Family Mosaic - Using cloud-based CCTV to protect residents and property
Preventing antisocial behaviour is a constant challenge for all housing associations. Family Mosaic has found that cloud- based CCTV from Cloudview is enabling staff to review issues much more quickly and provide immediate video evidence to the police where appropriate. The system has been added to its existing cameras and footage can be securely recorded and viewed from any location by authorised personnel.
Family Mosaic is a large housing association which provides affordable homes and care and support services in London and South East England. As well as owning and managing some 26,000 affordable rented properties, it provides 8,000 people with housing, care and support services. The association is a member of the g15, the representative body for the largest housing associations in London.
How is Cloudview helping Family Mosaic?
To assist in protecting residents and property from antisocial behaviour such as vandalism and fly tipping, Family Mosaic uses CCTV at many of its sites. Area Manager Pablo Cazar is always keen to use the latest technology to save time or improve services, so when he heard about cloud-based CCTV he wanted to find out more. After seeing a demonstration of the Cloudview system, he decided to trial it at two sites where there were recurring antisocial behaviour issues.
“What impressed me most was how easy it was to use,” Pablo explained. “I’ve spent time working with it myself to find out exactly what it can do, and it’s much more intuitive than our previous CCTV systems. At the moment we have different hardware and software on every site, so users have to learn how to use each one. Cloudview works with all our systems, so training becomes a lot easier.”
What’s different about Cloudview?
A unique feature of Cloudview is the visual network adapter (VNA), which enables existing analogue or digital CCTV cameras to transmit data securely to the cloud via an encrypted tunnel. Once stored, HTTPS/TLS and public key encryption ensure that the data remains secure. It can be viewed by authorised users from any location using their smartphone, tablet or PC, or downloaded to provide evidence to the police if required. This means that there is no longer a need for local or network video recorders.
One of the trial sites is Biggs Square, where Neighbourhood Manager Owen Dean has been delighted with how quickly he can now access video footage. It is also easier to find the footage he needs, as the system only records when there is movement.
“In the past I’d have to drive from head office or wherever I was to the estate, which could take up to an hour, and if it was urgent I’d have to cancel meetings so I could get there as soon as possible,” he explained. “Then it would take another hour or two to search through the recordings to find the right information and put it onto a CD or USB stick for each person who needed a copy. Now I can access the recordings from my office, quickly find the piece of footage I want and either save it or send a secure link to whoever needs it.”
Cloudview came into its own when there was a recent issue with someone accessing Biggs Square to try and steal mail, which is a criminal offence. Owen was able to send the CCTV footage to the police immediately so that the culprit could be identified. All footage is of evidence quality and is accurately stamped with date
“The logistics are so much better, as I was able to provide the video immediately and have an email chat with the police straight away,” he said. “In the past it could take them up to two weeks to collect a USB stick. It’s made sorting out this type of thing a lot easier.”
Accessing footage at any time, from anywhere
Neighbourhood manager Rosh Ahamed is trialling the system at Quill Street, another location which often suffers from antisocial behaviour such as fly tipping. She too appreciates the benefit of being able to access footage remotely – not just for the timesaving and convenience, but also because individuals who may be carrying out the antisocial behaviour do not realise that CCTV footage of their activities is being reviewed.
“In some cases, it can be dangerous going on site to access the DVR as the offenders may want to prevent us obtaining the evidence we need, particularly if drugs are involved,” she explained. “Now I can look at the video on my phone from any location, or provide access to the police if appropriate. There have been occasions where we’ve considered asking the police to covertly monitor our CCTV to deal with a particular offence. If that’s needed in the future, it immediately becomes much easier and safer because we can simply provide access to the footage to authorised officers.”
Rosh also points out that the authorisation process ensures compliance with the Data Protection Act, which applies to all CCTV recordings.
Another feature which both Rosh and Owen find helpful is that Cloudview provides an automatic alert when there is a problem with a camera – so that they no longer visit a site only to discover that a camera is not working. The system has been set up so that updates from the cameras go directly to Cloudview, who alert Family Mosaic if they need to go on site to fix a problem. Owen believes this should mean that the cameras will be out of service a lot less.
Pablo is also very pleased with how the trial is progressing. “It’s certainly an upgrade on what we had before,” he explains. “There is still work to do to stop the fly tipping, but the Cloudview system is facilitating the process and it’s now up to us to get the appropriate policies in place.
“Another benefit is that we won’t need to continually reinvest in our equipment, as Cloudview will continue to improve their system, so it means we’ll have a futureproof solution.
As long as the cameras are right, everything else will run smoothly in the background, and I believe it will definitely help us deliver a better service to our residents. We have just installed it at a third site, and are now discussing which other locations to extend the system to.”