Wroxham security firm spearheads the digital CCTV era

Much of the talk recently has been about the switchover from analogue to digital for our TV viewing pleasure

But there is another area where the great switchover is set to have an impact.

This is in the realms of CCTV and security camera footage where the difference in image quality between digital and analogue is significant.

One firm that is leading the way in promoting this switch is Wroxham-based Dragon Security Systems.

It has recently clinched an 'advanced partnership' agreement with German firm Mobotix to provide and install some of the latest technology in security cameras.

Mobotix cameras capture high quality images and use IP (internet protocol) technology,which means pictures can be viewed from a laptop or mobile phone and from anywhere in the world.

In addition, says Dragon Security technical consultant Robert McDonald, the image quality is significantly better than that currently available on analogue CCTV in that it offers mega-pixel resolution.

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He said: 'Approximately 80pc of CCTV is still on analogue systems which often provide distorted and grainy images. But this product line is different, as it is an IP camera system.

'The quality and depth of image is much better and there is the ability to dig down into an image and pull out specific information.'

The Mobotix system can view along streets, identify number plates at a distance, can make out faces with clarity and also look at an incident from different angles.

It is effective in limited light with the camera using colour during the day and black and white at night to facilitate infrared capability.

Mr McDonald said it can be used on vehicles and can see on buses from several different angles and also focus in one what individuals are doing and can be used post-event to identify culprits or victims or damage.

While several analogue CCTV cameras are often needed to monitor sites and premises, the increased resolution from one Mobotix camera can cover a large area with 180-degree or 360-degree panoramas and images can be magnified to provide fine details of faces, number plates and criminals in action without the image pixellating or becoming too grainy to offer relevant detail.

There is, inevitably, a cost implication with a Mobotix camera costing some �600 compared to a typical CCTV camera at �60-�70 but the advantage lies in the monitoring capabilities and image quality.

With decentralised recording technology, the amount of processing on a system network is minimal with browser based software and images can be stored with a 32 gigabyte SD card or data sent to a Network Attached Storage device.

Dragon Security Systems employs 12 people and has been operating for 22 years covering much of Norfolk and East Anglia with commercial and domestic customers, along with local authorities and police.

Mr McDonald said: 'As well as for security, the system can be used to monitor staff activity and production processes.

'More recently, we have seen an increase in IP CCTV being taken up. While analogue CCTV is still at the forefront of people's minds, it is an investment that needs to be viewed carefully because people could be spending money on old technology.'

The company has seven engineers installing and maintaining the system – which can operate in all weathers including in Arctic temperatures – and there is also long-range diagnostic capability, where engineers can dial in to a camera and fix a problem.

'Customers can also dial in to their cameras from their phone or on their laptop using their personal key code and view an image,' he said.

'The system has got an event triggering facility and it can move from one frame per second and step up to 30 frames per second if it senses movement or an incident and can als make announcements out of a speaker or send an email alert to a client that there is movement on their premises.'

Dragon Security Systems operates from premises at Church Road, Wroxham.

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