London Hotel Delivers Discreet Security With Milestone IP Video Solution
Milestone Systems is providing the foundation for a security solution for the Dorchester Collection of fine hotels in the United Kingdom. The Dorchester near Hyde Park in London has been the first phase of the project, which will scale to include two more new hotels next year.
The constant traffic of guests, staff and deliveries demands vigilant attention in hospitality environments. At The Dorchester, high-profile clients like celebrities, diplomats, politicians, royalty, business leaders and society patrons have heightened concerns about their safety. Paparazzi and fans, tourist groups seeing local sights, concerts in the park or demonstrations in the city streets can add more activity for the security team to be aware of.
“On the one hand, we have the registered guests staying here but there are also lots of people whom we don't know coming in to our bars, restaurants and functions,” said Andy Sloan, security and risk manager at The Dorchester. “We are mindful of this, with the goal to be discreet while providing high-profile security, and that's what The Dorchester prides itself on. We've earned our place in the top hotels of the world and we now have the security system deserving of this standing,”
Milestone certified partner TM Security designed and installed a new system at The Dorchester using Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video management software with ACTi video encoders to digitize data from a mix of analog camera brands throughout the hotel, and new Axis network cameras in the spa, which is operating with pure IP network technology. The ACTi encoders are fed through Cisco network switches into 5 servers running the Milestone software.
TM Security implemented a very discreet installation in tune with the hotel’s fine decor and style. For example, the reception cameras are so small they look like tiny lighting fixtures. Small dome or fixed cameras cover corridors, underground parking, all entries, staff and delivery areas. The planned construction of new hotel locations also demanded a security system that could grow with their requirements over time, allowing them to stay on top of new innovations in the industry.
“The idea with our surveillance is to enhance the areas with most vulnerability according to best practice,” Sloan said. “We’ve kept most of the analog cameras but we’ll replace those as they reach end-of-life, installing more of the Axis IP megapixel and dome models, putting the superior network cameras in the more highly sensitive areas. In this way, we continually build up the system over the years. The new system was also strategized to take into account the extra phases of the project: the 45 Park Lane and Coworth Park hotels in construction, due for operation in 2010 -- just in time for the Olympics here in London."
The Milestone IP video surveillance thereby provides a future-ready platform for the hotels’ expanding and varied needs. It scales up for new locations no matter how far, and allows integration with new innovations as they become available. The previous investments in analogue cameras are leveraged by the ACTi encoders while newer technologies are easily added, like the cost-effective Axis H.264 compression-standard network cameras that give better system utilization. The software’s ease of use also saves time for the operators, who can quickly search and produce footage to resolve matters or share with the police.
“The use of this system is far easier than our previous DVRs -- not just the playback and finding footage but in the flexible use of it,” said Mr. Pomeroy, security supervisor at The Dorchester We've got far more detailed recordings and playback options than before, which help us perform much better investigations, faster.”
The security team is very experienced and has developed their own ideas as to what system setups work best for The Dorchester. Milestone software allows the configuration flexibility to do just that. Pomeroy said that the night shift operators have different needs as to which areas to watch, for example, so they concentrate more on external camera views.
The video feed is viewed through two Milestone Smart Client machines and the monitor wall is set up with pre-determined views from the cameras from which the operators select any number of view combinations. The software also allows them to run a mouse over all of the Command Centre monitors to click on any view and zoom in for more detail. A Carousel feature rotates between cameras and there are pop-up ‘HotSpot’ windows for more close-up views, as well.
“Internally the new system helps us comply with the hotel’s policies and procedures,” Sloan said. “It’s handy in resolving issues with staff and things like delivery questions. There’s no dispute when it’s all recorded and it helps us keep things running efficiently and smoothly, ensuring optimal operations. If you want to keep ahead of the game, you need to be doing innovative things -- especially from a security point of view. The days are gone for just having four heavyweight bodyguards in the lobby: Security today is much more sophisticated. With the technology we have now, we are both more discreet and more secure.”