IP video secures London schools

June 2008 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) was established in June 2000 with the goal of providing broadband Internet services throughout the capital's 33 Local Education Authorites (LEAs).

The network went 'live' in 2002 and is deemed a great success with over 90% of schools in London now receiving high-speed Internet access for the benefit of both pupils and staff.

But, as John Loftus, managing director of Norbain, IndigoVision's African partner comments, "In line with global trends, the desire to improve security in London schools through 24/7 CCTV surveillance was meeting an apparently immovable obstacle of budgetary constraint."

This led IndigoVision UK to suggest that the company's award-winning IP video technology could leverage off the LGfL's existing network to deliver the desired levels of monitoring.

A number of pilot schools have been successfully completed, which are monitored centrally at a central control room situated in the Borough of Bromley. The control room uses Control Center, IndigoVision's enterprise video and alarm management software (which is supplied licence-free) to enable security staff to control and view live and recorded video from any of the cameras at any of the schools.

IndigoVision has supplied a complete end-to-end solution that provides for visual verification of alarms over IP and is fully compliant with British Standard 8418. The consultants for the project, Redbridge CCTV, have set up an additional central control room in London to monitor commercial sites and other schools outside of the LGfL area.

Within each school, the staff use Control Center software during the day to monitor the buildings. IndigoVision networked video recorders (NVRs) provide the storage for recorded video. Because the solution operates over a network, the location of any individual NVR is transparent to the system so regardless of whether the NVRs are installed locally at the school or centrally in the control room, recorded footage on any NVR at any school can be viewed and analysed centrally at Bromley, as well as by the individual school.

"IndigoVision's analytics ensure that, despite the large number of cameras involved in such a system, potential events are quickly brought to the attention of the operators," comments Loftus.

Analytic features include virtual 'trip wires' which ignore activities outside the school, such as passing cars, but raise an alarm whenever a person crosses the 'wire' in to the school after hours. The specific camera can then be actively monitored and, if necessary, an audio warning can be broadcast over the network to an intruder via on-site speakers using the high-quality audio available on every channel alongside the video. The analytics software runs at the camera, providing realtime analysis of each scene.

"There is minimal impact on the network because of IndigoVision's superior compression technology," explains Loftus. Streaming of the digital video around the network takes places at 12 fps. Each camera is connected to the IP network via IndigoVision 8000 transmitter/receiver modules, installed locally at the school. The 8000 units convert the analogue camera signal to MPEG-4 digital video for transmission over the network and recording on the NVRs.

Loftus concludes, "Parents, staff and pupils today have real concerns regarding school security. This large-scale project demonstrates that IndigoVision's cost-effective IP Video technology can bring really effective security measures within the means of any school - or any other organisation for that matter - that has broadband Internet connectivity."


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