Edinburgh International Conference Centre - Case Study

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The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) is a large building, specifically designed for major events and conferences. The centre offers a myriad of choices ranging from small conference rooms to huge auditoriums that can accommodate over a thousand people.

The EICC also boasts over two square kilometres of exhibition space that can be configured and modified according to the needs of the client and the event. Since opening its doors in 1995 this world-class conference venue has welcomed over 700,000 delegates to over 2000 events. Recently the EICC decided to invest in upgrading and strengthening its security systems, including a complete system review and a re-location of its CCTV control room.

The Challenge

The installed digital video recording system at EICC was an early generation system which was aging and becoming unreliable.  Further, the three DVR systems had to be monitored and controlled individually as they were not networked together and had no common control interface.  Service and maintenance was becoming expensive and difficult to manage.  It was obvious that a new recording system was required.

Another aspect was that the Control Room had outgrown its existing location as more cameras and security systems had been added to the facility. EICC decided that the Control Room must be moved to a larger room with cameras and security systems re-routed to the new location.

A modest expansion of camera numbers from 74 to 80 was envisaged, with a requirement for easy and cost-effective further expansion in the future.

The surveillance task was to cover all entrances and exits of the building, all immediate surrounding areas, car parking facilities, approach roads and all key internal areas.

The Specification

Having had digital video recording facilities for many years, the EICC security manager had very clear requirements for the specification of a new system and the layout of the new Control Room. A key requirement was for a seamlessly integrated digital video recording and management system offering both centralised control from a single point, and also the option of remote operation and viewing. Either from the offices of key authorised personnel on site, an offsite backup control room or centralised control room monitoring several such facilities.

A further requirement was for an easy to use operator interface, allowing easy customisation of camera groups, camera viewing patterns, automated patrol of camera patterns and integrated PTZ control but retaining the existing PTZ control protocols and signal transmission equipment. All cameras had to be accessible from a single workstation, and it also had to be possible to add multiple workstations either locally or remotely. All of which would have to be capable of accessing the video management system simultaneously. Recording resolution, quality and frame rate were specified at of 12fps recording rate per camera, full-frame resolution (720 x 576), with 14 days storage period. All cameras were to be instantly accessible for live viewing and replay, with multiple-channel replay essential.

As the EICC had experience of a DVR system with an extremely limited upgrade path, it was essential for them to find a video management system which could not only be scaled up very easily and cost-effectively, but which would also be compatible with future technology; thereby retaining and exploiting the initial investment in the system. It was clear that this future-proofing would include the addition of IP network cameras and even mega-pixel IP cameras. Compatibility with future larger disk capacities and easy swap-out of hard disks was also a “must”, and is an often overlooked feature in DVR system specifications.

Finally, EICC specified the option of full integration with their existing Access Control System as part of the overall requirement.

The contract specification required the integrator to prepare the new Control Room, move all associated cabling and equipment, re-install the equipment, service/upgrade/add camera systems and also to procure and install the full video management system to meet the specification.

The Solution

EICC decided that a fresh approach was needed and set out to find a suitable new integrator, evaluating several suitors and many DVR systems before awarding the contract to 2020 Vision Systems Ltd.

In conjunction with Veracity UK Ltd, a manufacturer of advanced networking products for IP Video and supplier of enterprise DVR and NVR systems , 2020 Vision developed a fully compliant proposal for the EICC, exploiting the amazing capabilities of the Instek MatriVideo enterprise system, supplied and co-developed by  Veracity. Instek Digital Ltd. is a manufacturer of high-performance hybrid digital video recording and management systems, and is a long-term development partner for Veracity. One of a select few authorised Instek Digital integrators in the UK, 2020 Vision have been working with Veracity for several years, and have successfully installed hundreds of Instek systems.

The solution for the EICC involved 4 Instek DVR systems to provide 64 channels of recording, with a powerful three-screen operator Command Centre interface, displaying camera trees, camera groups, interactive site mapping, alarm management, multi-channel simultaneous replay, and a fully-configurable live video matrix.

The Results

2020 Vision completed the control room move and re-installation on time and on budget. 2020 managed the whole project and co-ordinated with the client to ensure a smooth move and a minimum of system downtime. All the DVR systems were installed and brought up to full recording operation without problems. Although integration with a range of legacy PTZ control systems and protocols is never easy, 2020 Vision’s highly experienced engineers, coupled with the flexibility of the MatriVideo system, meant that full camera control was available through the recording system before hand-over.

Even prior to any formal training provided by 2020 Vision, the security system operators were up and running with the new MatriVideo system, finding it incredibly easy to work with. Live viewing or playback with the intuitive “drag and drop” camera display capabilities and site maps are all extremely easy to use. Location of any specific camera, date and time for playback is very simple and fast, with zoomable time-bar graphics to assist. Built-in advanced smart-search features also help the operators locate specific events, such as when a car has moved, who opened a fire exit, or even the last person to be in a particular room or area. A popular feature is the instant reverse playback, which allows an operator observing an incident to instantly play the scene backwards from live with a single mouse click, while of course the system carries on recording everything that happens. “Cloning” of camera views, by dragging one camera view onto another display window, allows the operators to use this instant replay facility whilst simultaneously keeping an eye on the current live scene. Such features and functions are a pleasure to use and allow the operators to concentrate on their main job, which is maintaining the security for all staff and visitors on site.

EICC security representative Sandy is very pleased with the end result. “The new CCTV system from Veracity and installed by 2020 Vision has enhanced picture clarity and increased storage as well as being scalable and well supported. The new system will not only support our current needs but has also been chosen because it can support our development plans over the long term, which is very important for us”.

Technical Features

The Instek system has been designed from the ground up to be a complete video management solution taking advantages of all the latest in digital imaging and recording technology, including a client-server architecture, hybrid analogue/IP camera recording systems, embedded Linux operating systems, real-time video analytics, mega-pixel camera recording, network video matrix, video wall display systems and extremely high-capacity and high reliability recording units. The client-server architecture is a crucial feature. This means that the recorders (servers) are separate machines doing nothing but recording and video serving, while the client machines are the workstations used by the operators. Thus the operators cannot accidentally or deliberately change settings, interfere with or switch off the recording process, or delete recorded data.

These highly reliable DVRs run under the Linux operating system that is ideal for 24/7 high-reliability server operation. Both the Linux OS and the DVR server software are stored on solid-state memory forming a system which is highly resistant to viruses and other malware, removing the need for anti-virus software and continual system updating. The recorded video data is stored on up to eight front-loading disk drive units offering up to 8,000GB of disk capacity per recorder.

The MatriVideo system DVRs are capable of recording both analogue and IP cameras. A key capability of the MatriVideo DVR is video streaming. The DVR can produce networked live video streams from all analogue and IP cameras connected to the DVR, thus negating the need for any separate IP video encoders to provide streaming from the analogue video sources.

The operator Command Centres run under the Windows operating system, providing a fully-featured graphical user interface on either a single screen, or spread across three screens for the most powerful and comprehensive system control.

The Future

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is an important facility for the city of Edinburgh, and as it develops, the security system will develop with it. Likely future enhancements include deeper access control integration to the video management system, increased camera counts, remote monitoring during shut-down periods and eventually, in-line with the way most major facilities will operate in the future, the addition of mega-pixel surveillance technology for increased detail and image quality.

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Peter Houlis - 2020 Vision Systems Limited

Peter Houlis


2020 Vision Systems Limited
28 Northumberland Square
North Shields
Tyne & Wear
NE30 1PW
United Kingdom

Tel. +44. 0191 296 2662

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