Protecting community assets

by Tiffany Paczek
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Shoalhaven City Council is taking the future into its own hands and implementing new security systems to deliver high-quality, low-maintenance solutions.

Shoalhaven is located on the south coast of New South Wales, approximately 160 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD, with a population of almost 103,000. Shoalhaven City Council is looking towards a safe and sustainable future, and its stated vision for the year 2023 is to “work together in Shoalhaven to foster a safe, attractive place for people to live, work, stay and play, where sustainable growth, development and environmental protection are managed to provide a unique and relaxed lifestyle”.

As it serves the current and future needs of its community, the Council is rolling out new surveillance systems that protect its key assets. With this goal in mind, Shoalhaven City Council has worked with Panasonic to install video surveillance across 10 sites, including community centres, animal shelters, aquatic and leisure centres, water reservoirs and sewage treatment plants. A further five sites are expected to be added in 2018 to 2019, including two major upgrades at sewage treatment plants in Bomaderry and Nowra.

In the area of asset protection, the Council has increased the capabilities, quality and reliability of its video surveillance systems at key sites, by moving from analogue technology to Panasonic Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, which provide high-quality image capture and are backed by network video recorders for high-volume data recording. Simple internet cable installation makes it quick to get the systems up and running.

Stuart Dryburgh, communication technician at Shoalhaven City Council, says, “Previously we had fewer analogue cameras, but more maintenance. With IP, not only is the visual quality a huge step up, but we have more cameras and less maintenance, which frees us up for other important Council tasks.”

With the costs of data storage and the associated burden on network traffic an important consideration when expanding a surveillance network, the Council is benefiting from installing network video recorders for local storage on large sites.

This allows Shoalhaven City Council to cost-effectively meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements at locations such as the Ulladulla Waste Depot, where vehicle and weighbridge information must be backed up for 12 months once collected.

Dryburgh explains, “Where our analogue systems could only store around three weeks of footage, we can now store 44 terabytes and about 500 days of 24/7 recording.”

The Council has also begun transitioning to H.265 high data compression technology as it updates its sites. At the Bay and Basin Leisure Centre in Vincentia, H.265 cameras provide the crisp imaging and fast motion detection needed for monitoring around the clock in the 24-hour gym facility, while the built-in smart technology compresses images to reduce the load on storage infrastructure. IP cameras are also installed throughout the aquatic centre to provide a secure environment for customers, with two six-terabyte video recorders allowing for the retrieval of any footage that needs to be reviewed by police or other authorities.

Dryburgh says that feedback from staff at the centre had been very positive. “When we first started putting in the IP cameras, management saw the difference and were keen to have the technology throughout. The older cameras could miss important vision, particularly with motion – now they can see the site much more clearly and have 24-hour backup.”

Systems already currently installed in Shoalhaven sewage treatment plants provide 24/7 plant monitoring so staff can view ladders and sewer inlets, as well as covering after-hours security. The Bombaderry and Nowra sewage treatment plants will be the next locations to receive the benefits of an H.265 installation.

Ranjit Sohoni, product marketing manager, Security Systems, says, “We’re pleased to be able to support Shoalhaven City Council with reliable, future-proof security solutions as they work to ensure that services and infrastructure continue to meet the needs of the local community.” ●

This article also appears in the October/November issue of FM magazine.

Images courtesy of Shoalhaven City Council.

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