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Invisible Security, Visible Deterrence

Is it possible to combine effective perimeter security with an open and welcoming customer ethos? Provided the requirement is identified and built into the project at the design stage, it can be done. The International Centre for Business Improvement and the Concorde exhibit at Manchester Airports Aviation Viewing Park provide two excellent examples.

By Jeanny Lim

Well established perimeter surveillance systems are transparent for the customer while deterring the unwelcome visitor.  (Photo by Norbain)




The International Centre for Business Improvement (ICBI), part of the Boxwood Group, is located in a remarkable purpose built facility on the outskirts of Leeds, the U.K.  A design statement as well as a commercial building, the external and internal design of the Centre evokes many of the corporate values of Boxwood.
The ambience the ICBI has set out to achieve is central to the organisations purpose which is focused on empowering the countrys leading organisations to excel.  This is a center for serious reflection, out of the box thinking and corporate creativity.  Its also a place for fun and relaxation as indicated by the wealth of entertainment equipment available to visitors.  Since the company was founded in 1998, the ICBI has achieved audited business improvements valued in excess of £1.7 billion and the business itself has grown from two to eighty people.
The Center opened in October 2003.  Throughout the design and build process, the security requirements were paramount.  Situated on a relatively new business park, the ICBI remains in an open and exposed position with a lengthy history of vandalism and opportunist break-ins.  Although one option was to introduce very visible and tight physical security this was seen as undesirable.  Certainty Security Services was appointed to design, supply and install the comprehensive range of security systems at the ICBI.  Assisted by Norbain, Certainty recommended a combination of CCTV and PIR to provide perimeter security, VNPR (Vehicle Number Plate Recognition) for vehicular access control and a Cotag solution to manage physical access into and within the building itself.  The only "physical" security is provided by low, steel hoops that surround the building.  "Our overall objective," explains Certainty Group Managing Director, Bill Squires, "is to maintain the integrity of the building whilst balancing this with the Centers focus on providing visitors with an extraordinarily high level of customer service and personalised welcome."
The number plate recognition system in use is Vistas VNPR solution installed at both the car park entrance and exit.  Visitors notify the ICBI in advance of their vehicle number plate and are allotted a personalised parking space on site.  As well as providing very effective vehicular security, the system enables reception staff to offer a personalised greeting to visitors.  As Bill Squires commented, "Recognising that we needed a barrier we decided we should employ it to maximum customer service advantage."
Perimeter security consists of a combination of twelve judiciously positioned Vista vandal resistant domes (VVRD4V8C-LP), Vista PowerDomes (VPD-2WP-P-C) and Vista static cameras (VPCMX-LV and VVRCCM) around the exterior of the building and the car park, at the barrier intercom and in reception.  Alarm activated PIR detectors cover all four lines of sight around the oblong building itself with the domes pre-set to switch position whenever the PIR beam is broken. 

The International Centre for Business Improvement, part of the Boxwood Group, Leeds, U.K.  (Photo by Norbain)

Images from all the sites cameras are fed to a Vista TriplexTM Columbus Digital Video Recorder (VC16TE-320) in the Centres IT hub with the installation completed by a Vista keyboard (NPX/RKBD/J3De) and a 15" Vista monitor (VLFSM15/DW). 
Jamie Hacker, the Centres Facilities Administrator, speaks highly of the Vista equipment for its ease of use.  "Intuitive and easy to learn, weve especially noticed how quickly staff with little previous IT experience can get up to speed with the system very quickly."
Networked to the companys Local Area Network, images may be monitored from different points within the building.  The Vista WaveReader software that is supplied with the Vista Triplex Columbus DVR provides a visual notification on screen whenever an alarm is activated.  Recording is continuous during the day and alarm activated at night with images stored on the Vista Triplex Columbus?320GB hard disk for approximately 14 days.
Facilities Manager, Sarah Philips, who is responsible for the site as a whole, echoed Jamie Hackers earlier comments adding that the security system was the least of her worries.  "This is one of the most important systems within the building.  It was installed well, on schedule and everything was working correctly before we moved in.  Certainty provided ideal training too."
All the security equipment for the site was supplied by Norbain but, as Bill Squires pointed out, the service provided by Norbain far exceeded that of the traditional distributor.  "Several members of Norbains sales and technical staff visited the site and contributed to project meetings and post installation configuration.  Our business development team relies extensively on Norbain for providing product, technical and design support.  Were also very comfortable with the Vista range and recognise the supreme way in which Norbain combines value for money, logistical excellence and first rate backup and support."




When the Concorde fleet was recently taken out of service after some 30 years of air travel, British Airways decided to place one of the aircraft on permanent display at Manchester Airports Aviation Viewing Park.
With Concorde significantly raising the status of the exhibit and visitor numbers to the aviation viewing centre, an appropriate level of security was required, for which Time CCTV of Macclesfield was commissioned.  The objectives specified for the system were: protection and detection around the perimeter of the exhibit; clear crisp images under all likely conditions of the day and night; digital recording of images; on site monitoring from dawn to dusk; and out-of-hours monitoring off site.  There were constraints too.  Because the site is a visitor exhibit, the system needed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
The design was built around five cameras and four PIR detectors, with the images being stored on a local DVR and also being sent to the remote site.  The PIR system can sound an alarm tone in both control centres in the event of movement detection.  There is also a PA system at the site so that the local and remote control rooms can deliver voice warnings and advice as required.
The four external cameras are 1/3" Pecan SC5712ST high resolution low voltage colour/monochrome using Computar lenses -- the TG4Z2813AFCS vari-focal 4X 2.8~12mm lens, and the longer focus TG10Z0513AFCS vari-focal 10X 5~50mm lens, all in Dennard D506 outdoor housings.
In low light the whole area is illuminated by infra-red light from 4 Vista 300W Infra-Red flood lamps, with infra-red being used because of the restriction on visible light at the airport perimeter.  With any installation using infra-red lighting it is essential that the cameras will work well with the IR light -- not all cameras do, and this was one of the key selection criteria for the cameras and lenses.
The PIR detectors are Redwall LRP100Q units with a range of 100metres.  The cosmetic considerations of the site required that the cameras and PIR detectors were mounted discreetly on existing poles, and the wireless restrictions meant that the PIR detectors had to be cabled backed to the control centre, rather than using simpler wireless connections.  There is a fifth camera inside the visitor centre -- a Vista VFD-13C 1/3" colour mini dome.


Concorde is displayed as an exhibit at Manchester Airports Aviation Viewing Park.  (Photo by Norbain)


The DVR is a VideoSwitch VDC/9/G160, a compact 9 way 160 gigabyte device with built-in CD writer for quick archiving of images.  The on-site control centre uses a single Vista Tv14e colour monitor for viewing.  The cabling is 300 metres of high quality co-ax, a run length that requires no boosting.
Connection to the remote viewing centre is enabled by an Adpro 200905 FSM-Tx, Fast Scan Mini, 5 channel Transmitter, using a modem to link to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) for two-way connection with the remote site.  Two-way connection is needed for both interrogation of the on-site DVR, and the delivery of voice over the PA system.
Conrad Holgate of Time CCTV is very pleased with the design and its effectiveness.  He explained, "This is an important and high-profile site, and our design options were limited by number of technical restrictions because of the airport location.  The result is fully functional, the picture and record quality is excellent day and night, and the PIR detectors and cameras provide a total and secure coverage of the perimeter.  The call-out in the event of a problem goes straight to the Airport Police, who can be on site very quickly.  We use Norbain to supply most of our security equipment, and we usually check our designs with them before placing our order.  We get good advice, for example on whether camera A will work well with infra-red lamp B, and they may suggest that we also consider some alternative products as required.  It is very helpful for any installer to have this breadth of up-to-date technical knowledge to fall back on whenever it is needed."
The client is also content that the new exhibit is well protected.  Richard Edwards, Airfield Facilities & Contracts Manager with Manchester Airport said, "Concorde has proved a huge success at the Aviation Viewing Park, and I am satisfied with the level of security afforded by the perimeter surveillance.  Time CCTV and Norbain have certainly delivered an excellent system, meeting the specification and providing complete high-quality coverage of risk areas."



Jeanny Lim is editor-in-chief of SecurityWorld INTL. Send your comments to



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