Securing Cape Town

CCTV Handbook 2011 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Cape Town uses the Teleste to secure the future.

Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa (3,5 million), and the largest in land area (larger than other South African cities), forming part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.

The City’s primary objective with surveillance was to aid law enforcement agencies in the execution of their duties, with up to 2000 incidents reported every month. Further uses as wide-ranging as monitoring fires, protest marches and streets – for maintenance purposes. Clients include transport, traffic and emergency services or external entities.

CCTV project history

The City of Cape Town announced the country’s first city centre surveillance installation in 1998. The original installation was installed used Teleste Analogue CFO Transmission equipment, which provided a reliable point-to-point installation. This was upgraded in about 2001 to a STM1 ATM network which allowed the City to expand to a redundant ring type installation with the capacity for up to about 200 cameras.

In 2009, The City of Cape Town upgraded to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network, allowing additional capacity for many more cameras to be added to the system.

There is no specific project timeline or scope in this open-ended contract. The long-term nature of the project has resulted in a mix of sub-contractors and principal contractors used over the years.

Wehan Wessels, principal consulting engineer on the City’s ongoing CCTV project: “In fact, the Municipal Finance Management Act requires us to use new contractors all the time. This conspires against achieving continuity. It is a problem, but it has been resolved very well with Teleste’s use of open standards technology.”

Notwithstanding the challenges, the grand vision was to give the city access to next-generation IP video applications and flexibility, topped off with TV-quality audio, video and data. Two video control centres were set up, with access to each other’s feeds, pulled in from multiple nodes. If the link between the two goes down, they operate as standalone centres. Each has switching gear receiving video feeds, decoders for viewing and 140 terabytes of RAID 5 storage.

Paired control room operators view feeds in short shifts, remote-controlling cameras via head-end equipment. The centre runs on a 24-hour basis. As incidents are noted by an operator, a supervisor is notified. With Metro Police and SAPS on hand, evidence is gathered where actionable, and stored for 31 days. The client requested doubling the specifications for 2010, to around 300 TB.

Description of the system

The Teleste VMX video management platform provides Cape Town with a stable, resilient and flexible CCTV platform which is in use by both the police and city control rooms.

Around 400 cameras are controlled from two CCTV control rooms, each control room can view and control any camera on the system providing Cape Town with a redundant system.

Main and multiple back-up servers allow the system to continue functioning even in the case of a multiple server failure. Redundant NVRs (networked video recorders) are also in use, which provide back-up recording for all cameras.

The Teleste field-hardened MPX video encoders are used to encode the analogue camera inputs to IP, the MPEG4 video streams are then recorded on the Teleste VMX NVRs in the control rooms. Teleste also provide the video wall software to display the incoming video streams on to large LCD monitors.

Project scope

By 2020, the Cape Town Metropole wants CCTV surveillance of all its CBDs (totalling 40) and public transport interchanges (over 200 taxi, bus and train hubs). The city is currently still the SA leader in city CCTV. At the time of writing, the number of cameras under Fibre Based Integrations’ management numbered 250 for Cape Town. By 2015, 400 to 500 more could come on-stream.

Details of delivered solution

* Two main control rooms with over 30 operator stations.

* Multiple servers and 30 days 2CIF 25fps recording.

* The network is 10GE with Teleste MPC-E1 encoders at the cameras and VMX system in the control rooms.

* The users are the City of Cape Town, Metro Police and transport, both sites can view and control each other’s cameras.

* Over 250 cameras between the two sites.

Project partners

Fibre Based Integrations (FBI)



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