Unified Security Platform at Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf is one the busiest business and financial districts in London. It offers more than 14 million square feet of office and retail space on 97 acres, and around 140,000 people come there daily. Many major banks, professional services firms and media organisations, including Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and J.P. Morgan, have their global or European headquarters on Canary Wharf.
Canary Wharf Management Limited is responsible for managing the area and this includes security. Mike Walker, Security Technology Manager, explains, “Our job is to ensure it’s always business as usual. We’re managing a mini city, and we want people to feel comfortable and secure without being invasive. It’s all about finding that balance.”
Canary Wharf had been running an old analogue DVR-based video system, which was unreliable, difficult to scale, and lacked flexibility. According to Mike Walker, “With the support from security operations and management, we were ready to move to IP. We wanted a system that could be used with many different technologies, and accommodate standard IT practices.”
Canary Wharf new security platform
They have recently implemented a unified security platform which brings together a number of security systems, including access control, video surveillance, automatic number plate recognition, car barrier and tenant communication, integrated with a map interface.
The security team can track vehicles within Canary Wharf’s peninsula by using the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system. This automatically notifies police of hotlist hits. Canary Wharf has also added a car barrier system. At the touch of a button, operators can block vehicle roadways when a situation requires immediate lockdown.
Other integrations have been added including a tenant communication system. In the event of an emergency, operators can discreetly send text messages to shop staff and suggest procedures such as an immediate evacuation. The staff can also alert security officers to disturbances by pressing a distress button, which automatically triggers an alarm with video from nearby cameras.
All in one
According to Bernadette Bashford-Payne, Estate Control Centre Manager at Canary Wharf, “Why have separate systems when you can have it all in one? All of the information we need is available from one central platform. We originally procured the system for one purpose, but we are recognising so much more opportunity and value in our system as we continue adding automation and integrations.”
To simplify the management of thousands of devices, operators use a built-in map interface. From the map, they can respond to alarms, pull up cameras in specific zones, lock and unlock doors, check device statuses, and even track subjects when seconds count.
“With the size of our estate, the map interface saves us so much time,” explains Bernadette Bashford-Payne. “Our team can quickly follow a subject through the business district. Within seconds, we can pull up camera sequences which help to tell the story, identifying where the subject came from and how events happened. Then we let police handle the rest.”
Canary Wharf actively works with the police and other government agencies, and credits the unified security platform with streamlining communication with these outside departments. The security team can remotely access or securely share video with authorities using highly-secured encryptions and other security tokens.
Apart from security, Canary Wharf is making the most of the unified platform, leveraging video and data for operational benefits when possible. Retrieving video archives to review how events were handled helps management and other agencies improve response processes.
Infrastructure at a glance
The video and data are also often used by the insurance department to prove or disprove corporate liability claims. ANPR data is used to conduct various analytic reports on inbound and outbound traffic, leading to improved roadways, parking and traffic management.
From a business standpoint, the security system is helping to retain and attract clients. “This system helps us convince our clients how secure they will be here, and how efficient our security team is,” concluded Mike Walker.
Paul Dodds. Country Manager UK & Ireland Genetec