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March 17, 2006

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IP homes in

A housing association in Calderdale, West Yorkshire is now operating what is thought to be the most advanced IP-enabled CCTV monitoring solution of any UK housing association.

This development for Pennine Housing 2000 was 18 months in the making and stemmed from a desire by them to have a central control room at one location which would have the capability of controlling and monitoring the security of seven remote sites.

The ambitious project saw close cooperation between consultants Faber Maunsell – who came up with the initial concept – integrators BBV and IP CCTV providers Dedicated Micros.

Pennine is responsible for nearly 12,000 properties and, previously, locations were served by standalone CCTV solutions, with monitoring of CCTV cameras provided via control rooms within each block of flats, so there was no ability to manage incidents or share information across sites.

Connecting 780 homes

Richard Sumner of Faber Maunsell proposed that an IP solution based around a wireless network would be the most effective and economical solution.

Featuring point-to point-wireless connection between Pennine’s new dedicated control centre and over 780 dwellings in various high, medium and low rise units across Calderdale, the project required the integration of a large number of elements. These included 130 plus existing CCTV cameras, a new door entry concierge system, and a large scale 82 inch front projection system – replacing 21 inch monitors – with the ability to control the layout of monitor walls

There are also Dedicated Micros DV-IP Servers in each of the tower blocks, as well as decoders in the central control room at Mixenden.

These were all brought together through the ‘pick-a-point’ GUI from integrators BBV.

Cabling bill slashed

Pick-a-point has been able to replicate the simplicity of operation associated with a traditional analogue matrix by allowing control of multiple video servers without the need for thousands of metres of expensive cabling.

It makes an intuitive environment, allowing the display of cameras from a number of monitored sites and delivering control over any camera in the system, while retaining all important keyboard and joystick functions.

Pennine’s operators can pick and click cameras using pick-a-point’s bespoke site maps, drilling down from aerial view of the Calderdale area to select and zoom in on a specific block of flats. Unlike many virtual matrix solutions, pick-a-point is a dedicated hardware based workstation with embedded software, removing reliability and training issues associated with PC software-only based systems.

Massive savings made

Using an IP wireless network solution has saved the scheme in the region of GB pound 55,000 in fibre cable installation costs with an estimated further saving of GB pound 24,000 per year – GB pound 1,000 per video channel per year – for the 24 monitors displayed on each projection screen.

Pennine’s 24 hour response concierge team based at Mixenden now have a large front projection display, advanced GUI and the ability to rapidly process event driven images received via integration with video motion detection and access control measures.

Tenants have also been extremely positive about the changes with Pennine, ensuring that they were kept up-to-date as the project progressed and now feeling safer as a result.

The installation has been designed with the future in mind. There is scope to bring in more remote blocks, add cameras or even drop in another control room.

Pennine is even considering expanding monitoring beyond its own sites, as a potential revenue generator, offering its service to local businesses and schools in the area who may have CCTV solutions but, significantly, no 24 hour remote monitoring.

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