Remote video anchors the security of widespread electrical substations in Guatemala
- By Courtney Pedersen
- Feb 01, 2018
Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala (EEGSA Group) required
a video surveillance system that could digitize
the security footage on its substations to help avoid
damage to its own infrastructure as well as electrocution
hazards for people trying to access these places
without warning or authorization.
In order to centrally and remotely monitor the offices of the different
departments as well as companies associated to the EEGSA
Group, the company selected XProtect Professional by Milestone
Systems. The system includes Bosch video analytics and AXIS PTZ
Q60 series and fixed P13 network cameras, three Dell servers with
Windows and RAID 5 configuration, and video data storage capacity
up to 45 days. Network Video Technologies (NVT) were also integrated,
as well as access control from DSC and electromechanical
locks by Securitron GL-1.
Reducing Any Incidents
Along with offering full satisfaction for the customer by achieving
a 98 percent reduction in security incidents for the company, the
software also provides support for the local police in investigations
related to occurrences near the substations or where equipment has
been installed — both located in public areas.
To protect the assets of the electrical substations in Guatemala
and be able to control them remotely, EEGSA decided to implement
an IP network video surveillance system. Until 2012, EEGSA did
not have a CCTV system. Rather, the security was monitored laboriously
in a time-consuming way via motorized visits made by staff and
surveillance guards. They did not have the ability to simultaneously
supervise all the substations.
After analyzing proposals from different integrators, the Guatemalan
company picked the offer from ASIS Corp., who presented
solutions based on Milestone Systems’ video management software.
This choice was perfectly suited for EEGSA needs and offered an
immediate benefit in terms of protection for each substation where
the solution was installed. Additionally, equipment provided by Axis,
Bosch and Network Video Technologies (NVT) was incorporated.
Fully Automated Security
According to ASIS Corp. engineer Eduardo Lopez, to upgrade the
security system technology they installed fixed IP network cameras
and PTZ domes, video analytics software, Cisco PoE network
switches and an alarm system for the guard in the shelter. The project
also included electromagnetic locks for remote opening triggered
through the input/output (I/O) technology of the IP cameras and video management software.
Lopez said that the main objective was to protect the facilities and
the safety of trespassers who could be electrocuted if they ignore the
security protocols. The Milestone system allows remote verification
and monitoring access for maintenance visits that are made to every
substation. The system is also integrated with the alarm system of
the shelters, provided by DSC, where the servers and communicators
were installed. The integration to electromechanical locks provided
by Securitron GL-1 allows the remote control of access to the stations
through the Axis cameras’ output.
The IP networked cameras are different models, among them
AXIS PTZ Q60 series and fixed P13 cameras. These are monitored
24/7 through the video management platform powered by Milestone
software that makes it possible to simultaneously watch over all the
substations in a more effective way from just one central operations
center, providing management with clear and reliable recording.
EEGSA chose XProtect Professional video management software
by Milestone because it is scalable to cover more divisions and offices
from different departments and associated companies as they
were added to the project over time. As of 2016, the system had three
servers by Dell with Windows, RAID 5 configuration and video data
storage capacity up to 45 days.
This project covered 64 electrical substations in the country and
benefits about 4 million inhabitants. Copper and other material theft
has been reduced, which in the past had caused suspension of the
“Every location was different, some of them are very far away, and
that is why one of the challenges was to perform the installation in
areas with difficult access,” Lopez said. “There is a shelter at each point
that has internet service through antenna or fiber optics. Nevertheless,
some remote locations required communication through GPRS.”
Lopez explained that the monitoring is done from a central office
where phone calls from agencies and offices are simultaneously
received through a central console. The management of the guards in
charge of the routes and on the streets to support the video surveillance
system is thereby carried out more efficiently. The monitoring
room has six 42” screens and three workstations with HD dual 20-
The implementation of the system started from scratch since it
was necessary to create a piped network to connect the cameras to the
existing shelters in every substation. Later, these cameras could communicate
using a switch with the monitoring center. For the remote
access control, it was necessary to modify the doors at every point in
order to install electromechanical locks in these gates.
Optimal Results: Future Projects
The performance of the installed solutions allowed EEGSA to effectively
control the equipment and infrastructure of every monitored
and guarded site, to the extent that incidences decreased by 98 percent
over three years. This also meant the reduction of materials theft
as well as in the number of unauthorized individuals trespassing into
the substations located in remote zones.
“The implemented system has been an example to replicate in
the subsidiaries in other countries where EEGSA has presence, to
achieve the regional integration that is in progress,” Lopez said.
Meanwhile, Juan Jose Molina, chief of the security department
of EEGSA, said the integration of the Milestone system with the IP
cameras from Axis enables the consolidation of a remote surveillance
system, allowing the protection of the company’s multiple locations.
“This security solution not only allows the full monitoring of our
infrastructure,” Molina said. “But also integrates the locks to enable
the remote gates to be controlled centrally, with the consequent optimization
of the distribution of security staff.
“This is a system that — even though it seems complex — is easy
to operate. An additional advantage that it provides is the stability
of the performance, generating total trust in the managers of every
division involved in the operations of our services and protection,”
Since the equipment is located in public areas, the video surveillance
has also provided support to the local police in investigations
of events that happened close to the centers or substations where the
cameras have been installed.
With the success of this implementation, the
customer approved the installation of more such
new technologies in future, and the company will
invest in the integration of access control with the
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Security Today.