What goes on behind the scenes at Certis Cisco
The New Paper on Sunday takes an exclusive look at what goes on in Certis Cisco's Integrated Operations Centre
The scene is eerily silent, save for the gentle whirring of machinery.
Stepping inside Certis Cisco's Integrated Operations Centre (IOC), what strikes the visitor is the sheer number of computer screens.
The IOC houses more than 50 screens recording footage of Certis Cisco cameras at strategic locations all over Singapore.
This reporter saw about 30 officers scanning the screens when he was there, the images in the dimly lit room reflected in their eyes.
It was the first time in the IOC's 10 years that anyone from the media was allowed an exclusive peek.
The IOC is a state-of-the-art nerve centre designed and built to monitor the security company's staff, assets and surveillance systems in places such as Changi Airport, shopping malls, banks and key installations for government agencies.
As the largest CCTV installer in Singapore, Certis Cisco installs over 10,000 cameras every year.
IOC head Tristan Sim says: "We're running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our staff take shifts, and we always have eyes on the ground because the threats of danger never sleep."
Camera surveillance at the IOC is done in a different way from traditional monitoring.
Instead of deploying an officer to watch a fixed set of screens, Certis Cisco has cameras that use video content analysis for more effective monitoring.
These "smart CCTVs" alert the IOC and its officers if they detect strange motion or behaviour in restricted areas.
"By doing so, the cameras actually carry out virtual patrolling and complement the physical foot patrol by our officers," says Mr Sim.
But camera surveillance cannot be left to machines alone.
Officers at the IOC are trained to spot any anomalies in the footage gathered by the cameras.
They look out for disturbances in regular patterns. If, for example, a path is suddenly blocked by an item or an exit in a building is blocked, ground officers will be alerted.
This way, says Mr Sim, Certis Cisco is able to manage the situation or incident more effectively.
"The idea is for the cameras to work in tandem with our officers, not in isolation, to give our customers the best kind of coverage that they can get."
At the IOC, Certis Cisco also oversees the vitals of its cameras and make sure they never fail.
The centre is able to check the details of all its systems across the island, including the health of its power source, the quality of the footage gathered and the storage and archiving systems.
"Camera footage is important not only for immediate response to incidents, it is also integral for post-event investigation," says Mr Sim.
"It is our job to keep our systems running too."
By the numbers
Number of police cameras installed islandwide since April 2012
Number of video footage from the cameras that provided useful leads
Blocks and carparks under the PolCam 1.0 initiative
Number of cases that video footage helped police to solve
Cameras to be installed from now till 2020
Smartphone penetration in Singapore in 2014, the highest in the world
Mobile subscription in June 2015
Number of mobile phone connections for each citizen in June 2015