WHEN you think networked security solutions it’s easy to conjure up swathes of edge devices living on the vast WANs of multinationals. These systems are seamless and you drive them globally with all the ease you’d truck through the GUI of a well-made DVR. It’s the sort of networking best left to the major integrators you think – not the preserve of aspirational installation companies. We’re not going to slip into murky waters and argue the relative merits of NVRs versus DVRs in networked environments – suffice to say each has its advantages with the best NVRs utterly invisible to operators and the cream of DVRs offering amazing performance at prices too good to be true. What is important though, is to recognize clear evidence of layering in the market, which sees end users melding needs and budgets in order to build networked solutions that best suit their requirements. It’s against this backdrop that Coastline Security has built a video surveillance solution linking plant hire company Force Corp’s offices in Darwin, Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Force Corp, formerly Australian Sky Reach, is Australia’s largest platform/scissor lift hire company with a fleet of 2500 machines. There’s another parameter here, too. Some manufacturers are building overlays and gateway devices that act as network portals for analog devices and that’s important in this installation because Coastline’s brief doesn’t end with CCTV. Along with video surveillance, the company has installed a Challenger access control and alarm system supplied by Direct AlarmSupplies at each site and is in the early stages of integrating them GE’sForcefield integrated security management platform.Force Corp’s CCTV solutionAccording to Coastline Security’s Adrian Davies, the video surveillance system installed at Force Corp represents a series of standalone solutions linked over the company’s 512 Kbps WAN connection with a redundant line in support in the event of main line failure. This networking allows authorized administrators access to their own sites, as well as allowing them to manage remote locations using integrated workstations. “Each Force Corp site has a 16-input DigitalSI XPE DVR – each DVR having 2TB of hard drive storage onboard in the form of four 500GB HDDs,” explains Davies. “Important from an installation point of view has been the mentality of the Force Corp business in that the company takes pride in what it does – one of the beauties of this installation is that it reflects the Force Corp operation – there’s no compromise on security – it’s about having a uniform approach to the company needs.“Basically all the sites are roughly the same – each has about 16 cameras and a Digital SI XPE DVR with 400ips global frame rate,” says Davies. “At Force Corp we’re not using live recording on all inputs though we could – instead the system is set up for 10 frames per second per input with recording initiated by motion. “In terms of CCTV coverage the installation looks after the internal reception and there’s also external CCTV coverage that protects the plant equipment on the site,” Davies explains. “Along with this there’s also appropriate coverage inside the warehouse/workshop area that’s designed to support Force Corp’s OH&Sprocedures.” According to Davies the pivotal installation at head office in Sydney was not straightforward in large part due to the fact Force Corp was in the process of establishing itself at new premises in every state during the process.“The challenge was that when Force Corp took over the buildings they had a set date for the system to be operational and those dates were tied to a schedule of reconstruction. Everything was taken back to a shell and then work began from there – we had to fit in with that work. “The timing made things harder because building work is invariably influenced by a range of factors that electronic security installers have no control over – things like rain,” Davies says. “It came together nicely in the end, however.” According to Davies, when the server room was built and the wide area network established, the installers were given an IP address for the DVRs that allowed them to reside on the main Force Corp network where they could be accessed by authorized workstations. The standalone nature of the installation makes it possible to use Force Corp’s 512Kb WAN to access sites or investigate events as needs arise, while retaining the system’s inherent redundancy.“With the DigitalSI remote software it’s possible to access the DVRs through remote software or Internet explorer. The software allows management in Sydney to access video from any of their sites whenever they like – they can play back what happened in Townsville at 1 O’clock yesterday or they can play back what happened in Victoria at 1 O’clock,” Davies explains. “And at any time they can access live video or live recording. They can check on alarm events and once it’s fully optioned, the system will allow us to link alarm and access outputs to the DVRs in order to generate video footage of events.” Importantly at Force Corp the Digital Video Management System allows multiple sites to be accessed from an authorized workstation while allowing the same functionality operators enjoy at a local level. A key element of the Force Corp installation is the use of NVT’s video transceivers and hubs to shift live color video and audio over unshielded Cat-5 cables. “We use NVT gear to carry video signals from cameras in field to the DVRs – the cost of the Cat 5 and cat 6 is cheaper than coax and it makes the job in terms of labour far cheaper,” says Davies. “While the NVT gear costs you initially, once you factor in labour and reliability you come out well ahead. Importantly, you only run one Cat-5 or Cat-6 for every 4 cameras rather than running end-to-end RG-6 or 24020 cable runs for each camera – it just makes life so much simpler – you make significant savings in terms of material used and labour.” Davies says the biggest step for Coastline’s installers in making the switch to NVT was having confidence in the equipment. “It was a colleague in Melbourne who said: “You have to have a look at this gear,” Davies enthuses. “From the first time we used NVT we have not looked back – in fact I can’t remember the last time we used coax. You’re not limited to distances and when you use an active receiver you get up to 1.2km.“Using NVT’s equipment has eliminated problems with interference – and there are other benefits. In the past a coaxial cable had to run from every camera to an input on a DVR or switcher – if you’ve got 100 cameras that’s an enormous amount of heavy cable to handle,” Davies says. “Replace those coax cables with Cat 5 and there are only 25 relatively thin wires coming through – the stresses on the cable, the techs and on the installation itself are so much less – NVT equipment certainly proved itself again at Force Corp.” Providing vision at Force Corp are cameras from Bosch and DigitalSI. Where light is good, such as around entrances and in server rooms, Coastline has gone with vandalproof Digital SI domes while in external areas the company has used either Bosch Nightsense or Bosch XF cameras. Bosch’s Nightsense is a 540-line colour camera and Davies says these units speak for themselves in terms of performance and reliability in changing environments. The pole-mounted cameras in external plant storage areas are a study in fine installation and the use of fixed cameras with wide angle lenses offers the best possible combination of affordability and coverage in a system like this one. “The camera locations have been designed with the capture of images of trucks entering and leaving the sites, general views of the workshop areas and an emphasis on the capture of the pedestrian entrances,” says Davies.Another clever element of the video surveillance solution is Coastline’s decision to use the Pelco multi-camera power supply which Davies says is simply more affordable when installers are powering multiple cameras when compared to using a separate power supply per camera in the traditional way. “Force Corp is delighted with the operation of the surveillance system – they think it’s superb – the ease of playback, the functions of the system, the remote software to access their remote sites – they’re delighted – the system is easy to use,” Davies says. “Some other DVRs are difficult to handle and at the end of the day you’ve got to consider the end user. The function of the menu bar of the Digital SI product is just so user friendly.” Access control The heart of the access control system is a Challenger panel supplied by DAS located in each site. As Davies explains, head office at Homebush in Sydneyis the template for all Force Corp’s sites. At Homebush, entry and exit to andfrom the main yard is via keyless entry. There are custom manufactured dualheight poles with 2 readers for keyless entry using long range fobs for bothstandard motor vehicles and truck access with additional crash bollards toprotect readers. “There are additional readers on a pole for entry into the main workshop and holding area,” Davies says. “The reader switches via a relay and automatically opens the roller door and the same applies to the exit roller door.“Trucks come in through sliding gates and use their access credentials to pass through the sliding gates and drive into the warehouse area,” Davies explains. “When they fob a second time, the roller door goes up – they enter and drive through the warehouse pick up their load and go out the other side and fobbing again on exit through roller doors and then again to get out through the exit gates – with each event recorded.” “At Homebush, the main office is divided into 2 areas, state and national offices and once again the client has control of who has access to what area via the Challenger’s Titan software,” Davies explains. “The equipment for both CCTV and alarm and access control is housed within the main IT equipment and server room – this equipment room is again controlled by an access door, door reed, PIR and video is captured using a DigitalSI 540TVL colour dome camera.Davies says that with such vital computer and server equipment within the equipment room, part of the design was for a relay output from a thermostat of the air-conditioner taken to the main alarm panel providing monitoring of temperature control preset at a determined level. If for any reason the temperature of the server room reaches the set level the alarm system will go into alarm for immediate action by the client. According to Davies, this provides additional protection of the computer equipment at all sites throughout Australia.Given the high volumes of data obtained using such a comprehensive access control system, the addition of Forcefield will give management the ability to get a very clear picture of traffic and people movement at all their sites from one central location. With Forcefield, management can remove a vehicle or a contractor from the access database at a national level – or check to see ifa contractor has picked up or delivered a load – from any authorized workstation. Essentially GE’S Forcefield is an integrated security management platform designed as an industrial PC that can provide full control and management of GE’s Challenger security systems via a network. The development of Forcefield has brought Challenger functionality previously only available in advanced enterprise systems – essentially serving as a link between multiple Challenger panels either on a LAN or via a WAN. This functionality that will greatly increase the power of the Force Corp access control solution. “It’s been a real pleasure working on this system, starting with a plan that outlines a networked system and then bringing that system to fruition,” Davies explains. According to Davies, the Force Corp video surveillance and access control systems are fully functional now and will become more capable still with the integration of Forcefield. “This installation is a work in progress with a number of other sites to go before completion – we’re just waiting till the sites are ready to get the Forcefield up and going in support of a nationally networked access control solution.”End user’s perspectiveForce Corp’s IT manager Ron Carino says the system installed by Coastline gives management plenty of power. “If one of our sales reps wants access to the office we just go to the Titan (Challenger head end) and give that person access – even to the point of actual times – it’s just a matter of going into the program putting in the time and activating it. “A particularly important element of the system is that the Challenger system can be connected to the network and integrated to head office using Forcefield in the same way we have connected all the DVRs to our wide area network.” Carino says Force Corp management is delighted with the networked system’s inherent redundancy – at all levels of business operation, including security, this redundancy means the business is never offline and that keeps senior management happy. “We had no big issues with the roll-out and the installation and development of the system has kept up with our vision to provide security to existing sites while supporting the company’s rapid growth in states like South Australia and Western Australia,” explains Carino. Fact File:The Force Corp solution includes:* DigitalSI XPE DVRs* Digital SI domes* Bosch NightSense & XP cameras* NVT hubs and transceivers* Challenger alarm & access panel* Forcefield integration platform* Pelco power supplies* Installer: Coastline Security