Keeping you in the picture

April 2003 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

In today's fast-paced business world it simply is not enough to monitor a single point on the premises at any given time. In fact, to be truly secure, one pretty much needs to be everywhere at once - observing, watching out for any trouble - and even recording the action, just in case something goes wrong.

Siemens Digital Surveillance offers a full coverage surveillance concept, allowing one to monitor as many locations as required, whilst simultaneously documenting everything going on. Therefore, should any adverse events take place, one will then be in the position to take the necessary preventative action, without interrupting normal observation flow.

Siemens full spectrum solution covers all the necessary consultation and installation services, as well as a comprehensive base of products for every conceivable security surveillance need.


The importance of investing in high quality cameras cannot be overstated. Too often, companies make the fatal error of purchasing poor camera equipment, only to discover - when it comes to identifying the bad guys - that the footage they have is unusable.

As part of its solution, Siemens offers an extensive range of quality, high-resolution cameras for all applications, available in both colour and monochrome. Infrared cameras are available (for nighttime operation), as well as dual cameras for day/nighttime operation. Specific camera features include:

* Ergonomic and visually pleasing designs.

* Weather-resistant protective housing.

* Remotely controlled pan drive.

* Remotely controlled focus adjustment.

* Explosion protected equipment (optional).

Video switching matrix

What is the matrix? In this instance, it is a powerful switching system, designed to provide for automatic or manual connection of recorded signals and images, to various monitors.

Developed in South Africa, the Siemens video switching matrix has been so successful that it is now being marketed all over the world. It may be configured as a single matrix - supporting up to 256 cameras and 64 monitors, or as a multiple matrix system. The system is modular in design, ensuring that one needs only purchase a system catering to immediate requirements, upgrading by means of additional slave matrices, as the need arises.

The matrix is a standalone unit, with its own embedded controls. Configuration takes place using a Windows-based application. Features supported by the matrix include:

* Unique user defined camera numbering.

* Camera identification.

* Alarm and event action definitions.

* Camera sequences.

* Grouping of cameras for alarm purposes.

* Camera barring.

* Multiplexing (frame switching) of multiple cameras; allowing for the recording of multiple cameras onto a single recorder. This is normally used for simultaneous alarms.

Digital video recording

The recorders used to maintain a permanent record of security events truly are mission critical systems. It is all very well if the recording system works 'most of the time' - but what happens if everything goes down, just as the bad guys are getting away with the loot? This is why Siemens ESS choose to use the Dallmeier range of digital video recorders which are Linux-based, stable, and fully network compatible.

Every digital recorder unit comes standard with five framegrabbers, one of which is used for playback only. (Dallmeier supports simultaneously recording and playback). The other four framegrabbers are used for recording, and can handle up to 18 cameras at a time:

* Four cameras at 100 fields per second (live recording).

* 18 cameras at 35 frames (total) per second - 2 frames per camera.

The system makes use of wavelet compression for stored images. Various compression levels (from 15 to 60 Kb a frame) are available, depending on storage and quality requirements. At 60 Kb, files akin to DVD quality can be achieved.

The Dallmeier DVR offers simultaneous viewing, recording and playback, all on a single screen
The Dallmeier DVR offers simultaneous viewing, recording and playback, all on a single screen

Video management system

Interactive video management system for centralised surveillance and operation of larger systems with the following functions: video detection, video control unit, image storage or third party systems. It is:

* Easy to operate with graphic interface,

* Compatible with all Cerberus video components.

Video activity detectors

Siemens makes use of realtime video detection systems. Every video signal is analysed with its own processing unit, making use of complex algorithms to eliminate the possibility of any false alarms caused, for example, by animals, light reflections, changes in weather, shadows of trees or rain.

A remote maintenance facility (with alarm trigger viewing functionality) is provided, so as to allow the operator to manually ensure that there has been a real intrusion event. This interface also allows the operator to set up precise and complex rules governing the use of monitoring and alarms within the system.

For more information contact Sharon Naude, Siemens Electronic Security Solutions, 011 652 2000,

ESS Solutions at a glance

Siemens' principle of strength lies in the provision of a total security concept. Ideally, a surveillance system should not exist in isolation, but as part of a total security and building management solution, governing such areas as access and door control, alarm management, fire detection and safety - as well as the reporting systems for all activity within the building.

Siemens Electronic Security Solutions (ESS) excels in the field of expert surveillance and related technologies:

* CCTV surveillance, using Siemens cameras and the locally developed ESS CCTV matrix, the company's digital recording solution provides a compact and reliable means of recording video images, alarms and events.

* Access control and intrusion detection: The Babylon system, which has a SAP certified interface, provides manageable access control, as well as functionality such as employee time and attendance.

* Biometrics: ESS has recently expanded its access control offering to include biometric identity verification technology:

• Fingerprint reader: A fingerprint template reader has been developed to function well in harsh industrial conditions. The solution has been developed in such a way as to be backward compatible - able to integrate into existing Siemens installations.

• Iris recognition: An accurate identity verification solution, using iris scanning and recognition. Like the fingerprint template reader, the iris scanning solution can be integrated into existing Siemens security installations.

* Fire detection: The Algorex fire detection and extinguishing solutions offer dependable and timely responses to fires. Solutions are adaptable to any environment - from controlled clinical situations to heavy industry.

* Integrated security management: A locally-developed management and monitoring tool. ISMIS monitors trends (from data gathered by Babylon and the CCTV matrix) and provides user-friendly management reports and graphs.

* Open transport networks: Innovative network backbone solution. OTN combines voice, data and video on a dual redundant fibre-optic link - thereby integrating all aspects of the business onto a single backbone.

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