Digital video encoders and megapixel cameras from Hikvision are being used throughout Macedonia by one of the country's leading telecommunication companies, Makedonski Telekom AD – Skopje, at their stores, corporate offices and relay stations.
Makedonski Telekom supplies fixed network services, broadband and TV over Internet Protocol (IPTV) throughout the Republic of Macedonia. The company's 'Fiber to Home' initiative aims to bring connections at speeds of up to 100Mbps to every home in the country.
Makedonski Telekom's parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, is respected for its 'green' credentials, even to the extent of collaborating with Motorola on a cell phone made from recycled plastic water bottles. It was therefore a requirement in the tender for updating video surveillance that analogue cameras which were still fit for purpose should be integrated into the networked system, so minimizing carbon footprint. The consultant and installer, NIKOB Security, responded to this requirement by using Hikvision video encoders to convert analogue footage into IP streams so that legacy cameras could co-exist with IP-addressable units.
An additional challenge was the high value and compact dimensions of products such as iPhones and Smartphones which attract career criminals rather than opportunist thieves. The Hikvision cameras are being used in Makedonski Telekom's standalone 'T-Home' stores and at other stores run in association with T-Mobile Macedonia. Regular shoplifters have knowledge of likely camera coverage areas, and it was vital that the Hikvision cameras should protect an entire store but without having an intrusive visual presence for legitimate customers.
In order that the legacy cameras could co-exist with the new network units, NIKOB Security chose Hikvision's digital video encoders which can create digital streams at 4CIF resolution of up to 25 fps (PAL) and 30fps (NTSC). The encoders feature an embedded Linux OS, employ H.264 compression and support variable bit rate and frame rate. A hundred and fifty encoders have been used on the project.
This approach has allowed the original inherited cameras to be integrated seamlessly with the new 1.3 megapixel units. The hybrid solution has optimized return on investment (ROI) while giving Makedonski Telekom a networked surveillance system that is controlled at headquarters in Skopje where recording is to PC servers using Hikvision's iVMS client software.
Image quality is vital in this sector because small high-value items such as iPhones and Smartphones can be easily concealed by thieves. However, retailers often feel obliged to allow customers to inspect working models rather than dummy units and it is often impractical to install alarms on display cabinets.
The Hikvision 1.3 megapixel cameras used on this project offer effective pixels of 1280 (H) x 960 (V) based on a 1/3" SONY progressive scan CCD. Makedonski Telekom's use of the camera footage is predominantly for live monitoring to detect theft and if the video is to be used to prosecute shoplifters, image resolution must satisfy evidential requirements in a law court.
The Hikvision megapixel cameras are proving versatile in Makedonski Telekom's various premises. These locations include shop floors and storefront displays where there can be extremes of shadow and highlight. Managers have said that the ability to adjust saturation, brightness and contrast through client software helps meet the challenges presented by display glazing and unusual ambient light.
The cameras are not just used internally but have also been fitted in outdoor loading and goods delivery areas. Facilities managers report that the cameras' wide range of shutter speeds (1/25 ~ 1/100,000s) makes them exceptionally versatile. Minimum illumination is 0.1Lux at F1.2 in color mode and 0.01Lux @ F1.2 in black and white mode. This means that with activation of the IR cut filter, the camera can secure outdoor premises 24/7.
Crucially, these Hikvision megapixel cameras are helping Makedonski Telekom to conserve bandwidth since, depending on mains power frequency, frame rates can be 12.5fps, 15fps, 25fps or 30fps with image quality being adjusted according to location. Use of bandwidth and RAID resources can be optimized further and eventless footage can be minimized if recording is triggered by motion detection. The cameras also offer intelligent alarm on video tampering, video loss, network disconnection and IP address conflict.
As a leading technology company, Makedonski Telekom is forward-thinking in terms of potential for integrating video surveillance with complementary disciplines such as Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS), RFID and intelligent building management. The fact that these Hikvision cameras are ONVIF and PSIA-conformant was therefore an advantage over competitive offerings.
Headquartered in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, NIKOB Security has 30 years' experience across many security disciplines including CCTV, emergency monitoring (medical and fire), manned guarding and cash in transit. The company has more than 600 employees and provides consultancy as well as project fulfilment. NIKOB Security has ISO 9000:2001 accreditation.