Video Surveillance Using Mobile High Speed Data

by Orange

Pedagog is an award-winning developer of bespoke end-to-end video solutions over mobile phone networks, pioneering the first real-time video 2G GSM solutions in 1998.

Identifying an opportunity to produce a low-cost, high-quality video surveillance system under the Safer Towns Initiative, Pedagog turned to the Orange Developers' Forum to trial the UK's first wirefree™ closed circuit TV (CCTV) device.

As part of the Safer Towns Initiative, the UK government had put aside a dedicated budget specifically for the purchase and installation of surveillance systems for small towns and communities. However, when the real costs of installing CCTV were aggregated - from digging up the roads, to laying cables, to the actual cost of wiring, purchasing cameras, monitoring the stations, manpower and hardware - the budget still lay outside the reach of over 42,000 smaller communities throughout the UK.

For some time, Pedagog had been developing a rival system to CCTV - a wirefree™ system that worked over a mobile communications network, but while the system - Open Circuit Television (OCTV) - offers a low-cost, viable solution, a key hurdle still remained: the GSM-based system was unable to sustain high-quality images in real-time. Pedagog needed a technology that could transfer streaming data at high-speeds without diminishing quality.

Through its long-standing membership of the Orange Developers' Forum, Pedagog found the solution to its problem.

The Orange Developers' Forum is open to companies of all sizes who are committed to sharing knowledge and technical capabilities to devise innovative mobile voice and data solutions.   From its informal beginnings in late 1999, to its official creation in September 2000, the Orange Developers' Forum has grown to over 400 companies and has seen some significant collaborations across a wide range of commercial products and services.

As a member of the Orange Developers' Forum Pedagog was, in April 2000, given early access to Orange UK's High-Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) network, the UK's only high-speed data network, and was consequently able to create and test a solution before High Speed Data was officially launched.

The argument for OCTV is a strong one and Orange UK didn't hesitate in giving its full support during the trial period. As a wirefree™ technology, OCTV running on High Speed Data is not only cheaper than fixed line CCTV (no cables to lay under roads, etc) but it is also more flexible (not being permanently routed to one spot) and deployment of the system is rapid (again, no major work involved in installing the cameras). The flexibility of the technology also means that new markets are opened up where temporary surveillance is required.

The first ever Home Office-sponsored trial took place in Hexam, Northumberland, in November 2000, using GSM and HSCSD, with close support from both Orange UK and the Northumberland Police Force.

Police Constable Harry Wilkinson, Crime Prevention Officer at Northumbria Police and one of the officers supporting the trials, comments, "Up until now, smaller communities in the region have been unable to take advantage of the Government's Safer Town subsidies due to the extremely high cost of CCTV. It's a relief for the region that a system that does the job is available at a fraction of the cost. We can control the cameras easily and installation was very straightforward. Performance over HSCSD compared to GSM was significantly enhanced in terms of video frame rate and speed of control."

The trials were confirmed a success by the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) in February 2001.  Currently over 25 town centres are expected to receive Home Office grants for OCTV systems in the future.  Each of these systems is likely to be between 3 to 10 camera and monitor ends and to require High Speed Data access.

The scope for using the technology in the future is boundless - from enabling consumers to keep an eye on their homes to allowing site managers to monitor their construction sites.  Police forces nation-wide are convinced and the business and consumer markets are already beginning to take notice.

Reviewed January 2011

last updated : 21/01/2011

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