Platinum AV has installed an integrated surveillance, intercom and automation system combining Mobotix, Fibaro and the QCamPro mobile management app for an award-winning house in Sydney’s inner city.
PLATINUM AV’s Mitchell Smith has applied the same holistic design philosophy to a boutique inner city residence that his company has brought to larger applications – a combination of CCTV, intercoms and automation, supported by quality off the shelf networking gear and managed using the capable and open QCamPro mobile management app.
According to Smith, the owner of the home wanted to install a more capable intercom system with an integrated CCTV camera that offered surveillance of adjacent lanes, as well as putting in a quality vandal resistant dome and compact S15 camera heads. Platinum AV assists with management of the system, including monitoring of alarm events.
“This is a relatively small installation but it includes the same integrations we undertook at Lily’s Function Centre in Seven Hills,” explains Smith. “There was an existing intercom here but no cameras and the owner had experienced a number of issues and wanted quality footage day and night – especially at night. The old intercom was fairly basic and we chose a Mobotix intercom thanks to the high-quality imagery it offers.
“The installation did have its challenges – there was some metal work to be undertaken to ensure we had the correct space onto which to install the intercom,” Smith says. “We also needed to source a vandal-proof camera that was in keeping with the quality of the property – it needed to be attractive and very robust. It also needed to fit into the available space as we could not alter the external fabric of the building. The hardest part was getting our cable up the risers to the network cupboard.
“Overall, it’s very simple – the cameras have onboard storage and the management system is mobile-based using QCamPro,” says Smith. “Because of the open nature of the management solution and the infrastructure, this is a very flexible system – expanding it is straightforward and can be managed in simple or complex ways, depending on what the user requires.
The Mobotix intercom is a nice piece of work – it’s very well built. During the installation, Smith needed to grind out the metal frame around the door to get the intercom installed.
“The system works perfectly – it’s unobtrusive – the whole point is to be inconspicuous while giving a wide-angle view of the lanes around the house,” says Smith. “Node zero is in a cupboard – the footprint of switch and cabling is very compact, too.
According to Smith, the system has some application specific quirks.
“The intercom is on a 2-wire bus with a user panel upstairs and a robust external V15 camera unit mounted at the door – there’s no electronic lock in this application, though the V15 camera is used to drive the automatic garage door if required.
“We put a red strobe in the garage – what’s been happening is that people walking away from a nearby hotel had been relieving themselves through the perforated garage door,” explains Smith. “Now, from 11 at night till 6 in the morning, if the IVA in the V15 camera detects a person standing at the garage door it will drive an output and flash a bright red strobe – this encourages people to zip up and walk away.”
There’s a GSD-803 Planet 8-port Gigabit switch at the heart of the system. It’s a relatively compact unit with 5W power consumption, switch fabric of 16Gbps and packet throughput of 12Mbps. From the point of view of surveillance, the centrepiece of this installation is the Mobotix V15. At the time of installation, Smith says no others had been sold in Australia. The V15 is a high-resolution dual sensor corner mount day/night PoE camera designed for use in extreme situations. The 5mm stainless steel armour is capable of resisting bullet strikes and the camera system is multi-functional DualFlex, with offers flexible lens options and expandability.
Features include -30 to 60C temperature range, IP65 weather rating, 5mm stainless steel front plate, 6MP image sensors with Moonlight Technology handling day and night applications and giving angles of view of 45-90 degrees.
There’s 2-way communication via integrated microphone and speaker. MxActivitySensor gives intelligent motion detection and there’s a MicroSD card slot (4GB pre-installed), MxBus and MiniUSB connections for interface boxes.
Supporting the V15 is DualFlex, which is a pair of 6MP sensor modules with microphones on one side of the house connected through the wall to a concealed camera housing using 3m cables per module – you’d need to know what you were looking for to notice these. The DualFlex offers 2 high resolution 180-degree panorama images using 6MP cameras.
Same as other Mobotix cameras, these have SD card storage at the edge, are weatherproof, able to handle 60C operating temperatures, have low power draw and integrated 2-way audio. You can also use the DualFlex or Flex as a Hemispheric Door Station. The 6MP (3072 × 2048 pixels) Moonlight camera heads in DualFlex offer 0.1 lux minimum scene illumination at shutter speeds of of 1/60th of a second, which is up to 100x greater sensitivity than previous technologies.
Driving the system is the Video Security Services non-proprietary QCamPro app. QCamPro supports Axis, Mobotix, Panasonic and Bosch among others. QCamPro combines simplicity with considerable functionality that pushes notifications to mobile devices and allows live video and 2-way voice comms through Mobotix (and many other) cameras.
Key features of QCamPro include live monitoring of video (using Mobotix MXPEG protocol) and audio across both 3G and wireless, a speak-to-camera function with frame rates as high as 25 frames per second depending on the camera and network configuration, PTZ controls, native iOS controls (multi-touch zoom, swipe), single, and multi-view of cameras, including a 16-camera view assigned to groups with no limit on the number of cameras or views that can be monitored, 6-action configuration to open doors, switch lights on and off or drive other outputs, and playback of recorded video and audio.
Remote Event Monitoring, which sends an immediate personal notification of an alarm event from the IP camera to an iOS or Android device. It notifies the homeowner whenever an alarm or event occurs such as video or PIR activation, as well as changes in sound, lighting, temperature – and/or external inputs. Neat, too, when someone pushes the intercom on an external door or gate, the homeowner can have a 2-way conversation from anywhere in the world through the speaker function on QCamPro via the intercom or an IP camera’s microphone. They can also have control over auxiliary inputs such as opening a door or turning on a light.
Driving the system
As we wander around checking out his installation, Smith spends a lot of time on his mobile phone calling up camera views. Image quality is good – it’s a very wide view in the lane with plenty of barrel distortion but in good light we are getting face recognition.
“There will be some automation after the cameras have been completed but the entire system – Fibaro automation, cameras and intercoms will be managed by QCamPro,” Smith explains. “This is another application that shows the flexibility of networked security and automation solutions. From the point of view of functionality, it’s all about what the end user requires.”
By John Adams