End-to-end solutions within security-conscious ANPR market

For Local Authorities, Police Authorities and organisations involved in the use of camera technology such as CCTV and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), the transference of critical data securely and efficiently is a key aspect in creating resilient systems. Challenges that such operators can face include the need for static IP to the device, the creation of secure connects and interconnects, and the overall management and control of numerous deployed units connected, in the main, across cellular networks.

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To implement appropriate platforms, camera operators turn to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Managed Services Providers to steer a course to suitable solutions. And it is here that seeking relevant and cost-effective connectivity platforms can mean success or pain. Today the choice of provider and their sector knowledge can dictate the direction in creating systems that work, or ones that excel – tailored to the precise demands of the sector.

As an example of this, pain was felt by a UK Police Authority in setting up an estate of ANPR cameras – both in-vehicle and fixed sites. Having initially looked at an ‘off the shelf’ MNO solution as part of an existing voice-focused framework agreement, the structure proposed was far from efficient; individual VPN tunnels to each device that required complex management with unacceptable latency resulting in poor levels of data transfer & connectivity. In essence, the authority was to employ an SME solution bolted together with high latency levels. The structure was further challenged due to the potential of ‘bill shock’ – the unexpected costs associated with cellular connectivity when high amounts of data are billed monthly, over and beyond the estimated usage levels.

Reviewing the planned platform, the Police Authority turned to Wireless Logic as a Managed Services Provider to identify a more focused ‘end to end’ solution to the cellular connectivity challenge. Such organisations bring both industry specific and flexible thinking to the table, and importantly, are ‘network agnostic’ so that customers can use one or multiple MNOs within their chosen platform. This was particularly relevant given that the authority had identified a need to engage several networks to ensure acceptable signal strength in their multiple locations. Widely acknowledged as Europe’s leading M2M Managed Services Provider with over 1.5m SIM subscriptions in management, the Wireless Logic team were able to deliver a consultancy-led review and approach to the project employing direct experience gained from similarly implemented applications.

To counter the complex management of multiple VPN tunnels overcoming the latency of such a solution and associated costs, the first recommendation was to employ a single VPN terminating at a demilitarised zone outside of the authority’s internal network. The network platform utilised was Wireless Logic’s NetPro, a single, encrypted and highly resilient structure with dual-failover, sitting across all of the major MNOs within the UK. CAPEX costs for the setting-up of such infrastructures are normally prohibitive to organisations that don’t typically factor in expense for secure connectivity. With NetPro, CAPEX is avoided with costs seen as OPEX when combined with monthly SIM subscriptions.

To resolve the potential of bill shock, this was achieved through the integration of ‘SIMPro’, Wireless Logic’s SIM provisioning and control platform. When linked with a SIM’s fixed IP and the NetPro VPN, SIMPro can individually monitor and control data usage in real-time, setting up alerts and instructions when thresholds are reached. To create a seamless one-stop procurement, Wireless Logic provided pre-configured CISCO routers and other associated hardware. This, along with the connectivity and platforms, enabled the authority to acquire the entire solution through a single source.

Provided as a proof of concept model, the trial initially connected 70 mobile camera sites. With minimal commitment and commercial risk from the outset, the solution allowed the authority to road test the infrastructure with confidence prior to a major rollout featuring multiple fixed and mobile units.

Jon-Paul Clarke, Business Development Director comments: “This solution highlights how public sector camera operators can effectively streamline connectivity services, decrease both CAPEX and OPEX and meet the dictates of delivering secure and resilient two-way communication. We were able to deliver relevant market knowledge and expertise to deliver a comprehensive Enterprise-grade platform, fit for purpose and highly scalable. Working with the procurement processes of the public sector, we were able to provide a complete end-to-end solution without the need for the authority to enlist a number of specialist companies as part of the supply chain. And importantly, we were able to bring the solution to the market rapidly.”

For more information on fixed and mobile camera solutions, contact the business development team today on 0330 056 3300.