Covtec has been operating in the covert CCTV area for over five years. Drawing on over 30 years of experience within the military and police deploying covert CCTV in the most demanding environments and specialising in rural installations, the company has applied its knowledge to the on-going battle with cable theft.
Covtec’s equipment has resulted in many convictions for cable theft and the equipment keeps working with the oldest systems still in daily use in one of the most extreme environments you can deploy covert CCTV – trackside.
Covtec’s first product was the Outbox covert CCTV system – sometimes referred to as ‘Ballast Cam’. It was designed and manufactured by Covtec and specified to be a simple deployment by untrained operatives: deploy and switch on. Once deployed the system goes into ‘deep sleep’ with minimal power consumption allowing over 30 days on the supplied battery but can go six months with an upgraded battery.
When persons enter the detection area the system springs into life and begins recording on-board within one second. But what makes it unique is the way it communicates. When triggered, it instantly begins to notify the owner (and/or the control room). It does this first with a text message which identifies that the unit has been activated; it then sends emails with attached jpegs of what caused the activations. This allows the persons receiving the alerts to make informed decisions on what actions to take, either to deploy to site or to recover the sd card with the full recording on board. The equipment can come in a variety of covert hides but the ballast hide has been the most successful on trackside with its ability to blend into most rail environments. It can operate in complete darkness due to the use of extreme low light cameras and a black light infra-red illuminator.
The company has also introduced the Covtec Micro camera as a cost-effective way of tackling route crime. It operates in a similar way to the Outbox. It is a small handsized 12 megapixel camera/ DVR with built-in motion sensor; it also has a built-in black light illuminator which can be strapped to a suitable upright. When triggered it takes a number of 12 megapixel still images followed by a video clip. It then sends one of these images via mms messaging and/or email. It can operate up to six months on the integral AA batteries and even longer if fitted with a small solar panel.
The most exciting new product is the Covtec Video Alarms panel. This system can give almost blanket coverage of a large area or over 1km of track. The system can operate up to 24 mini wireless cameras, which can last up to two years on the internal batteries. Each camera has its own built-in detector which triggers the camera; this then takes a ten-second clip of the activation and sends wirelessly up to 1km to the receiving base station. The base station which can operate on its internal batteries for up to four years then creates an alarm event and communicates this back to the control software which can be viewed either by a secure web browser or by 24/7-staffed CCTV monitoring. From the software you can operate front-end devices such as sirens, auto voice announcements or you can even request a call from the base unit so that you can talk live to site over an external speaker. The software also auto-generates unlimited emails from the activation with attached video clip to keep everyone informed of the alert.
The system has been successfully deployed around the country and is protecting a variety of sites including relay rooms, depots, cable stores, on-going maintenance works, etc. It is flexible enough to be redeployed and the positions of the cameras changed to evolve with a changing project. They have been successfully deployed on trackside where they have already led to arrests and had a preventative effect warning off would-be intruders and thieves.
Covtec also installs level crossing CCTV schemes with remote access and monitoring via the 3G mobile network. A recent installation of a rural crossing resulted in 30 offences being captured within the first month. All footage was retrieved by Covtec remotely, evidentially packaged and handed to the British Transport Police for prosecution.
All of Covtec’s systems are designed to be easy to use and utilise communication paths that already exist. Using email and text messages is an easy and effective way to disseminate the video images as the whole infrastructure already exists and most people have access to these messages on desktop computers or via handheld devices.
Covtec is Achilles Link-up qualified and all staff hold PTS qualification. The company supplies solutions ready to work out of the box with all systems pre-programmed to communicate to its clients’ specifications. Covtec also installs and maintains these systems. The company has recently engaged in a Network Rail framework agreement for the supply, installation and maintenance of all of these systems.
The Outbox (‘ballast cam’) was featured on a day of publicity on the BBC news, see www.bbc.co.uk/ news/business-13342162
Visit Covtec at Infrarail on Stand M60
For further information, please contact Kevin McCullagh at:
Tel: 07776 148 839