PMT Security is the partner-of-choice for security at one of Australia’s leading owners of retail, office, and logistics facilities, with a diversified portfolio worth around $10 billion. The organisation had sought to upgrade security and access control at a major metropolitan shopping centre, and invited tenders from some of Australia’s leading security systems integrators.
The retail centre is a diverse shopping and dining destination with over 300 outlets spaced over five levels. The centre also includes a Hoyts cinema, ten-pin bowling alley and several after-hours entertainment and dining options. As such, the busy centre is occupied from early in the morning until late each night, and has complex, diverse security requirements.
The operational environment is also unique in that it includes an historic building within the superstructure. As such, the area is not only diverse and busy, but also sensitive and historic, which necessitates a mature and pervasive approach to security.
While the retail centre had an existing security and access control ecosystem, parts of the network infrastructure and hardware were ageing. Furthermore, while modern security demands were still being met, management saw room for a better system with wider coverage and an integrated approach. The incumbent system was evaluated, and a decision made to expand the camera network by 200 percent, as well as upgrading and replacing some of the existing hardware.
The PMT Security solution
“Taking into account the extremely busy and therefore sensitive nature of the site, we assessed the organisation’s requirements and did a very thorough audit of the existing system. Using our in-house planning systems, we made an evaluation on how best to use existing equipment in order to maximise its impact, and where to best position new cameras and solutions for maximum effectiveness. In the end, we won the project by providing the best solution and value for money,” said Shane Taylor, National Installations Manager at PMT Security.
The project also involved a new fibre-optic cable network being run throughout the building, replacing the existing copper backbone. This in turn meant the installation of upgraded communications nodes, and also meant the re-cabling and re-commissioning of some of the shopping centre’s Audio Visual (AV and Wireless Application Protocols (WAP). “We had the choice of re-using some of the existing network, which did include some limited fibre-optic components, but made the decision not to compromise the overall integrity of the network, and therefore rolled out a complete new fibre backbone,” explains Taylor.
The existing access control ecosystem was also expanded and upgraded, with existing doors being re-commissioned as well as increased in number, bringing the total number of access control doors to more than 250, with 79 access control panels located throughout the shopping centre. Works also included secure access points being installed on specific lifts.
The existing camera network of 194 cameras, running on a Genetec VMS, was expanded by adding 204 new cameras.
Cameras were sourced from world-leading vendor Axis Communications, who’s smart Artpec 7 chip enables advanced functionality of cameras for operations under a wide range of conditions including low light. Features such as Forensic WDR provide clearer images of moving objects and enhanced detail in backlit scenes, or scenes with big differences between the lightest and darkest areas. This can be a big help in dimly lit areas such as stairwells, and in places where natural light blends with artificial light.
“The police are very happy with the quality of footage we are now able to provide them. Having bright, clear images under all conditions makes their job of identifying individuals and keeping people safe much easier,” said Taylor.
PMT used Inner Range’s Infiniti program for each of the 250-plus secure doors, which provides the highest level of compliance for risk profile classification under the AS2201.1 Class 5 standard.
The tender also required PMT Security to work closely with the centre’s incumbent security service provider, who were retained by the organisation to run analytics on the security system.
“A big part of the project was supplying new storage to cope with the expanded hardware in the shopping centre. We are running lots of virtual machines as well as failover servers for redundancy. There is plenty of capacity built into the network now, and if a server fails
the backup will kick in immediately, which provides peace-of-mind and business continuity,” explains Taylor.
Beyond the immediate physical security measures deployed by PMT Security – cameras, access control points and secure doors – there is a low-level integration with the centre’s fire alarm system. Should a fire alarm activate, cameras in that particular zone will automatically switch on and provide a visual of the area, helping pinpoint the issue remotely and prepare response staff with as much information on the zone as possible before they attend.
The busy metropolitan shopping centre now has a significantly upgraded security ecosystem, bolstered by twice the number of security cameras, many more secure access points and doors, cameras and access control on lifts, increased visibility into stairwells and other less-populated areas of the centre.
This has greatly increased safety for shoppers and other visitors to the centre, has enhanced security for retailers, and provides clear, sharply defined images in the rare occasions where perpetrators need to be reported to the police. The result is a safer, more user-friendly environment.