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Public : Coin-Op CCTV at Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo’s new CCTV system brings visitors closer to the animals as well as protecting both them and the general public.
Sited on an 87-acre hillside overlooking Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Zoo, home to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (the oldest in Britain) attracts over 600,000 visitors each year. With a pygmy hippopotamus, an African pancake tortoise, the red ruffed lemur and highly endangered snails, the Zoo is widely respected for its conservation and academic research as well as being Edinburgh’s second most popular attraction.
The new CCTV system was driven by the need to improve site security. During the day security concerns are focused around the commercial and car parking areas of the site with general monitoring of the animal enclosures, while at night the primary concern is site security, particularly the perimeter which partially borders onto open countryside.
“This means that the CCTV system is under-utilised during the day”, explains Gary Wilson, Head of Property and Estates. “Occasionally, during our high season, we need to use it to identify children that have become separated from their parents. The system is also used for animal monitoring and management. We came up with the idea to make use of the system to bring the animals closer to visitors. We thought this might be particularly attractive on poor weather days and the extra revenue generation would go straight into animal conservation.”
Pay to View
The result is the first known ‘Coin-Op’ CCTV system. In the public restaurant visitors can pay - £1 for 3 minutes – to operate any of the five Vista PowerDomes™ that form the central part of the site’s CCTV system covering the animal enclosures. A large plasma screen hanging from the restaurant ceiling displays the images for all to enjoy. In line with data protection legislation, sensitive areas of the site are blocked out using the Vista PowerDome™ privacy function.
The ‘Coin-Op’ principle has also been employed at the penguin. Here an underwater ‘spyball’ camera captures remarkable close up images. Elsewhere infra red cameras are being used to capture close up views of the painted hunting dogs.
The core of the CCTV system comprises five static infra-red day/night cameras (Pecan SC5712ST) fitted with Vista vari-focal lenses, and five Vista PowerDome™ (VPD-3WP) high-speed domes with a mixture of clear and smoked bubbles, covering the main entry and exit points, the Zoo’s car parks, and a variety of animal enclosures including the painted hunting dogs the Rhino enclosure and the chimpanzees. Recording is onto a Dedicated Micros’ DM Sprite 2 digital video recorder (DS2ADX16C) featuring 16 camera inputs and a 500GB hard disk). The primary control point is situated in Gary Wilson’s office and consists of a large Vista monitor (PVD2100DG), the DM Sprite and keyboard and a separate CD writer for saving incidents to CD as required. There is also a large Vista monitor (PVD2100DG) and keyboard in the Zoo’s main reception used by the manned guarding team when the Zoo is closed to the public.
Gary Wilson emphasises the close relationship between the two organisations. “Euro-Tec worked very closely with us from the beginning, and was the only company we talked to who said they could devise a Coin-Op CCTV system. Thanks to Euro-Tec we got exactly what we asked for. Euro-Tec specified the kit to achieve precisely what we intended.”
“The ‘Coin-Op’ utilisation of the CCTV system is sure to be a significant feature of the Zoo’s ongoing development,” says Gary Wilson. “Security is a must, but so is education, animal management and entertainment. CCTV can make a real difference to all visitors to the Zoo
Installer Profile: Euro-Tec Solutions Limited
Founded in August 2001 by three brothers, Livingston-based Euro-Tec Solutions has swiftly grown into a successful security company specialising is digital CCTV, intruder alarms and access control solutions. With particular experience in retail, Euro-Tec has expanded into a variety of commercial sectors and now includes Edinburgh Castle, Gregg’s the Bakers, KFC, Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee amongst its customers. The company’s geographical reach now extends to most of Scotland and Ireland.
Jim Brown, Sales Director, believes that the company’s focus on customer service and support has proved pivotal in the company’s short history:
“Smaller companies like Euro-Tec can give customers a level of attention and continuity that the large national installers cannot. We find our focus on personal service and support a key competitive differentiator. In Norbain we have a key partner that can help us sustain this advantage and although we may not call upon their technical support very often, the fact that it is available is invaluable.”