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Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security

April 11, 2014 at 9:21 am PST

I remember growing up in the UK years ago during the UK’s  ‘North Sea Oil Boom’. It was a time of great excitement and opportunity for the nation. A whole industry was developed to deal with offshore exploration to ‘bring the energy home’.

It was Aberdeen’s local ‘moon landing’ event -  just five months after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the North Sea oil fields were discovered off the east coast of Scotland. Certainly parts of Scotland, Aberdeen especially, saw an uptick in employment from the gloomy ’60s, and the economy changed from rural farming, fishing and textiles to include a more industrial oil and gas setting. Employment, property prices and investment in the City boomed.

Video Surv. from Ferguson Case StudyFerguson is a great Scottish name, but the founder is a great example of how folks were attracted  from outside Scotland (founder Bill Ferguson Jr. is an American) to help further the oil industry in Scotland. Today, Ferguson Group are a key part of the Aberdeen economy, as a leading suppliers of containers, accommodations, and workspace modules for the offshore energy industry (now worldwide).

I thought I’d share how Ferguson conquered a business challenge -- namely protecting high-value equipment and, at the same time, use a standardized system and process worldwide whilst keeping up with industry security standards.

As Graham Cowperthwaite said in a recent article: “For years our headquarters in Scotland relied on an analog video security system”. Graham is director of operations at Ferguson Group, and went on to say “That system wasn’t meeting our needs in terms of image quality and remote accessibility.” He added: “For example, our board members are often traveling between bases, and want to have the ability to check back on facilities from any networked location, even from an iPad. We simply couldn’t do that with an analog system.”

So Ferguson switched from a an analog security system to an IP-based solution, from Cisco. And it wasn’t just cameras and door hardware. They also needed to consider the security and reliability of the network on which camera images and access history would be transmitted and stored.

 “We looked at other physical security offerings on the market, but nothing came close to Cisco in terms of comprehensiveness,” says Graham Cowperthwaite. “Only Cisco could provide us with a total combination of Cisco IP video cameras, door readers, firewalls, and routers, all available globally with the highest levels of vendor support. We were already a Cisco house in terms of our network infrastructure, and the interoperability of these solutions fit in perfectly with our goals for standardization.”

Ferguson Group now relies on the Cisco® Video Surveillance Manager to monitor its entire facility in Aberdeenshire, including doors, buildings, and the many valuable assets in the company’s storage yard. Supervisors on the Ferguson network can access live, high-quality footage on a laptop or mobile device. They can even review recorded footage as necessary. This all runs on an integrated Cisco architecture (based on Cisco Desktop Virtualization with VMware (VXI), running on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®), for the techies amongst you!).

The business results? Read More »

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Mercedes Improves Customer Service Through Video

July 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm PST

Have you ever put your car in for service and it came back with a ‘door-ding’, or some other damage? Now, to be clear you probably can’t be 100% sure it didn’t happen in a car parking lot, or was it kids being too rough with there toys?  And where did that scratch come from on your newly delivered car -- was it already there? Who knows?

Well, if you were dealing with Mercedes-Benz Czech Republic (MBCR), you might find out!  Located in Prague, MBCR employs 400 people, and sells, services and supports Mercedes-Benz vehicles throughout the Czech Republic.

Mercedes Reference

Mercedes success story -- click picture to view pdf on Cisco Case Studies  Slideshare site

The subsidiary was eager to maintain its excellent standard of service. One issue that was a constant source of customer complaints was vehicle damage. Customers were sometimes wrongly accused of damaging cars when the cars had been scratched or dented in transit. Damages could  also occur in the showroom or repair center and be wrongly ascribed to customers. MBCR had an analogue camera system in place to cover these incidents, but the pictures that it produced were of poor quality. In many cases, identification of number plates and faces was not possible. Administrators also could not easily locate the footage that they needed, and recordings only stretched back two days.

After investigating various offerings, MBCR decided to select a Cisco® closed-circuit TV (CCTV) over IP solution from its trusted service partner Clarystone.  Capable of monitoring multiple sites from a single location, the security solution allows administrators to:

  • Access live video anywhere over the Internet
  • Locate specific dates, times, or incidents in video archives in seconds
  • Cost-effectively add new cameras and video storage

Exterior cameras film cars being loaded into the showrooms and record details of every number plate. If a vehicleMercedes Quote is scratched in transit, the cameras record the incident. This arrangement helps ensure that customers are not wrongly blamed for the damage. Interior cameras film the reception, showroom, and repair center areas. Any accidents or incidents involving theft or vandalism are instantly captured. Customers who leave their vehicles for servicing or repair can rest assured that they are now covered for any loss or damage.

miklemenI asked Michael Klemen -- Cisco Executive Automotive Manager in Europe (EMEAR) where video was going in the automotive industry and he said:

“New digital tactics are becoming more important to the auto industry in all areas,. As this matures the appetite for video content is growing at an insatiable rate: Show it, see it while being connected is important – digital dashboards, I-Services Kiosks, configuration & visualization from Car Design to Sales, After Sales services is what everyone builds into the value chain today !”

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Cisco MSP CDN Program Update: Building on the Success of Plugfest at ISC West!

Hello IP Surveillance Enthusiasts,

ISC West was held at Las Vegas between Apr 10-12, and we continued the engagements with our partners on Cisco Medianet Plugfest here. Plugfest was launched at ASIS Philadelphia in September 2012, and from then till now, we have been actively working on getting partners on-boarded into Cisco’s MSP Cisco Developer Network (CDN) program, evaluating the test results gathered during ASIS and making recommendations to partners on improving interoperability with the network.

At ISC West, we had the wonderful opportunity to touch base with many of our partners already in CDN, and the ones we are closely working with on the process.

These were the sessions/interactions we had on Plugfest at ISC West -

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Plugfest Updates (MSP CDN)

We came together at ASIS, September 2012 in Philadelphia and made good progress with Plugfest – The Media Services Proxy (MSP) CDN program for validating the interoperability of your IP Surveillance cameras with the Cisco Network. We shared with you the capabilities of MSP, the value it can bring for you, and had a live lab where we tested (plug-and-play) your cameras with the MSP software at the event.

Karthik blog pic

Since then we have been working with many of you on getting you on boarded with the CDN program so you could be our official partners, and have also been working on analyzing the lab data we gathered at ASIS.

We will be at ISC West 2013 to share our progress and next steps with you. I take great pleasure in inviting you to our sessions at ISC West –

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Cisco’s new hyperscale approach to Connected Physical Security

What you need to know

In an increasingly connected world, Big Data is the latest buzzword making the rounds of venture capitalists and enterprising young startups. It offers the opportunity to turn raw data into business-impacting insights to boost sales, cut costs, and decrease cycle times. A similar revolution is happening in Video. Thanks to Moore’s law, ever higher pixel counts, and manufacturing improvements, cameras (and more importantly the software to analyze the video they capture) are proliferating. These new technologies take video surveillance to an all new level. While protecting people and assets, they can also count the number of people waiting in line at a checkout counter, generate a heat-map of the most-trafficked area of the store, and help streamline traffic flows on busy street. These increasingly intelligent camera systems will create a new capability we call Video Intelligence. This is similar to Business Intelligence, or data-mining, except that by turning video into information, it turns every camera into a real-time sensor of the real world.

Physical Security-enabled Business Transformation

The benefits of video intelligence will enable businesses and governments to radically transform the way they do business and deliver services. A video intelligence system will be an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. It will run on a converged network and will connect every branch to the data centers. This will lead to a proliferation of cameras and a need to bring back the video and analytics data in realtime. We believe that this will lead to a dramatic increase in the scale of the deployment of video. Hyperscale deployments require systems capable of digesting huge video flows.

So what is a hyperscale system?

A hyperscale system is one that is capable of providing massive amounts of information and  real-time intelligence to people and devices at massive scale for a specific purpose, at global scale.  For example, think of Google, the GPS systems you use to navigate, Apple’s Siri voice recognition system or IBM’s Watson.  The emergence of hyperscale systems and the need for them, have changed the way we work, live learn and play.

Introducing Cisco Video Surveillance Manager 7.0

On Sept 6, Cisco announced Video Surveillance Manager 7.0, the industry’s first end to end system built from the ground-up and certified to run in Cisco’s UCS virtualized computing environments delivering all of the IP-based applications for Connected Physical Security together as an integrated end-to-end system. These new solutions now make it possible for customers in healthcare, public sector and retail to move beyond traditional basic safety and security surveillance deployments and use video to transform the way they run their businesses through hyper-scalability and ease of configuration.  Cisco also introduced a compete new line of IP video surveillance cameras, an extension of its medianet strategy and remote management services, to help IT and security teams partner to implement very-large scale video deployments.

These new systems are capable of providing significantly greater benefits to businesses and organizations worldwide. hyperscale physical security systems will deliver intelligence and business capabilities at a fraction of the cost, and complexity of traditional physical security systems.

Powered by Cisco’s award winning Cisco Unified Computing System and Unified Data Center / Virtualization technologies, and end-to-end Medianet technologies and architectures these new systems are now becoming much faster, denser, and far simpler to use, manage and deploy, providing more than 10 times improvement in performance, space savings and TCO. Cisco’s new hyperscale systems are capable of supporting more than 10,000 streams of video on a single integrated system, with integrated applications.  Hyperscale systems have the advantage they can support the needs of not only security but also can be used for business operations, day to day, to improve efficiency and to deliver new capabilities to government and enterprise businesses.

To learn more, please check out the links below or stop by to see Cisco’s new hyperscale systems at ASIS 2012 in Philadephia (booth #213): http://www.cisco.com/go/asis

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