MOBOTIX cameras and Overland Storage® Snap Server®
the ultimate solution for video surveillance and
Based in Sydney, Australia, SNP Security is the largest
privately owned security firm in Australia, with over 85 years of security
experience. SNP Security provides integrated security solutions, including
personnel services, electronics and monitoring services. Companies of all sizes
and industries use SNP Security to protect their infrastructure, including
Australia Post and Sydney Airport - a client of over 40 years.
SNP Security possesses expertise in
delivering electronic surveillance systems, when quality and reliability are
absolutely essential. A team of expert engineers design, install and maintain
professional video surveillance systems in a variety of corporate and municipal
settings. One such account is one of the largest financial institutions in
Australia, which hired SNP Security to completely overhaul its video
The financial institution's video surveillance
system employed dated technology that suffered from a variety of complications.
Comprised of analog cameras and PC-based Digital Video Recorders (DVRs ), the
system could no longer scale to meet the financial institution's changing needs.
The system consisted of a single, 16-channel DVR that processed video input from
cameras throughout the site. Since all 16 channels of the DVR were utilised by
the existing system, the installation of any additional cameras would require an
additional DVR to manage their operations.
Due to the inherent security risks of
Windows-based DVRs, the financial institution's policy also prohibited the video
system from being attached to the network. This caused the system to become not
only physically separated from the larger infrastructure, but from the IT
consciousness, as well. This caused the video surveillance system to be omitted
from routine system and network upgrades, since all planning revolved around the
non-PC infrastructure that housed essential customer and business data. With
each upgrade, the video surveillance system became increasingly isolated and
thus largely neglected.
There was no capability to review video output in
realtime, or in an integrated fashion. Instead, any such review required the use
of low-bandwidth phone lines, making the performance of such activities
burdensome and time consuming. Camera resolution was also a significant issue,
with low resolution images that were incapable of displaying sharp visual
details, should any problem arise in the financial institution that required a
comprehensive review of the captured footage.
Since the advancement of analog
components effectively halted with the advent of digital technology, the
financial institution realised that these gaps would remain permanent. In fact,
the gaps would only become more pronounced as the financial institution's needs
increased, while the available technology remained stagnant.
Needs of the new system
As it designed a new solution
to the financial institution's needs, SNP Security first determined the need for
an intelligent system with fully programmable cameras, possessing the
flexibility to modify settings based on pre-set trigger events. It was also
essential that the cameras and their storage work in a non-PC environment for
added reliability and enhanced security of the system, itself. This would enable
the entire system to be integrated with the financial institution's existing IT
infrastructure, thereby automatically including it in upgrade and routine
SNP Security consultant Neil Whipp was passionate about
employing new technology that would provide for high resolution images today,
along with built-in flexibility for future growth to correspond with the
financial institution's future needs. "Using newer digital technology, we can
get anywhere from 1.3 megapixels to 3.0 megapixels, and it's only going to get
better", explained Whipp. He was also determined to design a system that would
write directly to storage and enable users to view live images from multiple
cameras, as well as from the storage device.
The video capture solution
Once the needs were fully
assessed, SNP Security selected MOBOTIX IP network cameras as the video source.
The MOBOTIX cameras were the ideal solution for the financial institution's
needs, offering a fully intelligent system that could be pointed directly at
storage. Each camera would provide 1.3 megapixel images, which is 12 times the
resolution of the financial institution's existing analog cameras.
To complete the first installation, 33
MOBOTIX cameras were employed to provide 34 distinct images throughout the
facility. The cameras were pre-programmed to continuously capture two frames per
second, then automatically ramp to the industry-standard six frames per second
when triggered by a pre-established alarm input such as video motion or sound
detection. With three digital zoom levels and true color capture, details such
as facial features could be captured and viewed, as needed.
The cameras were quickly set up and
managed using the MxControlCenter, the MOBOTIX video management software that is
available free of charge from the company's Web site. The MxControlCenter
provides a single interface for monitoring the output from an unlimited number
of local or remote cameras, or to facilitate time searches and time synchronous
playback of stored video.
Each camera manages its own storage and was programmed to
utilise the MOBOTIX proprietary MxPEG format to minimise network load. Though
the cameras also support the MJPEG format, MxPEG format requires far less
capacity than MJPEG, enabling far less demand on the Corporate network, as well
as on the storage device.
By setting the camera to use an MxPEG stream (codec),
significantly lower data rates are required, as compared to MJPEG. A camera set
to VGA resolution at a rate of 25fps would require 10GB per 24-hour period per
camera, at full frame rate including audio. At 6fps, the same camera would only
require 2.5GB per 24-hour period, at time lapse including audio.
The storage solution
Snap Server was
selected for the storage solution. Utilising a Linux-based operating system for
reliability and security, the
Overland Storage Snap Server
line of storage systems were completely compatible with the MOBOTIX cameras and
could be integrated into the financial institution's existing LAN without
problems. Snap Servers also provide remarkable scalability, from 160GB desktop
19-inch rackmount systems that can scale from 1TB to 66TB
of storage capacity, so the storage
purchase for this installation could be limited to only what was actually
needed. Moreover, the scalability of the Snap Servers left the door open for
future growth, if the financial institution's surveillance or archiving needs
financial institution's storage needs were relatively small, three Overland
Snap Server 110, 500 GB units
were chosen. 11 camera images were pointed at each Snap Server to balance the
load and each Snap Server was configured to run independently on the corporate
The new surveillance system has been in place for over one
year and the results have exceeded the financial institution's expectations.
Three 750 GB Windowsbased Pentium-class DVRs have been replaced by three
Snap Server 110 units.
Hardware that was dramatically out of date in a continually
worsening situation by virtue of its orphaned status was replaced with current
technology attached directly to the Corporate LAN, thereby including it in all
future upgrades and routine maintenance. Windowsbased DVRs with stability and
security issues have been replaced with Linux-based Snap Servers for maximum
reliability and security. Low resolution analog video was replaced with 1.3
megapixel true color video with digital zoom, enabling the administrator to view
details of specific images such as facial features.
By all measurements, the MOBOTIX/Snap
Server solution implemented by SNP Security has been an overwhelming success.
The financial institution's current video surveillance needs are well in hand
and any future growth can be easily managed through the intelligence of the
MOBOTIX cameras, coupled with the scalability of the Snap Servers. Moreover, the
initial SNP Security plan incorporated the potential for growth in the financial
institution's surveillance needs. Quite simply, the plan is to add more MOBOTIX
cameras and Snap Server 110 units, as necessary, providing unlimited
extensibility of the solution. Should the financial institution's archiving
needs increase, the solution is equally uncomplicated. Changing the current
Snap Server 110 to
a larger Snap Server system would be a quick hardware adjustment that would not
require any modification to the software or underlying infrastructure.
Snap Server provided the perfect solution",
said Whipp. "The cameras are fully
intelligent and no third-party software is required to manage the cameras or the
storage. By combining MOBOTIX and
Overland Storage Snap Server
in a joint solution, we were able to provide this customer with distributed
intelligence combined with distributed storage.