Paringdon Sports Club is a unique venue offering a multitude of sporting, fitness and social activities for the community of Harlow, a town of 90,000 people just north of London, England. The site which was formerly the staff leisure and sports ground for GlaxoSmithkline, was taken over in 2011 to provide its members with the capabilities to improve their health and fitness, learn new sporting activities, participate in team sports and social events, but most importantly to offer relaxed and intimate surroundings for the community.

Security Upgrade And Automation

The 17-acre site includes a range of outdoor sporting facilities and a clubhouse with indoor sports facilities, fitness and dance classes, and a gymnasium. The clubhouse offers 2 licensed bars and is well known for a variety of social events. Alongside its 1100 registered members, the club welcomes over seventy-five thousand visitors each year with flagship events like its annual kids soccer tournament, hosting 50 teams and supporters over a summer weekend. As a venue that prides itself on maintaining a safe and family-friendly atmosphere, the venue has had a long-term commitment to safety and security and has used monitored CCTV security for over 20 years.

However, with a growing membership and extended opening hours from 6am to 12am on certain days, senior management felt that an upgrade to security, plus a level of automation could help to further enhance security and reduce the management burden.

“Our old analog system was starting to show its age with relatively low-quality images and some reliability concerns,” explains Troy Mead, Director of Paringdon Sports Club, “What we needed was a better quality system but also ways to make it more flexible in terms of management as we didn’t want to have to dedicate any more time to CCTV monitoring when there are other more pressing things to deal with when running a busy venue.”

Alongside CCTV, the Club also recognized a growing need for IT and network infrastructure to deliver services such as WiFi access and EPOS systems and decided that an upgrade of its structured cabling would be beneficial to the growing facility.

MOBOTIX Partner Switchnet Conducts Site Survey

After examining a number of potential suppliers and technologies, the Club selected Switchnet Systems based on its proven technical capabilities and also its deep experience gained through working with other busy venues, Switchnet is also a highly regarded national MOBOTIX partner. Switchnet carried out a detailed site survey and provided a number of suggestions on how it could improve the Club’s security coverage and local network infrastructure.

One of the most interesting suggestions was the use of analytics, “This idea of a video security system that was also intelligent enough to give us more insights into what was happening around our site was a bit of a revelation,” says Mead, “But more importantly, it was a feature that would be provided without any additional increased cost or negative impact on the higher resolution cameras we had selected for the project.”

The club selected MOBOTIX hemispheric models that would allow a wider area of coverage from the relatively unobtrusive cameras

MOBOTIX Hemispheric Technology For Wider Coverage

In the first phase, the team from Switchnet upgraded the existing structured cabling and updated wireless access points to create a solid foundation for the switch to IP based cameras. Next, Switchnet set up an initial 5 cameras at key areas such as the main reception, key corridors and bar areas. The club selected MOBOTIX hemispheric models that would allow a wider area of coverage from the relatively unobtrusive cameras. “The units we chose look similar to smoke detectors as we wanted to avoid the feeling of ‘big brother’ while still having the best possible image quality,” explains Mead. An additional feature, the MOBOTIX cameras use less than a quarter of the power of its old analog system with Power over Ethernet to reduce cabling infrastructure.

The Club deployed a range of 6MP MOBOTIX cameras which all use decentralized technology that offers several benefits over its old system. “One of the most useful features about the MOBOTIX technology is that we don’t need to have a dedicated monitoring room,” says Mead, “In fact, any of the management team with the right login credentials can check any camera and all historical footage via any internet connected device – including when we are at home of an evening or even via our mobile phones.”

The club keeps several weeks of surveillance video on a resilient Synology NAS device and as an additional security measure; each camera can independently record 30 days’ worth of video in the event of a NAS failure or LAN outage. The implementation of free MOBOTIX Management Center (MxMC) software provided the Club with more value, “The MOBOTIX technology and the expertise of the Switchnet guys has helped us to retain our existing investment in our video security system by allowing the old analog cameras to feed into our new MOBOTIX software,” explains Mead, “This means that we can take our time and gradually move over to MOBOTIX when it suits our schedule and budget.”

Gaining Insight Into A Busy Venue

Yet it was the analytics technology that has proved particularly interesting. “We have only really dipped our toe into the analytics part but it has proven really useful,” says Mead, “The simplest application is people counting as the cameras can tell us useful information about the site through a set of easy to generate reports.”

The club is using MxAnalytics to monitor people entering and leaving the premises to generate statistical data. The people counting information has allowed the Club to analyze footfall within a specified period and in areas of the site such as reception and recreation areas. The people counting can be compared against data from the club’s members ‘electronic sign-in’ system to help the management team create new membership programs that hopefully encourage guests to become full members.

The club is using MxAnalytics to monitor people entering and leaving the premises to generate statistical data
The implementation of free MOBOTIX Management Center (MxMC) software provided the Club with more value

The “Heat mapping” capabilities also helps provide accurate statistical data relating to advertisement and sales promotion within the reception area,” explains Mead “Within reception we have a variety of special offers to existing and non-members, we have various internal and external classes taking place and the graphical analysis will provide us with a clear visual of what’s attracting potential new members, allowing us to strategically tailor our business and sales promotions in the future.”

“The other area where the MxAnalytics can help is in potential overcrowding,” explains Mead, “We can tell extremely quickly how many people are in the building including staff, members and guests which is essential for health and safety as well as working out staffing levels.”

“We can also use it as a backup to our room to room inspection when we are closing up at night to make sure that the number of people entering the club matches with the number that have left – to make sure nobody is still in the building,” Mead adds. The system has proven extremely reliable since its installation and the Sales Director believes that the better visibility over club activities will help the management team to improve customer service and develop new revenue generating opportunities.

Expansion And Upgrades

With the success of the first project, the Club has brought Switchnet in for a second phase that has expanded the installation to 12 MOBOTIX cameras enabling it to retire almost all its legacy analog system. “The image quality is fantastic and the system has allowed us to resolve a very minor theft issue by allowing us to show the person irrefutable evidence via the video security system and get them to return the item without involving the police,” says Mead, “The system has also proven extremely reliable and the flexibility of the monitoring means that if there is any issue we can bring up video footage in just a few minutes from almost anywhere in the site.”

Mead is full of praise for both the MOBOTIX technology and the professionalism of its installer: “Switchnet have delivered a professional service and helped us get the most out of our investment in innovative technology which is helping to provide a safe and secure environment for both staff and guests at the Paringdon Sports Club.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021
New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021

Organizations faced a number of unforeseen challenges in nearly every business sector throughout 2020 – and continuing into 2021. Until now, businesses have been on the defensive, reacting to the shifting workforce and economic conditions, however, COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans. This is now giving decision-makers the chance to take a proactive approach to mitigate current and post-pandemic risks. These long-term technology solutions can be used for today’s new world of social distancing and face mask policies and flexibly repurposed for tomorrow’s renewed focus on efficiency and business optimization. For many, this emphasis on optimization will likely be precipitated by not only the resulting economic impacts of the pandemic but also the growing sophistication and maturity of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), technologies that are coming of age just when they seem to be needed the most.COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans Combined with today’s cutting-edge computer vision capabilities, AI and ML have produced smart cameras that have enabled organizations to more easily implement and comply with new health and safety requirements. Smart cameras equipped with AI-enabled intelligent video analytic applications can also be used in a variety of use cases that take into account traditional security applications, as well as business or operational optimization, uses – all on a single camera. As the applications for video analytics become more and more mainstream - providing valuable insights to a variety of industries - 2021 will be a year to explore new areas of use for AI-powered cameras. Optimizing production workflows and product quality in agriculture Surveillance and monitoring technologies are offering value to industries such as agriculture by providing a cost-effective solution for monitoring of crops, business assets and optimizing production processes. As many in the agriculture sector seek to find new technologies to assist in reducing energy usage, as well as reduce the environmental strain of modern farming, they can find an unusual ally in smart surveillance. Some niche farming organizations are already implementing AI solutions to monitor crops for peak production freshness in order to reduce waste and increase product quality.  For users who face environmental threats, such as mold, parasites, or other insects, smart surveillance monitoring can assist in the early identification of these pests and notify proper personnel before damage has occurred. They can also monitor vast amounts of livestock in fields to ensure safety from predators or to identify if an animal is injured. Using video monitoring in the growing environment as well as along the supply chain can also prove valuable to large-scale agriculture production. Applications can track and manage inventory in real-time, improving knowledge of high-demand items and allowing for better supply chain planning, further reducing potential spoilage. Efficient monitoring in manufacturing and logistics New challenges have arisen in the transportation and logistics sector, with the industry experiencing global growth. While security and operational requirements are changing, smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye, but have a significant impact on the overall customer experience. Smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye. Video analytics can assist logistic service providers in successfully delivering the correct product to the right location and customer in its original condition, which normally requires the supply chain to be both secure and ultra-efficient. The latest camera technology and intelligent software algorithms can analyze footage directly on the camera – detecting a damaged package at the loading dock before it is loaded onto a truck for delivery. When shipments come in, smart cameras can also alert drivers of empty loading bays available for offloading or alert facility staff of potential blockages or hazards for incoming and outgoing vehicles that could delay delivery schedules planned down to the minute. For monitoring and detecting specific vehicles, computer vision in combination with video analysis enables security cameras to streamline access control measures with license plate recognition. Smart cameras equipped with this technology can identify incoming and outgoing trucks - ensuring that only authorized vehicles gain access to transfer points or warehouses. Enhance regulatory safety measures in industrial settings  Smart surveillance and AI-enabled applications can be used to ensure compliance with organizational or regulatory safety measures in industrial environments. Object detection apps can identify if employees are wearing proper safety gear, such as facial coverings, hard hats, or lifting belts. Similar to the prevention of break-ins and theft, cameras equipped with behavior detection can help to automatically recognize accidents at an early stage. For example, if a worker falls to the ground or is hit by a falling object, the system recognizes this as unusual behavior and reports it immediately. Going beyond employee safety is the ability to use this technology for vital preventative maintenance on machinery and structures. A camera can identify potential safety hazards, such as a loose cable causing sparks, potential wiring hazards, or even detect defects in raw materials. Other more subtle changes, such as gradual structural shifts/crack or increases in vibrations – ones that would take the human eye months or years to discover – are detectable by smart cameras trained to detect the first signs of mechanical deterioration that could potentially pose a physical safety risk to people or assets. Early recognition of fire and smoke is another use case where industrial decision-makers can find value. Conventional fire alarms are often difficult to properly mount in buildings or outdoor spaces and they require a lot of maintenance. Smart security cameras can be deployed in difficult or hard-to-reach areas. When equipped with fire detection applications, they can trigger notification far earlier than a conventional fire alarm – as well as reduce false alarms by distinguishing between smoke, fog, or other objects that trigger false alarms. By digitizing analog environments, whether a smoke detector or an analog pressure gauge, decision-makers will have access to a wealth of data for analysis that will enable them to optimize highly technical processes along different stages of manufacturing - as well as ensure employee safety and security of industrial assets and resources. Looking forward to the future of smart surveillance With the rise of automation in all three of these markets, from intelligent shelving systems in warehouses to autonomous-driving trucks, object detection for security threats, and the use of AI in monitoring agricultural crops and livestock, the overall demand for computer vision and video analytics will continue to grow. That is why now is the best time for decision-makers across a number of industries to examine their current infrastructure and determine if they are ready to make an investment in a sustainable, multi-use, and long-term security and business optimization solution.

How Technology Can Elevate Guest Services And Their Security
How Technology Can Elevate Guest Services And Their Security

The return to the workplace is a focal point for many in the built environment but one of the most important elements is easy to overlook. Guest services will be vital in the return to the workplace. Front-of-house teams will be responsible for welcoming building users back and reassuring them as they negotiate shared spaces in the post-Covid era. The workplace will inevitably look different after Covid. We have become more aware of our spaces, how clean they are, and what spaces building users share. Employees have also become more conscious of the pros and cons of the workplace. For some, a year of working from home has been a welcome break from the stress and time taken by a commute. Many organizations are considering moving to hybrid workplace approaches, downsizing their corporate real estate portfolio, and using shared spaces more consciously, be that for focussed quiet work or collaboration. We will also see heightened care in workplace cleaning and more data-led solutions. Front-of-house teams will be at the center of helping building users get used to these changes. The role of technology Front-of-house personnel will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be aided by visitor management systems.  Another change to look out for in the workplace will be the use of technology. Tech-led organizations have long reminded us that gut instinct and trusting our senses is not enough anymore, but Covid-19 has forced us to come to terms with this. Now that adopting technology has become crucial in cleaning, we will see a reticence to adopt it elsewhere fade too. A survey from McKinsey suggests that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technologies by several years. Why is this important for guest services? Much like other workplace changes, new technologies will alter how building users interact with their environment. Tech will also enable front-of-house teams to focus on the key ingredient of their role – human interaction. This will be vital in helping occupants feel comfortable, safe, and happy. Occupancy and visitor management systems These systems have been around in the workplace for many years, and pre-Covid were used to help us maximize our space and utilization. These systems are even more important as we are likely to see some return to the workplace before everyone has been vaccinated. We may see systems that contact only those occupants in an affected area of a building, rather than a whole workforce, to limit worry and ensure most people can remain confident in the hygiene of their workspace. For the rest of 2021 at least, precautions such as social distancing will need to be in place. Workplaces will continue to function at limited occupancy for some time to keep people safe. Front-of-house personnel will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be aided by visitor management systems. These may be used by individual organizations or by multi-tenanted buildings. Temperature checks and identity verification systems Organizations are mitigating risks where possible. Handheld digital thermometers have been in high demand. The use of such devices has reshaped the role of security officers over the past year. Officers have become familiar faces in shops and shared spaces, keeping people safe and acting as the first point of contact. The security sector has been placed under immense pressure, balancing the need to enforce precautions with responding to stressed building users in an empathetic way. Officers have demonstrated agility that security technology cannot replace. Post-pandemic, we will likely see a greater appreciation for what manned guarding can offer and a greater potential for officers in front of house roles. Front-of-House staff are becoming responsible for temperature verification. Some organizations may choose to increase the collaboration between their front-of-house and security teams. This could include implementing identity verification systems, as well as touchless systems. This will allow the focus of front-of-house teams to remain on the people and giving a warm welcome to users as they return to the office. Using monitoring to make guest services more available  Monitoring solutions may be the first things that come to mind when discussing security technology. We have seen an increasing trend toward integrating remote monitoring with manned guarding since before the pandemic. Such a move may be even more important now.Beyond keeping employees safe, guest services are going to play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. For many organizations, the pandemic has forced a rapid switch in focus. Organizations have had to face the security challenges of caring for vacant premises and the additional complications of managing cybersecurity for remote work. Rebalancing the cost and focus of security may feel as though it has left some businesses without the capacity to utilize front-of-house officers. Yet when employees return to the workplace, front-of-house teams will be more important than ever. For those that did not do so during the pandemic, now is the time to be investing in effective monitoring solutions. The falling cost of technology means such a solution can be combined with manned guarding and front-of-house roles. Organizations may need to invest in fewer officers, but their roles can be more focused upon the occupant experience. Encouraging employees back Beyond keeping employees safe, guest services are going to play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. Remote working has had both pros and cons but many of those downsides will be diminished with the end of the pandemic. Loneliness will no longer be such a challenge when seeing friends and neighbours is an option, and the return of children and partners to school and work will relieve distractions. It may be tempting, then, for many employees to continue working from home. As a result, many opportunities for collaborative work will be lost. For employers looking to encourage their workforce to return, creating an amazing workplace experience is key. Technology alone can’t offer this. Rather, too much tech could create an environment that feels clinical and impersonal. Use technology to streamline the boring or stressful elements of the workplace and invest in friendly faces who will welcome your workforce back.

What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?

The advent of a truly new market for the physical security industry is a rare occurrence. Particularly rare is a new market that is both fast-growing and provides an environment that is not just conducive to application of physical security technologies but that actually demands it. Such is the case with the market for legalized marijuana. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting the cannabis industry?