Through the Eyes of the Installer – CCTV in Irish carparks

February 3, 2021

When you park your car in a multi-storey car park do you ever notice the CCTV cameras? You might see a CCTV sign on the wall but you probably do not realise how this technology is working to protect you and your car. This week we speak to Hugh Foy, General Manager at MF Services about camera security.

MF Services are a company based in Cork that specialise in car park equipment for both surface and multi-storey car parks. They have an impressive list of clients and have been in business for over 20 years. MF Services work on projects all over the country and have installed many systems nationwide.

When did you start supplying cameras to your clients?

We have been supplying car park equipment for many years and we found that late last year more and more of our customers wanted to integrate security cameras into their carparks. As they were happy working with us they would prefer if we also supplied this equipment to them rather than going to a new supplier. The asked us to come up with a solution so we went out to market to seek an answer for them.

Why did you choose Northwood Technology?

We knew Paudie from Northwood Technology and in January last year we got in contact with him to discuss what we needed. He suggested the Dahua 4k system and it turned out to be exactly what our clients needed.

Why did you select the Dahua system?

It’s great that we can integrate the cameras with the parking software we already use as it makes it a complete package for the client. For example, we worked on the Charlottes Quay carpark in Limerick where PTZ cameras were installed over 6 floors giving total coverage. We also installed external cameras to cover all entrances and exits. The beauty of the Dahua product is that they are High Definition cameras giving really clear images both day and night.

The benefit of having the parking system and the CCTV camera system integrated is really a big plus. Having one supplier for the complete system is of benefit to our clients.

What other technology do you use?

We use the ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) technology as well. The cameras are so good that we can not only pick up a clear picture of the licence plate, but of the driver and sometimes the passenger also. The clients are always amazed by the clarity of the images.

With the installed cameras in the carpark, there is a photo taken when you take your ticket at the entrance, another as you pay at the pay station and a further one as you exit through the barrier. This gives great traceability for the client.

What benefit are these cameras to your clients?

People sometimes pretend that they have lost their ticket and claim to have only entered in the past hour. With this technology we can easily and quickly see that they have been there all day and are trying to avoid the parking fee. This capability saves hassle for staff and lost earnings for the company.

While there are obviously signs up showing that CCTV is in place, the cameras are discreet. Apart from the obvious reason to have CCTV which is to deter vandalism and loitering. It’s also used by customers if their car is damaged when they return to it we can look at footage for them and they can trace who is responsible.

Another reason behind having the cameras is to prevent bogus claims. In one instance some time ago, a lady claimed that the barrier had hit her on the head, however, our footage disclaimed this leaving the client free from any claim on his insurance.

How is the system monitored?

The system is linked to a 55” monitor in an office. The security guard has a joy stick which can operate all PTZ cameras so he can zoom into any area on any floor at any time.

Positioning of the cameras is important. As we are so experienced we have learned from other jobs what the best angles and positioning sites are. We don’t want them to be in a place where sunlight or glare from lights is an issue. We ensure there is full coverage of the most important areas of the car parks. These cameras need to be sturdy enough to work in the Irish weather and I can say that the Dahua certainly are.

What is the future looking like for your business in fitting CCTV cameras?

The demand in CCTV and ANPR has certainly increased in the past year. More and more clients are requesting cameras to be installed. We are delighted to have this extra business as it complements our business so well.

Will you continue to source your products from Northwood Technology?

Working with Northwood Technology has been good and we like the equipment itself as it is of very high quality. The customer service from head office is excellent, Colm has great technical knowledge. It’s reassuring to have a good back up service there when we need it with lots of technical knowledge available.

The fact that we get a 3 year manufactures warranty gives us and our client great peace of mind. I know what I can stand over the quality of my work as our team are experienced and are very good at their job. And it’s important to me that the equipment I fit is of as high a quality also.

We thank Hugh from MF Services for sharing his experience of our products with us. If you are interested in finding out more about MF Services take a look at their website. Northwood Technology are the Irish distributors for Dahua CCTV cameras. We offer a consultancy and design service to our clients so we can help with the selection of the perfect solution.

Call us today at our Dublin office on 01 8601880 or our Cork office on 021 2066853