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Simplicity the key to complex surveillance

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With the complexity of surveillance demands in modern times, security technology professionals JIST say that simplicity is still key to sophisticated solutions. It was precisely the simplicity of the solution that earned JIST the Mobotix award for the installation of the Year: 2012, for the surveillance solution provided at Western Cape’s Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.
There are significant challenges facing shopping centre management as they strive to tackle myriad security issues daily.
“Key to our decentralised surveillance solution that helps secure Tyger Valley Shopping Centre, is simplicity. One of the busiest malls in the Western Cape, security has a lot of ground to cover, every minute of every day, all year long,” JIST’s Michael Gelderbloem says.
“By consolidating the entire system into a flexible, easy to operate modular system, mall management, with its intrinsic hands-on approach, can have fewer eyes on key areas but they will see so much more.”
“In terms of our strict guidelines for a holistic system, from entry to exit, JIST conceptualised a solution that provides critical security components in the software and hardware that are managed by a single user with a single log-on.
“While the solution is highly sophisticated and complex, the simplicity of application and use is a key advantage for Tyger Valley Shopping Centre,” says Johan Mouton, GM of Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.
There is generally a temptation to have too many, rather than too few cameras. The result does not always provide the most effective solution. JIST was able to resolve a number of issues at Tyger Valley Shopping Centre:
* Too many cameras resulted in costly maintenance and increased risk of downtime;
* Critical areas were not covered, even with more cameras than were necessary;
* Poor image quality from outdated camera technology;
* Storage of footage was costly, hardware intensive and download speed slow;
* Accurate reporting was not available as a reliable management tool to assess data received from the previous CCTV system;
* Insufficient control at access points to parking facilities, entrances and exits;
* International software solutions were unable to adapt to local security demands; and
* The mall was not able to provide the level of security that they demanded.
Tyger Valley Shopping Centre management say that “good enough” was not good enough and wanted the best security available to safeguard the interests of their shoppers and tenants.
Gelderbloem continues, “While the issues facing mall management appeared to be relatively complex, the solution had to be kept simple in its application. A complete audit of the precise requirements revealed that, with the malls intricate architecture, a number of blind spots were apparent. Our focus was simplicity but we still had to provide a holistic solution that covered the entire mall’s interior and exterior.
“World-class surveillance technology had to be installed to ensure long-term success of the system. The software had to be developed locally to meet local challenges and, critically, the software interface had to integrate with every possible hardware needed, now and in future.”
JIST’s security solution centred on state-of-the-art surveillance technology and locally developed software that met and surpassed international standards:
* Fewer cameras reduced maintenance costs and risks of downtime;
* A fibre network offers a more reliable transfer of data;
* Advanced network lifespan;
* Modular and scalable system adaptable for future upgrades and plug-ins;
* Reliable Web access solutions for increased security response effectiveness;
* Custom developed software, in line with client demands, with reliable interface and simplicity of use;
* Software allows management to monitor user activity for increased productivity; and
* Software updates are free.
“Mobotix was able to match our requirements for a decentralised system,” says Gelderbloem. “Each camera’s software is Linux based and offered a stable platform. They integrate perfectly with our tailored software which is also Linux based. On top of this, Mobotix was able to offer significant additional benefits.
“The open-source platform that is used by Mobotix is certainly setting the trend in surveillance technology and is recognised as the market leader. It has proven to be cost effective, modular, functional, uncomplicated and extremely versatile, exactly what was needed at Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.”
The locally developed, software, tailored to suit the specific demands of Tyger Valley Shopping Centre, is crucial to the entire installation and has significant advantages for centre management:
* The software can be accessed via a Web interface providing management with flexible control over the entire system;
* Mobotix software uses the HTTP format and the API Protocol is provided by Mobotix;
* Software provides a single doorway to the cameras;
* The floor-plan layout serves as an easy interface navigation facility;
* The software includes several administrative facilities, a significant advantage for centre management; and
* The software interfaces with the camera’s Web server push technology while the database interfaces with MySQL for the “floor-plan”, “camera” and camera viewer and usage information.
“With reliable performance and strong interface, Mobotix and JIST’s software solution integrated seamlessly,” concludes Gelderbloem.
“The entire project is being implemented in stages in line with the completion of the centre’s structural upgrades. The installation of the surveillance system will be one of the most advanced in the world and will provide management and shoppers the security that is expected from malls across the world.We are thrilled to have received the Mobotix Award for Installation of the Year 2012.”