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Forecourt CCTV

Intelligent cameras promise more for CCTV users – especially those using IP transmission to central recording and monitoring stations, according to the security contractor Secom. The company has installed the new technology at a major customer’s forecourt.

Alan Blake, Secom plc Sales and Marketing Director, says: “Petrol stations are prime targets for crime on three fronts: people deliberately driving off without paying, shoplifting and till robbery (often with threats against staff) during opening hours, and burglaries after hours.  CCTV has made a significant difference for petrol station operators, and there are many cases where CCTV footage has helped to identify and convict offenders. In the past, this required examination of extensive footage – often long after the event, so it was relatively inefficient. Until now, improvements in technology have been accompanied by difficulties elsewhere in the system.  

“The introduction of motion-sensing cameras meant on-site digital video recorders captured only potentially significant events – not continuous coverage. The disadvantage was that animals crossing a site could also trigger the cameras, which unnecessarily added to DVR footage and, if signals were routed to a central monitoring point, raised false alarms. The advent of megapixel-type cameras brought greater clarity of images – at the expense of storage capacity and bandwidth on IP networks.”

Gary Mercer, UK Sales Director for VideoIQ, adds: “We have supplied Secom with a range of high quality megapixel cameras with individual integrated DVR facilities for use on a client’s petrol station forecourts. The immediate advantage is that the system does not rely on a single DVR which can be the weak spot. Less obvious, but more important, is that an event triggering several cameras does not produce a sudden demand for bandwidth. What does happen, is that as well as storing images, cameras send short bursts of video to the central monitoring facility where operators are able to assess the situation and decide on the best response. If necessary, the security operator can download additional images from the camera.

“The other big advantage is the cameras’ inbuilt intelligence – using algorithm-based video analytics. This enables them to self-calibrate and ‘recognise’ their environment and non-threatening events – such as an animal on the site. A traditional camera is set up on day one, and that’s as good as it gets. Our intelligent cameras spend day one learning … and they carry on learning, getting better all the time. Finally, the cameras are easier and cheaper to install. The ‘edge-based’ analytics and storage ideally lend themselves to wireless solutions, reduce bandwidth burden by up to 90 per cent and eliminate the cost of central storage. They are also POE (power over ethernet) devices, which add further flexibility in the cost effectiveness of the installation.”

Alan Blake says intelligent cameras are an exciting development in CCTV-based electronic security. “This technology is also very suitable for deployment across a wide range of commercial, industrial and governmental applications, bringing new levels of security and efficiency. We see it becoming the new standard in CCTV security.”


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