Keeping a watchful eye: CCTV design and project management solutions



Cognetix, London, UK


Islington Council unveiled its state-of-the-art facility in the City of London last month. Dignitaries were afforded a glimpse of the CCTV control room of the future. The main advantage of the design is the true integration of multiple suppliers’ systems making it efficient and easy to use.

The latest equipment

It features the very latest equipment with digital video recording and allows operators to collaborate with the Metropolitan Police and Arsenal FC’s new Emirates Stadium. The design improves operator efficiency, ease of incident follow-up and offers a practical solution for sharing resources.

As well as 48 standard monitors, the community safety control room features three Barco rear-projection visual displays, which can show VGA inputs, maps and static pictures as well as up to 24 split-screen video pictures.

Future expandability

A key goal was future expandability. The control room provides Islington Council with the infrastructure for an efficient operating environment for today and the capacity to provide for the future. Islington found its previous facility in King’s Cross stretched to the limit, and asked Cognetix to come up with a design solution to fulfil this requirement including the migration of the existing 100 cameras from their old control room. Cognetix designed the entire solution and project managed its implementation, with Tyco Integrated Systems as main contractor and numerous sub contractors including Barco, BT, Synectics and Telewest.

Instant replay of captured evidence

The result was two ultra-modern control rooms, one for parking and traffic enforcement and the other for community safety, with the latter including a police review suite. Instant replay of captured evidence through an intuitive graphical user interface is available to each operator at his or her workstation or to the police in the review suite. The CCTV operators can configure the dynamic video display wall (Barco) for different camera layouts, and various quad configurations onto CRT monitors. Gathering and sharing evidence with the police on an incident has become considerably more efficient than the previous VHS tape and multiplexer based system, where the process was laborious and time-consuming.

Seamless integration

Through the TVNP open protocol, the system seamlessly integrates with the Metropolitan police local CAD and 3Ci control rooms, the Emirates stadium and Transport for London camera networks. This integration affords operators maximum visibility of an area.

The open system design will also allow for future integration with neighbouring boroughs and estate CCTV networks, which will bring control of all public space cameras in an area to a single control centre for maximum effectiveness.

Management of incidents

The dynamic display wall and integrated Synectics control system will be particularly helpful when monitoring the new Emirates stadium, whose cameras are shared with the community safety team. The management of incidents in the Borough can be processed more efficiently through the use of the automatic intelligent routing of cameras. Maps of the Borough or the Emirates Stadium itself can also be displayed and overlaid with live footage from each of the cameras providing a spatial representation.

Image storage management

Over time there is a gradual reduction in the number of frames held to help optimise the use of available storage. Pictures are initially kept in real-time mode (25ips), then after set periods of time the system automatically drops frames, without reducing the quality. Images can be copied to DVD, downloaded to USB hardrive or fed to an analogue VHS tape recorder for use in courts and police stations. Still images can be printed in the police review suite.


The joined-up nature of Islington’s control room is having a major impact on the local community, improving the effectiveness of the partners sharing the cameras and reducing the requirement to install multiple cameras in the same vicinity.

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