Also placed throughout the refinery, Hikvision's DS-2CD2612F-I 1.3MP vari-focal IR bullet camera helps secure the environment
Hikvision's DS-2CD2712F-I 1.3MP vari-focal network IR dome camera was installed in the head office

Ganesh R. Iyer, Head of Sales & Business Development at ComSec Security Systems Ltd., had a number of significant security hurdles to overcome when designing a CCTV overhaul for Puma Energy's Head Office & Depot facility in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.

This Puma Energy facility, consisting of both an office headquarters complex and an oil processing depot, is Tanzania's largest oil refinery. Dar-Es-Salaam, the nation's biggest and richest city, underscores the importance of the facility's larger relevance in the region.

However, installing a CCTV solution wasn't simply a hardware issue. As Mr. Iyer explained, "Of course, combating issues such as theft, as well as safety, were paramount. However, this solution was asked to do something more: help change an unfortunate cultural norm that readily looks the other way in issues of theft."

As such, Mr. Iyer looked to Hikvision to help:

  • Upgrade a pre-existing and underperforming CCTV system
  • Take into account the stark differences between the office and depot environments
  • Design a unique, two-pronged, CCTV method for both environments
  • Combat a larger cultural acceptance of theft that is gradually ruining the economy

IP Replaces Lagging Analog

Originally, Puma Energy purchased this facility from British Petroleum. With the facility, Puma Energy also acquired BP's existing CCTV solution. However, the new owners found the previous analog system unsatisfactory.

Thus, Tanzanian-based ComSec Security Systems Ltd. was contracted to act as turnkey contractor of a new CCTV solution to dramatically improve overall video quality.

In order to meet Puma Energy's goal of a high-quality CCTV surveillance system, Mr. Iyer opted for a completely new CCTV model: an IP system on a fiber-optical backbone communication ring with industrial-grade switches in the field.

While this IP-based infrastructure provided the means to improve the CCTV system's performance, ultimately what would make-or-break the solution was the choice of hardware in the field. In this regard, Mr. Iyer chose Hikvision for both his camera and NVR needs.

Divergent Challenges

However, as previously noted, this overall facility is actually comprised of two highly-divergent work environments. Obviously a modern office building poses a different set of security questions when compared to an outdoor petroleum refinery. Regardless, both aspects of this facility brought unique challenges that needed to be overcome.

In the Head Office, Mr. Iyer elected to go with Hikvision's DS-2CD2712F-I 1.3MP Vari-focal Network IR Dome Camera for his IP camera needs. In this case, Mr. Iyer decided that "flexibility was key. We needed a camera that is able to quickly adjust its view and provide great resolution regardless of shorter or longer distances. This camera's 2.8 - 12mm vari-focal lens gives us a great many viewing options."

This is of particular significance in the reception area. Previously, fixed camera lens forced logistical problems. Now, the vantage can be quickly changed from the reception desk to the main door, to illustrate but one example.

Additionally, DS-2CD2712F-I's IP66 rating and vandal-proof housing solved an earlier problem. Mr. Iyer explained, "Previously, due to the indoor location, there have been issues where cameras were tampered with. Now, due to the sturdy nature of these new cameras, it would take a considerable amount of time to actually disable the units. This would not go unnoticed ... hence providing a great camera for access control and safety issues."

Hikvision DS-7732NI-SP's 4 SATA HDD interface of up-to 4TB each provide the means for Puma Energy's 3 to 4 week video-storage requirement
Located in a centralized control room, Hikvision's DS-7732NI-SP provides 32 channels to record HD camera video images

Staying indoors, Hikvision's DS-7732NI-SP 32 Channel NVR provides the means to record all these HD camera video images. Located in a centralized control room, the DS-7732NI-SP provides 32 channels for the Head Office. Currently, not every channel is needed, which also supplies an additional future-proofing aspect for later needs.

However, of current importance is the DS-7732NI-SP's 4 SATA HDD interface of up-to 4TB each providing the means for Puma Energy's 3 to 4 week video-storage requirement; while the up-to 5MP recording resolution ensures the pictures will be of the highest quality, regardless of when viewed.

Moving outdoors and into the large refinery facility, is the DS-2DF1-718 IR Speed Dome. Taking advantage of a 36x optical zoom and a 16x digital zoom, the DS-2DF1-718 proves a perfect tool for perimeter security. In fact, even adjoining facilities can now be clearly seen. Notably, "With this camera's up-to 80m IR range and 36x zoom, we get excellent coverage in the evening ... a time when most issues of theft historically occur," explained Mr. Iyer.

Also placed throughout the refinery, the DS-2CD2612F-I 1.3MP Vari-focal IR Bullet Camera helps secure the environment. Mr. Iyer notes that due to the oscillating lighting challenges, this camera's up-to 30m IR range and true day / night feature is paramount. Additionally, Digital WDR has proved an important function to compensate for the difficult bright and dim background lighting changes that the outdoor refinery experiences daily.

However, as with indoors, the DS-2CD2612F-I's 1.3 megapixel high resolution is vital to provide the sought-after resolution upgrade. For the refinery, the DS-9664NI-XT 64 Channel NVR was chosen for its robust storage combined with 160 mbs bitrate and up-to 5MP recording resolution for improved image clarity.

Slowly Changing a Culture

Mr. Iyer stresses that all of these tools help to ultimately combat the biggest threat to both Puma Energy and Tanzania's overall economy: the acceptance of a culture of debilitating theft.

Mr. Iyer noted that it isn't an issue of petty or grand theft, instead it is the idea that theft is okay that ultimately does the most damage. "The reality is, in Tanzania, the best recourse is a high-quality reactive CCTV solution. Of course, given unlimited funds, a proactive solution with both technology and liberal manpower would be great, but this is unrealistic. However, with our new Hikvision CCTV solution featuring greatly-enhanced resolution, thieves now understand that they will be ultimately caught. We have already seen noted improvement in this area," he summed up.

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