Urban Surveillance Project In The Historic Welsh County Of Monmouthshire

AVA Security Communications & Wavesight are proud to have been selected to supply the communication infrastructure in yet another fibre-to-wireless switch-over in the United Kingdom This time we were chosen to design a wireless CCTV network that would allow Monmouthshire County Council to transmit images from Caldicot, Monmouth, Chepstow and Abergavenny back to a central control room for monitoring.


As a consequence of the austerity measure in place local authorities have been exploring ways of reducing costs while still maintaining high levels of service. None more so than Monmouthshire County Council who have managed to achieve significant cost-savings by opting for wireless transmission as opposed to expensive fibre networks. The requirement was for the cameras in each town (including existing analogue cameras and some new IP PTZ cameras) to be connected wirelessly using Wavesight’s Ethernet Bridge. All images were to be sent back to a central location over a private digital fibre backhaul link that existed between the four towns.


Given that the council had already invested in a digital fibre connection within the county – the backhaul infrastructure installed was being utilised to transmit the CCTV images from each town as well. Besides allowing the Council retain total ownership of the network – no further operational expenditure was being incurred.

The overall solution utilises more than 77 licence-exempt Wavesight Ethernet bridges to provide connectivity for around 29 cameras to the control room. Despite the camera columns being located on narrow streets or in hilly region shrouded with buildings and trees – no special towers were erected for achieving line of sight. Existing camera columns, in combination with street light columns, were used to create a very reliable network. Wavesight radios optimised for video transmission and known for ensuring the lowest levels latency also allow for multiple hops/daisy chained wireless links to be created without a problem.

The Council eventually became the sole owner of a dedicated highly secure, private infrastructure, capable of growing, if required with the minimum risk of additional investment. The flexibility offered by wireless technology means that additional cameras can be connected in a very short timeframe and at a fraction of the cost compared with fixed leased line networks

Commenting on the project Phil Grunewald, Managing Director at AVA Security & Communications, said: “We decided to work with Wavesight for this project because we were confident that their experience and knowledge in urban-surveillance projects surpasses that of other Ethernet bridging vendors in the marketplace. We needed to partner with a company that could design a reliable wireless infrastructure solution which will give the client the ability to scale up their system if required in the future.”

Alexa And App Controlled Alarms

Amazon’s Alexa series proved that AI powered assistants could prove a mass market hit outside of the smart phone world, and has won over many users who previously found the idea of speaking to their appliances a bit too…”black mirror”. As a result we can expect almost all new products to have voice control, including alarm systems. Whilst this is inevitable, it does raise the unpleasant possibility of having to manage multiple AIs in your home like a group of uncommunicative children.

Ironically, one big impact it could have on the world of security is not a positive – in an age when every institution is at risk of malicious hacking, many have suggested that having a speaker constantly listening and sending audio data to the cloud could have dangerous consequences. This would only get worse as the technology filters down to smaller manufacturers with less universal software standards.

This trend is not really brand new, but it’s certainly becoming more prevalent. Since the arrival on the market of basic home security offerings from companies such as Ring and Nest, security system and alarm manufacturers have been looking to “Apple-ify” their ranges, moving from clunky and stern hardware, to smaller, sleaker devices that are more attractive to DIY users.

Ring themselves are also looking to aggressively expand their range, stepping on the toes of more traditional alarm system manufacturers.

This is not something to look out for, this change is well underway. Now that smartphones provide DIY users with the type of 24/7 monitoring that used to require paid-for services, it’s no surprise that the home security market is shifting towards smaller, easy-to-install devices.  The shift toward sexy looking App controlled systems is unlikely to make systems better & more secure but will improve the user experience.  It is however likely that commercial systems will need a lot more IT security before it takes a grip there as well.

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What Is The Future Of CCTV Technology?

Big manufacturers like Samsung and Sony have been producing UltraHD or 4K TV’s for some time, but what does it actually mean?

4K is a new higher resolution imaging technology, it’s called 4K because it provides a resolution of 4096 x 2160. This is 4 times the resolution of traditional 1080p (1920 x 1080). This means that you can get 4 times the detail on your screen. Some manufacturers have been calling this technology UltraHD or UHD. UltraHD is actually a slightly different resolution which works at 3840 x 2160, sometimes it is also known as 2160p. So now we have the tech jargon out of the way let us continue!

Think of 4K or UltraHD like we did when Full HD or 1080p was launched, it is a much high quality video format that will allow much great detail.

How Does 4K/UHD Compare To Full HD 1080p & Standard Definition?

4K is often called8 MegaPixel or 8MP as this is how may actual pixels are in the image. In the above chart you can easily see that there is a much larger area for the 4K image. 1080p or Full HD is only 2 MegaPixel, this gives you a lot less detail when compared side by side.

You can also see that old school standard definition is a tiny image size. The quality of 4K really is that much higher.

What Does It Mean For CCTV?

CCTV manufacturers have only recently started marketing 4K. This has mainly been down to storage constraints. 4K footage uses a lot of hard drive capacity, this made systems very expensive when you factored in needing more than 8 terabytes of hard drive capacity for even 2 cameras. New technologies have emerged that have compressed the footage to a much more sensible level, now manufacturers are able to offer 4K recording solutions for 4 and even 8 cameras without needing huge storage.

With the advent of 4K CCTV we will now see a big shift in how cameras could be positioned, with higher resolution you may not need 4 cameras to cover the front of your building, for example. UHD will also open up much greater ANPR (Automatic Number Plate recognition) facial detection and even remote zoom options.

Why Would I Want A 4K CCTV System?

From a perspective of pure quality then 4K CCTV will be excellent. However, this would not be the main reason for making the jump to 4K in our opinion. We think that the main benefit of 4K is what else it will give you as well as potentially lowering the total number of cameras you would need.

Additional benefits such as being able to search for a specific car number plate (ANPR detection) or a school going through a database of facial images to search for the location of a pupil.  Imagine an art gallery raising an alarm should a picture be removed, caught by the change in pixels off the CCTV camera.

The massive clarity in data provides all the tools for proactive systems and a giant stride away from those grainy screens looking at an incident from the night before.

This is where the future of CCTV is moving and the future is bright.  From the massive manufacturing CCTV giants of Dahua and HIK through to Samsung Hanwha, Sony, Axis and a host of others, 4k quality and better processing protocols such as H.265 seems to be the dominant stride forward for the years to come.

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Automatic Barrier & Gate – Law & £’S

Have you ever thought of the risks that you run by ignoring the control of the proper functioning of your gate? Not only does the periodic maintenance of the gate lengthen the life of the automation, which can get to work effectively much longer than a neglected system, but it is also required by law to ensure maximum safety of things and people.

The Machinery Directive 2006/42 / EC considers the automatic gate as an industrial machine, such as a press or a lathe, and includes automatic gates, car garage doors and electrical barriers within the scope of the legislation itself.

In particular, the European directive introduced mandatory maintenance and the compilation of a maintenance booklet for automatic gates installed in both public and private locations. The owner, site manager or the administrator is obliged to complete, in agreement with the installer, the maintenance booklet showing the regular periodicity of the checks carried out by specialised personnel to keep the safety and the automation structure in full efficiency.

Call a qualified professional immediately to improve the functionality, reliability and safety of your automatic gate or request information from the installer nearest you here.

Prevention is better than cure!

We have two small videos on our site which show what happens when the correct safety protocols are not followed !

Find out below the 6 periodic checks recommended by Gate & Barrier manufacturer CAME to lengthen the life of your system, improve its efficiency, ensure more safety to things and people, keep away small or large unexpected events.

The 6 Controls That Extend The Life Of Your Gate:
1.Control of the automation unlocking system
It is the verification of the correct unlocking of the gate to guarantee the full efficiency of the manual opening in the absence of energy and in all other cases of non-functioning

2. Control of mechanical movement forces
This is a technical check to be done with the engine both locked and unlocked, which allows you to highlight any mechanical anomalies (deformations, debris) that can obstruct the free movement of the gate. If neglected, anomalies of this type can reduce the life of automation.

3. Check the correct operation of the limit switches
It is necessary to verify that the limit switches intervene by stopping the leaf according to the correct spaces. Uncontrolled limit switches can create door jamming and therefore create malfunctions and a further increase in engine operation.

4. Check the cleaning of moving mechanical parts
It is important to check the optimal sliding of hinges-joints-worm-roller-bearings of the gate. If neglected, non-cleaning is one of the most common causes of duration under the average standards of an automatic system.

5. Control of operation of the control systems
It is the verification of the efficient operation of transmitters, key selectors and command buttons, which is carried out by controlling the range of the remote control, the contacts and the cleaning of the control selector. Failure to verify this can result in false commands or even sudden shutdown of the system.

6. Control of the functionality of the safety devices
These are two separate technical interventions: at first the functionality of photocells and safety profiles is tested to verify their efficient operation; then we proceed to the control of quality standards, fundamental for the prevention of damage to property and people.

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Why Should Transport Depots Consider The Upgrade To IP CCTV

AVA Security has a long history of working with Bus and Transport Depots and continues to monitor and protect depots across the Southern UK. Recent and rapid advances in technology have however offered a real benefit to the transport sector in particular.

Internet protocol (IP) CCTV technology has been around for many years, but has only recently become the preferred choice over traditional, analogue based systems. This is partly due to IP’s initial cost falling in recent years, which has made it a realistic and affordable alternative.

However IP CCTV systems, which send and receive data through a network video recorder (NVR) or the cloud, have a wide range of other benefits. These make them inherently more flexible than analogue-based systems, which store footage locally using a digital video recorder (DVR).

Here are Ten business reasons to switch to IP, if you haven’t already!

1. Analogue CCTV Reaching End Of Life
Low definition analogue-based CCTV systems, often installed in companies many years ago, are beginning to reach the end of their service lives. Keeping them running past this point will cost more in maintenance in the long run than a complete system upgrade or replacement. If your analogue system is old, malfunctioning or unreliable now is a good time to look at your options.

2. CCTV Image Quality
IP cameras capture images at a much higher resolution than traditional analogue cameras, delivering a vastly superior image quality. Just look at the difference between your iPhone camera and that old Kodak you used to take away on trips to Corfu in the 1980’s ! This is obviously hugely beneficial when examining footage of an intruder; you can zoom in and get a much clearer idea of who the person it. Better image quality also makes for fast, accurate video analytics.

3. Use Existing Infrastructure
If you already have an analogue CCTV system in place, a new IP system can use a lot of the same infrastructure (e.g. cabling) to keep the initial cost down. As the old analogue infrastructure components begin to fail, you can replace them with IP components.

4. Cost Effectiveness
An analogue DVR now costs about the same as an NVR, but think long term. An NVR doesn’t just manage video surveillance, it can look after your storage and data management needs too. By using IP, you can also avoid the costs of maintaining DVR equipment. As mentioned, the purchase costs of IP equipment have fallen dramatically.

5. CCTV Analytics
CCTV systems record a lot of footage, but who is going to monitor it? Often companies only check CCTV footage retrospectively, to try and solve a crime that has already happened. Wouldn’t it be better to monitor CCTV footage constantly and, for example, stop would-be thieves in their tracks before they damage a fuel tank or make off with your gear?

You could pay someone to watch your company’s CCTV streams 24-7 but this is very expensive. A far better and more cost effective solution is video analytics. This comprises sophisticated software, which connects to your IP CCTV system and detects anything from motion and missing objects to tampering with a security camera.

If the software detects an intruder it immediately triggers an alarm, which you can receive to your PC, smartphone or tablet. You can then check the live CCTV footage streamed directly from site (providing you have access to a WIFI network or a decent mobile data signal) and take further action as required (e.g. call emergency services or local guards).

Video analytics software logs anomalies and creates ‘events’. You can see exactly when these took place and view them immediately instead of poring over hours of footage. You can set your own parameters too (e.g. trigger motion detector alarms only outside of office opening hours).

6. CCTV Remote Monitoring
If you like the idea of video analytics, it is also possible to link your IP CCTV system to a professional remote monitoring provider. These operate round the clock from secure observation centres and, when an alarm is triggered from your site, shoulder the responsibility of checking CCTV footage and taking further action if required.

Using a remote monitoring provider offers peace of mind and is suitable for businesses that want a 24 / 7 managed security solution.

7. Ease Of Installation
IP was once more complicated to install than analogue-based technology but not anymore. Ease of installation is a primary feature of virtually all IP CCTV systems and professional installers would have no problem with this.

8. Scalability And Flexibility
IP CCTV systems are almost infinitely scalable. You can scale from a single camera up to thousands if you need too, quickly and easily. With IP you can add cameras one at a time, whereas analogue systems can often only grow in steps of four or 16 at a time.

In terms of flexibility, IP systems can share a wired or wireless network with other products or applications that send video, audio, PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom), binary or power commands. They can also grow with your existing IT system, utilising tools for automatic system maintenance or network management for example.

9. Regulatory Compliance
Some industries are highly regulated and require companies to retain video footage for set periods of time. Storing it on site in a DVR, as with an analogue CCTV system, can be costly and dangerous from a security perspective. Storing video data remotely via an NVR is cost effective and much safer.

10. Reliability / Durability
IP CCTV systems that utilise NVRs are proven to be every bit as reliable and durable as their analogue / DVR counterparts. What’s more they are faster too.

Transport depots tend to have large area, high value cargo, buses/trucks and fuel, which makes them a very high risk. The cost of having the trucks off the road also impacts on business. IP CCTV is the way of the future and certainly worth investing in.

If you are interested in IP CCTV technology then give the team a ring on 01633 862177 or email us for a no obligation chat.

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Business Continuity Plan – Coronavirus Co-Vid 19

AVA Fire & Security Ltd maintains a Business Continuity Plan to ensure emergency preparedness and response in order to mitigate any impacts of an incident occurring.

The plan is reviewed annually and will be reviewed and adapted continually when enacted.


The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that AVA is specifically prepared for the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.


The Director (Compliance) has responsibility for the implementation and testing of the Business Continuity Policy.  All staff have responsibility for complying with the requirements of this procedure.


  • Minimise staff exposure to the virus
  • Provide a continuing service to our customers
  • Responsive actions to minimize impact to services
  • Maintaining critical suppliers to support the business operation
  • Ensure AVA communicate with the customers and staff clearly


AVA will follow Government advice as a matter of course.  We will monitor news outlets and Government websites to ensure we are acting in the best interest of the company and the wider community.  This information will be distributed to all members of staff electronically.

AVA Engineers are peripatetic, and in most circumstances are lone working.  Each engineer is equipped with a mobile phone and carries emergency stock on their vehicles.

All personnel are required to call the office by 8.00am if they are unwell, this will allow operations staff to plan the daily workload.

Engineers should contact housing scheme/multi occupancy site managers before entering any flats.

All calls to domestic properties will be asked if anyone is self-isolating on the premises at the time the call is placed and on our engineer’s arrival. If there is any self-isolation, we will ask that the call is postponed until the self-isolation period has ended.

When practical, office staff will work from home and log in remotely to our cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and company email system.

Co-ordination of services can take place remotely as engineer’s have mobile phones with access to company CRM software.

Callouts will be prioritized to ensure calls to the elderly and vulnerable are actioned first.

Suppliers will be contacted to assess any gaps in the supply chain and where required seek alternative sources of supply.

Engineers carry emergency stock on their vehicles and most common items of stock are also held in AVA stores to ensure continuity of service should there be a situation where the supply chain breaks down temporarily.

Should there be an internet connectivity failure at our office, AVA will use a portable WIFI hotspot.

As from Monday 16th March the office will be closed to external visitors and where possible any meetings will be postponed or conducted via telephone and/or video call.  We have notified as many people as we can and will notify our clients when speaking to them.


Directors will review the plan daily and will adapt where necessary as the situation evolves and dictates.

Further information is available from:



Philip Grunewald


16th March 2020


  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for lease 20 seconds
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

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