University of East Anglia transitions to central IP surveillance from Axis and Milestone.

UEA builds future-proof platform for upgrade to IP video, access control and ANPR integration.

28th July 2008 – excerpt from an Axis Communications PRESS RELEASE

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is an internationally renowned, campus-style university set in 320 acres of parkland.   It provides academic, social and cultural facilities to over 14,000 students, with 2,500 non-UK students from more than 100 countries worldwide.  The university employs around 3,000 staff.

Defining requirements for modern day surveillance system

In 2003, the UEA appointed Mike McCormack as Campus Services Manager with overall responsibility for security throughout the campus.   Looking at the existing CCTV infrastructure, McCormack quickly recognised that the system was not delivering to standards expected of a modern 21st century surveillance system. 

McCormack initiated a complete review of security management.  He recognised that there had not been a video surveillance strategy in place before and for years a great many cameras had been installed across the campus in an ad-hoc way.  The UEA was battling with a myriad of proprietary camera systems so the existing analogue CCTV system had major limitations.  He saw an opportunity to centralise and consolidate the surveillance system through the use of the central fibre IP (Internet Protocol), thereby opening the system to wider integration with access control and other relevant applications in the future.  

Trial and roll out

Check Your Security (CYS) was chosen for having a strong track record in integrating existing CCTV systems into future-proofed IP-Surveillance systems, founded by Carl Pace, who is the managing director.  He recommended a trial of network cameras, attaching network cameras to a car park barrier area with the addition of an intercom, using a PC connected in a security officer’s lodge to view the video.  This trial addressed all of the image quality issues as it was producing better pictures than their existing analogue cameras.  Images could then be fed through Milestone XProtect Enterprise video management software which made it simple to view, handle and record images, allowing shots of the driver and the car to be easily matched. 

The UEA decided to embark on an ambitious project to upgrade their analogue CCTV system to IP-Surveillance, install new network cameras to provide surveillance to outdoor areas on the campus and to completely revamp the control room to install a video management system that captures and distributes images of incidents.  UEA made a strategic decision to choose an open IP-based platform that would take advantage of their extensive fibre network infrastructure and be future-proofed from the perspective of upgrading and integration with other systems. 

Getting technical

CYS operates on a ‘best of breed’ approach.  Pace specified 30 AXIS 232D and AXIS 233D Network Dome cameras. The AXIS 233D offers 35x optical zoom and is ideal for surveillance in open areas with the ability to quickly focus on specific detail.  For the university’s existing 90 analogue cameras, CYS installed 23 AXIS 243Q, & 243SA four and single channel video encoders. The encoders are used to digitise video signals from analogue cameras. 

The control room was completely transformed.  The bank of video recorders and multiplexers were replaced with a small rack of Axis encoders, three workstations of 24” monitors and a manageable number of LCD wall-mounted screens.  CYS installed Milestone’s Enterprise video management system.  In terms of storage the university currently uses three HP servers each currently configured with 16 Terabyte capacity. Because these servers have flexible direct attached storage, scaling storage requirements to whatever size UEA requires both now and in the future is relatively simple. These servers have flexible attached storage that can grow to very large capacity.  

Rapid and effective response to incidents

Mike McCormack commented:  “Using IP-Surveillance has provided us with a major increase in the effectiveness of my 28-strong manned guarding team.  We fully use the functionality of our IP-Surveillance system, with features such as motion detection, zoning and tripwire to trigger alarms only when individuals enter restricted areas for example.  As any security manager knows, video footage is ideal to ascertain the movement and actions of an individual, but a good still picture is crucial for identification, and this is what our IP-Surveillance system now delivers.  The clarity of the images is excellent, and with Milestone’s software and Axis’ network cameras and encoders we can quickly hone in on the images we need to send to our teams, or to the police, via email or on a DVD.”

Carl Pace comments: “The system is scalable from both a hardware, software and storage perspective. The system now in place is in essence limitless, capable of growing to thousands of cameras across multiple sites using multiple servers, whilst having the ability to be integrated with the campus’ access control and ANPR systems. With this implementation of Milestone, the UEA has one of the most flexible network video implementations available in the world today. Being an open IP system means that we can suggest best-of-breed equipment for our customers.  For instance, the Milestone video management system can work with over 300 different cameras and other devices.  In our opinion Axis offers best-of-breed network cameras because of their picture quality, proven track record and innovation in the marketplace. “

For Check Your Security, this eight month project with the UEA now forms phase one of a longer term partnership, as the UEA continues to expand its systems further.  Further building projects include the construction of new halls of residence for 700 students and new teaching facilities, as well as new academic buildings, extensions to the university’s sports park and the construction of a biomass power plant.

Read the full details in the Axis University of East Anglia customer case story.