Enhancing control room operations

Issue 1 2021 Surveillance

National Security & Fire monitoring centres are all manned 24 hours a day by highly trained personnel. The monitoring centres are capable of nationally receiving both radio transmitted signals as well as signals sent via landline. National Security & Fire has a network of sophisticated computerised alarm monitoring centres throughout South Africa, all linked via a wide area network (WAN).

One of National’s clients has multiple sites in various areas, situated at distances of between 5 and 35 km from the main site. The site perimeter had to be secured as, due to its sheer size, it could not be effectively patrolled by the guarding component. In addition, access and movement on site had to be monitored to ensure the highest security levels.

The existing system was alarm-based and created a large number of false alarms due to the ambient environment, resulting in added pressure to the on-site resources.

A site survey was conducted on the existing equipment on site to determine the risk profile and how it could best be mitigated. “The client wanted to enhance the existing system in an effective manner that would eliminate false activations and unnecessary callouts,” says Merven van der Walt, sales manager at Elvey.

The benefits that National needed to supply to its client included:

• Around the clock visibility of the complete perimeter of the sites.

• Access control and monitoring of contractors going on site to complete work.

• Replacing physical patrols with virtual patrols.

• Visibility on alarm activations.

The solution entailed a complete revamping of the existing system and includes:

• Line crossing and area entry/exit cameras on the sites’ perimeters.

• Monitoring of the entrance to the sites with licence plate recognition (LPR) cameras.

• PTZ cameras positioned on the internal areas of the site with pre-set patrolling sequences.

• Equipment on the various sites report back to the local guardroom and to the central control room at the main site.

All role players in the client’s team – including security, maintenance, electrical maintenance, operations personnel as well as management – participated in the solution brainstorming and decision making sessions to ensure a holistic solution. According to National management, site-specific regulations had to be overcome, but this did not influence the functionality of the system.

Using the original site survey as a basis for discussion and elaboration, various options were considered, including the option of using and enhancing the existing alarm system. Product experts from various suppliers, including Elvey, were involved in the design and final implementation of the proposal.

The Elvey solution included a number of elements at the main control room in Constantia Kloof as well as at the five remote sites. At the main control room, Elvey supplied a Dahua DSS server, a Dahua video wall and a Dahua Matrix solution that interfaces the video wall with the server. In addition, a number of Dahua IP bullet and dome cameras have been installed, together with Dahua automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras at the main entrance, one at the entrance to the control room and one facing the street. Each of the sites has a number of Dahua cameras and NVRs installed, all of which report back to the main control room.

The solution was planned to be executed in a phased approach that included:

• Phase 1 – setup of the main control room.

• Phase 2 – the completion of the smallest of the five sites, as this would also identify any unforeseen problem areas that could then be resolved quickly on the other sites. The link to the main control room was completed.

• Phases 3, 4, 5 and 6 involved the same process as Phase 1, for the remaining sites.

Progress of all phases was measured on a project plan. Any elements that arose during completion of phases 1 and 2 were incorporated into an adjusted project plan to ensure a seamless execution.

“The client achieved their primary requirement of an enhanced security system that supports their personnel on site. The feedback received was that the system is a well-designed solution that meets the requirement of the client with opportunity for them to expand in the future,” says Van Der Walt.

The National Security & Fire team believes that a great contributor to the success of the project was the involvement of supplier specialists who bring different, valuable perspectives to the table.


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