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  1. #1
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    Default Advice needed on security system

    Hi,

    I'm looking for some advice on setting up a new security system and would appreciate any guidance / opinions / ideas.

    Let me start with a bit about what I am hoping to achieve...

    The idea behind the system is as crime prevention / evidence gathering for a small business premesis - mostly just protecting IT equipment. I've drawn up the following "wish list", although realise that it may not be practical/affordable to have everything on this list.

    * Initial requirement of a single internal camera that can be securely accessed via the web.

    * The camera should start recording - preferably saving to a remote location - when any of the sensors are triggered.

    * The system should also page/email/sms a couple of contacts when the sensors are triggered.

    * Sensors would ideally be a single PIR, 2 door sensors and maybe the sensors that you place on windows to tell if they are broken (the premises has a large shopfront).

    * When triggered a light should also be switched on, in order to eliminate the need for low-light / infra-red camera (I thought this would be a cheaper solution - advice on this also welcome).


    I have looked at homehub, which seems to be able to cope with most of this. Any experiences of that service would be welcome.

    Ideally though we would prefer not to go with an external subscription service.

    Our company is a web development agency, so we're not afraid to get involved with the networking / IP side of things.

    All admive or thoughts welcomed.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    These days even a low cost webcam might come bundled with enough software tol allow it to capture and e-mail an image or video upon motion detection by the camera itself. Some may even allow you to do this without subscribing to a 'middleman' service. You could probably also create the automated lighting via an inexpensive off the shelf PIR/light unit. But if you want a more professional solution capable of much more but at a realistic cost then the IDRATEK system might be what you're looking for:

    You can achieve your requirements using just a few modules and the Cortex software from the IDRATEK system. Multiple cameras can be managed. Video or still image recording can be triggered on pretty much any measurable event including motion detection via the camera itself (and for this Cortex provides comprehensive access to image zone sensitivity settings). IDRATEK provide PIR detection modules but it is also easy to connect any off the shelf sensors into the system using inexepensive digital or analogue I/O modules. Similarly lights can be controlled via power control modules (most of which include some uncommitted digital inputs as well).

    Camera handling features include: Recording of videos with sound, recording of still images, recording of 'film rolls' - which essentially means capture of a series of still images before and after the trigger event. All of these features and others can be triggered upon arbitrary signal or time events or via direct user demand. User selectable sensory or other data, eg. date/time, can be overlayed onto images. Various methods of displaying images/live video on the PC running Cortex are also provided.

    Images, video clips and any other measured data for that matter can be automatically e-mailed. Events from any sensors or abstract signals such as 'end of video recording' can cause such e-mails to be sent. The system can also action other functions upon any such events eg. calling any phone numbers, flashing lights, or essentially actioning anything else to which the system is connected.

    Remote access to the IDRATEK system is achievable by internet web browser, phone or even e-mail. The Cortex web server automatically creates a web page structure for your setup through which you can access, for example, camera features and any videos or images. Immediate control can also be exercised via the remote web browser eg. take immediate snapshot or start video recording etc. Any other data (present or historical) can also be easily viewed. The web server provides password secured access for multiple users with independently configurable security settings for each user - down to individual object level.

    No middleman is required - you simply need standard phone/modem/ISP services to the Cortex running PC.

    Aside from the camera and security functionality the system has much much more to offer. Cost for the basic services that you mention will probably be in the region of a few hundred s - excluding the cost of the PC which you would dedicate to the system.

    For any further details you can directly contact: kzkaram@idratek.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Thanks for the reply.

    Did consider using pixel change as a means of motion detection (as available on most webcams), but don't have a huge amount of faith in this as a means of intruder detection. If the system will end up paging all the company directors - I don't want too many calls at 4am when someone shines their headlights through the front of the shop! This is why I thought PIR would be the best means.

    The IDRATEK system looks interesting, but your website does not really give too much away. Be interested in seeing pricing on a simple installation and hearing from any forum members with experience with the system.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    You might find this story interesting: http://www.grisby.org/burglar.html
    Chalk one up for the good guys!! :-)

    There's a bit more (but not much) info on this guy's set-up if you follow the link near the top.

    For simplicity, I might be tempted to separate out the two functions - use a "standard" security alarm with page/email/sms functions to do the alerting, and a second system to do the CCTV part. Company Directors would only be contacted when the alarm detected a break-in and it would be a fairly simple task to review the night's footage should the CCTV system be (separately) triggered.

    HTH,

    Tim

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Agree that basic pixel change algorithms are not so reliable and as you say could be fooled by simple things such as flashing lights or moving foliage to name but a few. Though its possible (in Cortex) to adjust the sensitivity grid (ie. sensitivity in particular areas of image) its still not really a reliable way of preventing false triggers. Other image analysis methods might provide a better result but really you should be looking at more traditional methods such as PIR/microwave/window break/pressure mats or beam break for low cost higher reliability detection. Multiple sensors with some relatively modest decision making can help increase reliability even further. Of course you can still use the camera motion detection to action image taking anyway (err on the safe if somewhat file hungry side) and then use this in combination with other sensors or other sensors alone to raise the actual alarm. Or you can simply do everything based on the other sensors.

    It is the integration of a system like IDRATEK's which provides the major advantage - you can imagine that imaging might also be used to determine history of a fire event. The triggering devices in this case could be standard fire detect sensors perhaps supplemented with temperature sensors. Imaging combined with multiple sensors would provide a better picture of progress of any such event. Cortex logs all sensor activity continuously as a matter of course so chronology of events is available at any time - this can also be done to a remote PC so that risk of losing such data (in the event ) is minimised.

    Apologies for our somewhat outdated web site, an overhaul of this is presently in progress. However if you (or other readers of this forum) do require specific information eg. prices or general literature then this can be e-mailed to you. We are not installers so cannot provide an 'all in' installation costing, but based on a better understanding of which of our modules would be sufficient to cover your particular requirement then we could provide a costing on modules and software. Based on your description my guess is that not too many modules would be required, hence my initial estimate of a few hundred pounds including software and perhaps a camera and digitiser but excluding the PC and its other peripherals eg. modem. Installation is a relatively simple affair since the IDRATEK system uses a bus networked architecture with CAT5 or similar as the network cable. Being bus rather than hub based makes the cabling easier.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Thanks for the update Karam. Is anyone retailing your modules on-line yet?

    M.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Products are still available directly from ourselves, or in Central Europe from www.idratek.pl (and we hope soon some items from a USA agent). We do not have online purchasing as yet.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Quote Originally Posted by Karam
    we do not have online purchasing as yet.
    That's what I meant. Any ETA for that?

    Thanks

    M.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    Thanks for the updates.

    Read the article about Ben Park's set-up over the weekend. Certainly proves the potential of such a system.

    Certainly be interested in finding out more about IDRATEK's offering. I'll PM you with my email address.

    Not interested in a new website / online store are you?

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on security system

    The nature of our recent business has meant that an online trading facility has not perhaps been so high on the agenda. We do however very much welcome trade with individuals and infact probably provide such existing customers with better support and advice than most - to the extent even of providing a certain amount of customisation or even product 'tweaking' as a result of the valuable feedback we receive from them.

    It is definitely our intention to return our marketing focus more squarely on the UK market and this will no doubt include providing online purchasing facilities either through ourselves or distributors, but I can't provide a definite timescale for you here.

    emby: If you e-mail me directly I can provide you with any more detail you may require on the IDRATEK system and also have a more direct exchange route for any other matters.

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