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Synergy 3 delivers multi-site management for utilities control room Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2018 18:50
One of Europe’s largest utilities operators is upscaling the reach and capability of its Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) by using command and control technology to enable centralized security monitoring and management of its national network of sites and assets.

The integrated, interoperable solution developed and deployed by Synectics using its Synergy 3 platform, will enable the organization to monitor and control vital security and safety systems from more than 60 diverse sites. These sites will include manned facilities, unmanned sub-stations, and Category 5 sites critical to national infrastructure requiring the highest levels of protection.

Synergy 3’s open architecture capability integrates data inputs from a multitude of site-based systems such as emergency alarms, sensors, analytics, perimeter detection, audio call points and access control. Pairing this system data with GIS mapping and video footage from Synectics’ COEX and third-party cameras, gives ARC operatives a real-time, geographically accurate view of any anomalous event detected, and the immediate ability to investigate the situation visually through automated camera prioritization.

Interoperable control via the Synergy 3-driven solution enables the ARC-based operators to take rapid action in response to unfolding events or incidents, for example cutting power, changing the voltage to perimeter fences, unlocking areas to aid rapid evacuation, locking down zones to prevent intrusion, or controlling lighting.  The system also enables staff in the control center to speak directly with colleagues at the site via audio point systems.

Any data received or actioned – either through automation or manual input – is securely logged for an authenticated audit trail in line with industry regulations. The evidence locker functionality ensures that all footage, data, and metadata associated with incidents is captured, encrypted, and securely stored should it be needed. 

Given the sheer scale and geographic spread of the sites covered, network and bandwidth capacity was a consideration to be addressed. Synectics has configured the solution to adapt to changing priorities, incorporating smart recording and data streaming to minimize network and bandwidth load.

At the source, all video is recorded at a high-quality frame rate and then scaled down for satellite transmission to the ARC. However, if an event/alarm is detected, the system automatically reverts to the superior frame rate to ensure real-time review can take place.

The solution developed for the customer had two distinct goals in mind; organizational efficiency and operator support as Brett Longley, Technical Sales Manager at Synectics, explains. “For a project of this scale, delivering heightened situational awareness through systems integration is essential. However, just as important is the understanding of business priorities which has enabled us to ensure that operators at the ARC have the processes in place to protect such a vast number of sites.”

“As part of the system design, we worked closely with the customer to create a database of rules for specific types of incidents in line with their standard operating procedures.  With this database established, dynamic workflows were created to guide the ARC operators through the most appropriate next steps for any given scenario. These workflows ensure both rapid and consistent incident response which is crucial for high-security sites.”

The Synectics solution also reflects the need to eliminate the potential for data loss or downtime. Multiple levels of redundancy have been built-in to remove any single point of failure, including hot swap technology, backfilling capabilities, and a ‘back-up ARC’ with full data replication.

To date, Synectics has worked with the customer to integrate systems for over 20 locations and will work closely with the organization’s in-house team to roll-out the remaining sites for an estimated project completion date of 2021.

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