Transforming Security

Transforming Security

Remote video anchors the security of widespread electrical substations in Guatemala

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 electric service.

“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- inch screens.

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,” Molina said.

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 video surveillance.

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Security Today.


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