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Community Safety Watch, by UK based CCTV manufacturer Viseum

04 July 2019

Not every idea is new, not every bit of innovative technology has come straight off the production line. Sometimes you just stumble across a capability that has been quietly working away in the background, adding value to local communities and helping to keep us safe. Sometimes it involves best practice, sometimes it involves novel kit sometimes it involves both.

Philip Ingram MBE (PI), the Editor in Chief with the Nineteen Group met up with Stuart Thompson (ST), the CEO with a UK based CCTV manufacturer called Viseum, but their conversation quickly got around to Community Safety Watch.

(PI) Stuart, tell me a little about yourself and how you came to found Viseum?

(ST) I was working for BT and then Cable & Wireless for 14 years, providing solutions to problems with their businesses and processes. I left this “corporate life” in 1999 having realised how much money I had been saving and making for these businesses. I decided to venture out and set my own technology business up in the Australia.    

I left the UK in 1999 when CCTV had been installed in my UK town centre. I returned to the UK in 2002 and one of the first’s things that I had realised was how the CCTV in town centre had merely moved the crime to the outer suburbs. For example, before I left for Australia there was never any crime but when I returned my local newspaper reported how an old lady was violently mugged twice within a few weeks.

Viseum (UK) Limited was created in 2004 as the trading vehicle to sell the unique Product Solutions that were patented internationally in 2002.

(PI) What was your thinking behind Community Safety Watch?

(ST) Ever since local authorities implemented Town Centre CCTV Schemes in the 1990's, criminals have learned how easy it is to counter CCTV systems. Also, they move their crime and disorder to areas where there are no cameras, or where they know the many cameras are not being watched.

What we wanted to do was develop a solution, based on PTZ cameras (as standard cameras tend not to provide the clarity needed), that could be automated to help with costs and privacy issues and be commercially viable for local authorities so we looked at the issue from a community safety perspective and wanted to develop a technology that made it easier and more cost effective to enable better community safety watch.

(PI) So you developed a unique CCTV capability to meet this requirement, what is it, how does it work and why is it unique?

(ST) We patented the use of moving PTZ cameras and standard fixed cameras, collocated on the same common structure. We did this with the aim of automatically protecting large wide complex and challenging environments; the use of video analytics software is key here.

In essence we have invented and manufacture a single CCTV system that performs the role of many standalone systems and with sophisticated video analytics software we can automate many of the functions. A single 360 CCTV Camera installation covers up to the size of 4 Olympic stadiums.

Having introduced the technology to the CCTV industry in 2003 we quickly realised that the technology had a much wider applicability as it solved many of the problems with stand-alone CCTV systems allowing better management between manned CCTV surveillance and manned guarding patrols. In essence we could do more with one camera system than was being done with multiple stand-alone cameras thereby bringing all elements of community safety together through our platform.

(PI) Viseum provides much more than just a CCTV capability, can you expand on some of the other things you do?

(ST) People finding us on the web when they are searching for CCTV soon realise but soon realise, we are much more than just a CCTV manufacturer.

Criminals with intent will carefully choose their moment to break through access control systems. They will outwit manned guarding patrols and will evade the many different types of “high security” standalone and surveillance operator monitored CCTV systems.   

Based on this, the main difference between us and all of our competitors is that we design our customers’ security solutions to solve their security issues and requirements with innovation and customisation of our technology.  We use Red Team Testing (penetration testing) to deliver the most effective automated security and situational awareness for complex and challenging environments.  We provide whole solutions rather than just CCTV alone.

(PI) What are your next developments?

The Viseum Community SafetyWatch concept strengthens the marketing of our disruptive technologies which include drone detection, traffic enforcement cameras, thermal cameras and much more. Looking at issues from a Community Safety Watch perspective encourages people to understand about the unique benefits our multiple solutions can provide.

We are seeing growth much faster than expected and are creating the sales and support infrastructures in 7 more countries as we export our service. We are carefully selecting telecommunications businesses with the Viseum Community SafetyWatch concept to become members of the Viseum Certified Trusted Premium Brand Alliance.

(PI) Stuart, thank you for your unique insight to leading British innovation enabling Viseum to become a leading British export brand.