Edwardian Hotels London's portfolio includes 11 Radisson Blu Edwardian properties and ranges in style from bijou boutique to large-scale, five-star luxury. The company also owns the Mayfair hotel: tucked away in the city's luxury quarter, this has 400 beautifully crafted bedrooms, including 12 of the capital's most spectacular suites, a luxurious spa and a 201-seat screening room. A new 350-bedroom premises in nearby Leicester Square, meanwhile, is currently under construction.
"The safety of guests and staff is always top of our list of priorities, so we are constantly reviewing the effectiveness of the video surveillance systems in operation at each of our hotels," says Mohamed Elsebahy, group CCTV manager for Edwardian Hotels London. "Whenever it has been appropriate to do so, we have not hesitated to invest in the latest camera and video recording technology."
Elsebahy built a research and development facility at the company's Heathrow hotel where, with the help of technology consultant Nick Kalsi, he tested a wide range of cameras from Hanwha Techwin Europe and other manufacturers. "We have been very pleased with the performance of the products and the quality of the support we have received from Hanwha Techwin Europe over the last three years," he says.
"The video surveillance system at our Heathrow hotel has even been complimented by local police officers. They have told us that they regard the system as the most reliable of all that are installed at the many hotels on the A4 strip, and that they always have confidence in the system's ability to provide them with high-quality video evidence.
"Nevertheless, I have to be certain that Edwardian Hotels London achieves maximum ROI from its investment in surveillance systems. The R&D facility has given us the opportunity to evaluate the price-to-performance ratio of the latest generation of high-definition Wisenet cameras from Hanwha Techwin Europe, alongside products manufactured by some of its rivals.
"Our evaluation criteria were not just about the features and functions of the cameras and recorders. It was important to also take into account total cost of ownership, and so reliability, warranties and the level of technical support provided by the manufacturer were also important factors."
Elsebahy and Kalsi established that they could achieve the objective of capturing evidence-grade, high-definition images, in all locations and throughout the various hotels, with just three different types of Wisenet IP network-based 2MP Full HD cameras. These were the WisenetIII SNV-6084 vandal-resistant dome, the Wisenet Lite SND-L6013R IR dome and the Wisenet Lite SNO-L6083R weatherproof network IR bullet camera, which is equipped with a varifocal lens.
"The lighting conditions in public areas of the hotels, such as the bars and reception, can vary considerably depending on the time of day," says Kalsi. "The Wisenet cameras' ability to generate high-quality images, even in low light - and in the case of two of the models that have built-in IR LED illumination even in total darkness - makes them ideal for many different types of environments."
There are approximately 1,100 cameras currently installed throughout the Edwardian Hotels London estate. The majority of these are older generation cameras, which are being replaced with SNV-6084, SND-L6013R and SNO-L6083R models, as and when various areas of the hotels are upgraded. The compact SND-L6013R dome is proving particularly popular with Edwardian Hotels London's design team from an aesthetic point of view.
"Our decision to continue to work closely with a single manufacturer has many benefits, including receiving expert, objective advice on the correct camera model for every location," says Elsebahy. "We will shortly be seeking further advice from Hanwha Techwin Europe on how we can best take advantage of the Open Platform technology built into WisenetIII cameras.
"Having access to data captured by a people-counting app running on a WisenetIII camera could, for example, provide valuable information on how many people have entered the bar areas of our hotels."