How scalable does the system need to be? Will it need to expand in the future, not just in terms of the number of cameras deployed but also in the number of people who may require access to live or recorded images?

• Do you need every second of video from all the cameras to be recorded 24/7 and how long will you want to store recorded video for?

• Will the surveillance system be used for purposes other than security – such as health and safety compliance or management information, footfall management and parking control?

• Is there a requirement for integrating the CCTV system with other applications such as access control or a building management system (BMS)?

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