Enhancing estate control rooms

September 2017 Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

World-class security systems that offer peace-of-mind may be one of the biggest contributing factors for an increasing number of local and international buyers in some of South Africa’s luxury lifestyle estates. For those that can afford it, the allure of comfortable and convenient living, combined with the assurance that comes with a well-established, carefully managed and holistic security system is rapidly driving investment.

While CCTV surveillance has become a key component in estate security, a truly integrated security system requires that all aspects of the security system work seamlessly together, while being managed by the heart of the system, which is the control room.

Working in a 24/7 CCTV security control room environment demands a lot of physical and mental commitment from operators. Thankfully several security product providers are designing and manufacturing products that not only reduce the risk of human error but are significantly enhancing the control room operators’ working environment.

Real-time information followed by prompt decision making and immediate action can make all the difference in estate security to prevent a house robbery or other security breaches, which is why sophisticated video management software is central to the control room environment and its operators.

“The true power of a CCTV surveillance system, and what it can offer secure estates in terms of security, operations and infrastructure management becomes even more apparent when combined with sophisticated video management software,” says Gus Brecher, managing director of Cathexis Africa and business development director of Cathexis Technologies.

The world of CCTV surveillance is greatly enhanced by the association of synchronised video and full integration with other third-party security systems, including access control, alarm panels, fire panels, analytics, building management systems and so much more.

This integration provides a powerful single-user interface, enhanced by video verification of events that occur, as well as rules-based events that can be initiated from event data. Integration leads directly to a dramatically improved control room environment with improved efficiency and effectiveness. Integration enables the system to guide the CCTV operators to specific cameras associated with third-party systems events, speeding up response times and resultant efficiency.

“Imagine control room operators having their world greatly enhanced by having the system automatically choosing cameras for them to view based on events or alarms from access control systems, alarm panels, fence monitoring systems and the like,” says Brecher. “Once the benefits have been experienced, their world without integration is almost unimaginable.”

There are also several key features associated with video management software, which make it one of the most powerful control room assets. The software is characterised by ease-of-use that makes it an adaptable and intuitive fit for residential estates of any size. Key features of successful VMS products include high-definition camera support, smart video analytics that minimise data usage, automatic licence plate recognition, and unlimited scalability which ensure that security systems can grow with the estate.

Given the sheer size and scale of residential estates, the surveillance system should include the ability to monitor hundreds of IP cameras, often across multiple sites. In addition, a flexible and scalable video management solution will be required to accommodate the future expansion of the estate as well.

The analytics feature provides triggers to the system, which enables the system to take user defined actions depending on the specific trigger received. With its open platform and ability to customise to specific industry requirements this is ideal for managing vast estates.

Anti-tamper technology will notify the control room via an alarm in the event of any IP surveillance camera tempering, including: lens covering or spray painting. Clients can also include a user-defined specific action for the alarm, to which the person tampering with the device will be unaware of.

While control rooms are often designed strictly around functional requirements, the development of IP VMS in the security industry is demonstrating how the control operators’ working environment can be dramatically enhanced.


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