The vital need to customise VMS systems
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) appointed EES Africa (Pty) Ltd to design and manage the installation of new Video Management Software (VMS) for their campus. The client wanted the VMS to fully integrate with their current Access Control, Fire Detection and Intrusion Systems.
ESS is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company providing management, engineering and auditing services to a range of industries throughout Africa. It specialises in the integration of multiple systems infrastructure including ICT, data centres, audio visual, life safety, security and building automations systems.
When selecting and integrating a new VMS system with the elements of an existing security system, it is not a case of “one size fits all”. It is vital to select the most suitable VMS to meet the client’s particular needs, the result being a customised video surveillance solution,” says Anton Hochleutner, Director, ESS Africa, who managed the UWC project.
“We decided that the best way to achieve this was to invite various manufacturers to come to the university and demonstrate their products in a live environment to show the integration in action, and not only assure us of their integration capabilities.”
Sub-systems to be integrated
The sub-systems of the UWC security system which needed to be integrated with the VMS were:
- Impro access control technology
- Salto electronic access control systems
- Ziton fire detection panels
- DSC security, fire and card access equipment, which includes hardwired and addressable control panels, alarm devices and central station receivers.
“When the sub-systems are activated, by an intruder for example, they generate alarms and send signals to the VMS via software integrations. This allows the control room operator to manage and handle the situation from a single work station”
One-site VMS demonstrations
The EES Africa project team decided the best plan of action was for each manufacturer to demonstrate their products individually over a period of a month.
“Five VMS manufacturers were invited to demonstrate their products and four accepted the invitation’ explains Hochleutner. “In addition to their integration capabilities, the VMS suppliers had to demonstrate their Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) capabilities on campus in the actual environment”
Each VMS had to meet a list of practical criteria including:
- Video analytics
- Integration of various camera manufacturers
- Interactive mapping
- Bi-directional audio (talking and listening)
- Integration of input/output (I/O) devices
- Ability to record Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)
- Ease of use for operator
Once all of the demonstrations were complete, the project team reviewed the data and by means of a scoring matrix arrived at the product best suited to the needs of the university. The product references were checked and the chosen VMS manufacturer, Cathexis, was announced.
“Out of all four VMS suppliers that demonstrated their product on campus, Cathexis achieved the best results in integrating to the existing systems and demonstrating their features in a live environment. The client also took pricing and backup services into account,” states Hochleutner.
“This was always going to be a long process but I felt that to truly achieve a fair platform for the client to make an informed decision, it had to be done this way. What we as the project team achieved was a VMS that ideally suited the individual needs of the client and offers them a system that will allow them to grow in the future.”
Hochleutner adds: “I want to thank the companies that took part in the process for all their effort.”
The process demonstrates the commitment ESS Africa shows to its clients and that the company strives to see real capabilities of the system, as opposed to only relying on brochures and specifications when offering advice.