GB2471784A - Rapid deployment security system - Google Patents

Rapid deployment security system Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2471784A
GB2471784A GB1011698A GB201011698A GB2471784A GB 2471784 A GB2471784 A GB 2471784A GB 1011698 A GB1011698 A GB 1011698A GB 201011698 A GB201011698 A GB 201011698A GB 2471784 A GB2471784 A GB 2471784A
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GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
security
safety
transportable
response
towers
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB1011698A
Other versions
GB201011698D0 (en
GB2471784B (en
Inventor
Phillip John Bunting
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
CAMWATCH Ltd
Original Assignee
CAMWATCH Ltd
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB0912036A priority Critical patent/GB0912036D0/en
Application filed by CAMWATCH Ltd filed Critical CAMWATCH Ltd
Publication of GB201011698D0 publication Critical patent/GB201011698D0/en
Publication of GB2471784A publication Critical patent/GB2471784A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of GB2471784B publication Critical patent/GB2471784B/en
Active legal-status Critical Current
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19617Surveillance camera constructional details
    • G08B13/19619Details of casing
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19617Surveillance camera constructional details
    • G08B13/19632Camera support structures, e.g. attachment means, poles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19695Arrangements wherein non-video detectors start video recording or forwarding but do not generate an alarm themselves
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19697Arrangements wherein non-video detectors generate an alarm themselves
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B17/00Fire alarms; Alarms responsive to explosion
    • G08B17/10Actuation by presence of smoke or gases automatic alarm devices for analysing flowing fluid materials by the use of optical means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B17/00Fire alarms; Alarms responsive to explosion
    • G08B17/12Actuation by presence of radiation or particles, e.g. of infra-red radiation or of ions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B19/00Alarms responsive to two or more different undesired or abnormal conditions, e.g. burglary and fire, abnormal temperature and abnormal rate of flow
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/01Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium
    • G08B25/10Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium using wireless transmission systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/18Closed circuit television systems, i.e. systems in which the signal is not broadcast
    • H04N7/181Closed circuit television systems, i.e. systems in which the signal is not broadcast for receiving images from a plurality of remote sources

Abstract

A rapid deployment security system is provided for use at a construction site, compound, or yard. The system comprises a monitoring station 10 located off-site, and at least one transportable security tower 100 located on-site. The at least one tower 100 comprises: a video camera 130 mounted on an extendable mast 120; a security sensor 170 for generating and transmitting a security alert in response to detection of a security event; and a loud speaker 180 for outputting an audible warning in response to a security alert. The system further comprises at least one safety sensor 300 for generating and transmitting a safety alert in response to detection of a safety event, whereby a unit processes the safety alert signal and activates a predetermined safety response. At least one safety device 310 is arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response. The safety sensor 300 may comprise a smoke detector, fire detector, gas detector, water detector. The safety device 310 may comprise an audible alarm, a barrier access actuator or a sprinkler activation device.

Description

Rapid Deployment Security System

BACKGROUND

Technical Field

The invention relates to a rapid deployment security system. In particular, but not exclusively, the invention relates to a system which is able to be deployed rapidly onto a site having little or no existing security infrastructure, such as a construction site, compound or yard.

Description of Related Art

Security systems are typically used to reduce crime, firstly by deterring would-be criminals or, secondly, by enabling the successful prosecution of criminals in the courts.

Criminals are deterred by audible warnings, the threat of capture by security personnel or police, or by the threat of their activity and identity being recorded by cameras. The prospect of a successful prosecution is greatly enhanced by good quality video evidence.

In this regard, closed circuit television (CCTV) systems have been combined with intruder alarms. These combined systems have proven popular, especially when integrated with a remote monitoring station. Audible warnings can be generated by a security operator located in the remote monitoring station when an intruder is detected, and relayed to the monitored site to warn the intruder they are being watched. The CCTV system acts both as the eyes of the security operator on the monitored site, and to collect video evidence.

Such security systems have been developed for rapid deployment on sites with minimal infrastructure. One example is the CAMWATCH (RTM) TOWER (TM), which uses closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras mounted high up on a mast attached to a secure, tamper-resistant and transportable base. Signals, including intruder triggers and video data, are sent to the remote manned security control station via wireless links (such as 3G or GPRS, where appropriate). Outputs, such as speech warnings and camera/recording control signals, are returned to the TOWER via the same wireless links. At least some aspects of the CAMWATCH TOWER are described in UK Patent Application GB 2 451 291 A published on 28 January 2009. The contents of UK Patent Application GB 2 451 291 A are incorporated herein by reference.

However, the known rapid deployment security systems could be improved to include more functionality, to make them even more useful and commercially desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided an apparatus and method as set forth in the appended claims. Other features of the invention will be apparent from the dependent claims, and the description which follows.

In one aspect of the invention, there is provided a rapid deployment security system arranged to secure a site, the system comprising: a monitoring station located off-site, first and second transportable security towers located on-site, each comprising a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a global communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data to the monitoring station and receive control commands from the monitoring station, a local communications unit arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera, the global communications unit and the local communications unit; first and second security sensors, each being arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first and second transportable security towers, respectively, and each being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the respective control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; first and second security loudspeakers, each being arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first and second transportable security towers, respectively, and each being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal being received from the respective control unit; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; a safety alert processing unit, arranged to receive and process the safety alert signal and to activate a predetermined safety response; and at least one safety device arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.

In this way, a rapid deployment security system is improved by having, in addition to site security features, useful site safety features. The site safety features trigger safety alarms, and the system allows use of a network of transportable towers to implement a predetermined response, such as the sounding of evacuation bells, the opening of perimeter gates, for example, in a flexible and configurable way. The network allows an alarm generated at one end of a site, to be relayed to other parts of the site out of audible or visual reach, or for appropriate action to be taken.

Preferably, there are a plurality of safety sensors, each of which is arranged to communicate with the first or second transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event.

Preferably, there are a plurality of safety devices. Preferably, the or each safety device is arranged to communicate with the first or second transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and is arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.

Preferably, the predetermined safety response includes generating a safety alarm and transmitting the safety alarm to each of the first and second transportable security towers for transmission to the or each respective safety device. In this way, an alarm can be quickly relayed across a site. Preferably, the safety alarm is one of a plurality of levels depending on the safety alert signal, and the system is arranged so that each respective safety device is selectively activated to perform a safety action depending on the level of the safety alarm. For example, if the safety alarm level is high, then the safety action may be an evacuation alarm, and may also be an exit opening action to allow unrestricted evacuation, and may also be a system closure command, such as electrical or fluid isolation. If the safety alarm level is low, then the safety action may be an audible warning. In this way, a proportionate response to a safety event can be achieved.

Preferably, the safety alert processing unit is located in the monitoring station. In this way, the monitoring station can alert the relevant towers on site, and the monitoring station can be programmed while the towers are being deployed, further increasing the speed of deployment of the system. Also, each tower can be of a standard design, with the tailor-made predetermined response being handled centrally. Alternatively, the safety alert processing unit is located in one of the first and second transportable security towers. In this way, there is no need to rely on the monitoring station, and in particular the communications channel between each tower and the monitoring station being active. Instead, each tower can communicate directly with other towers within range, to relay safety alarm signals. Of course, the safety alarms could be relayed via the monitoring station if required. In one embodiment, each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a safety alert processing unit. In this way, a peer-to-peer network arrangement is achieved, and, additionally, each tower can stand alone to generate a safety alarm so that if all global and local communications are lost, an alarm may still be generated.

Preferably, the first and second security sensors are each one of the following: a movement sensor, a hitch lock, a door contact, a shock contact, and a crane hatch lock. The movement sensor may be a passive infra-red (PIR), microwave or mixture of PIR and microwave type sensor.

Preferably, the first and second loudspeakers are arranged to output a voice message received from the monitoring station. Preferably, the voice message is live. In this way, an intruder is much more likely to flee. Alternatively, the voice message is recorded. Additionally, or alternatively, the first and second loudspeakers are arranged to output a high intensity audible signal.

Preferably, the at least one safety sensor is one of the following: a smoke detector, a fire detector, a gas detector, a water detector. Preferably, the smoke detector is one of a smoke particle or smoke video analytic sensor. Preferably, the fire detector is one of a temperature rate of rise or threshold detection fire detector. Preferably, the gas detector is a carbon monoxide detector or a butane, propane and methane detector. Preferably, the water detector is a flood level detector.

Preferably, the at least one safety device is one of: an audible alarm, a barrier access actuator or a sprinkler activation device. The barrier access actuator may be a door interlock, or a barrier release mechanism. In this way, appropriate safety responses are performed.

Preferably, each global communications unit is configured to communicate with the monitoring station using an internet protocol (IP) over a 3G wireless link (defined by standard International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000)). In this way, video data can be reliably transmitted to the monitoring station, and the system can be rapidly deployed using existing communications infrastructure. Preferably, each global communications unit is able to communicate wirelessly with the monitoring station using at least two separate, stand-alone, communications channels. For example, the global communications unit is able to use a 3G channel and a general packet radio service (GPRS) channel. In this way, reliability is improved. Preferably, the 3G channel has redundancy. In other words, there is an option of using first and second 3G networks. If one 3G network is unavailable, the system automatically switches to the other 3G network. Preferably, the global communications unit is able to switch between each channel depending on the information being sent or the status of each channel. Preferably, video data is sent over the 3G channel, and other data is sent over the 3G channel or the GPRS channel. In this way, more effective use of the communications resources is achieved. Preferably, alarms and control commands are communicated over the GPRS channel. Preferably, communications are encrypted for security. Also, it is envisaged that the communications channels could be based on future wireless technology, such as 4G.

Preferably, each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a back-up communications unit able to communicate with the monitoring station using a dedicated landline connection, such as via one or more of: an analogue network, such as a public switched telephone network (PSTN), and a digital network, such as an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) or an integrated services digital network (ISDN). Preferably, the back-up communications unit is used to communicate alarms to the monitoring station in the event of the global communications unit being unable to communicate with the monitoring station.

Again, this improves reliability of the system.

Preferably, each portable security tower is arranged to relay one or more system alarm messages to the monitoring station. Here, each system alarm message may relate to one of: camera malfunction, security sensor malfunction or battery low, safety sensor malfunction or battery low, safety device malfunction or battery low, mains power failure, uninterruptable power running low, local recording malfunction and network connection lost. In this way, a security operator at the monitoring station is able to perform remedial steps to bring the system back to full functionality.

Preferably, the system comprises at least one management information sensor arranged to detect management information and to communicate the management information to one of the first and second portable security towers via the respective local communications unit. Preferably, the management information sensor is one of: a weather sensor, such as a temperature, wind speed, sunlight or rain detector; a pollution sensor, such as a gas sensor; a process control sensor, such as a flow, temperature or pressure sensor. Preferably, the respective global communications unit is arranged to relay the management information to the monitoring station. In this way, the system finds further use, making the system more commercially desirable.

Preferably, each of the first and second portable security towers comprises several video cameras. Preferably, the or each video camera is controllable to pan and zoom under either automatic control in response to a security alarm or safety alarm, or remote control from the monitoring station. Preferably, the or each video camera is controllable to tilt under either automatic control in response to a security alarm or safety alarm, or remote control from the monitoring station. Automatic control may use automatic motion detection systems or preset camera positions based upon the location and field of view of the originating security alert, and subsequent security alerts. Preferably, each of the first and second portable security towers comprises one or more light sources to illuminate the field of view of each camera. Preferably, the light source is one or a mixture of an infra-red light source, a white light source and a laser light source and at least one camera is sensitive to the corresponding light. Preferably, each camera has a sensitivity level of 0.1 lux during monochrome operation and 1 lux during colour operation. Preferably, each camera and light source is housed in a vandal-resistant housing.

Preferably, each of the first and second portable security towers comprises a local video recording apparatus. Preferably, the local video recording apparatus is digital and is arranged to be able to increase recording resolution or frame rate or change compression algorithm to improve picture quality when the security alarm or the safety alarm is generated. Preferably, the local video recording apparatus is arranged to buffer video data, and to preserve buffered data when the security alarm or the safety alarm is generated. In this way, more efficient use of limited recording capacity is achieved.

Preferably, the base unit of each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a steel cabinet with inner baffle plate protection, and the control unit, global communications unit and local communications unit are located in the steel cabinet.

Preferably, each of the first and second transportable security towers is supplied with mains power and has an uninterruptible power supply as an alternative power source.

Preferably, each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises removable wheels, and extendible support arms for stabilising the towers in use.

Preferably, at least one security sensor is configured to communicate with more than one transportable security tower. Preferably, each safety sensor is configured to communicate with more than one tower.

In another aspect of the invention, there is provided a rapid deployment security system arranged to secure a site, the system comprising: first and second transportable security towers located on-site, each comprising a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data and arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera and the communications unit; at least one security sensor being arranged to communicate with the control unit of at least one of the first and second transportable security towers, and being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the respective control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; at least one security loudspeaker being arranged to communicate with the control unit of one of the transportable security towers and being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal being received; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit of one of the transportable security towers via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; a safety alert processing unit, arranged to receive and process the safety alert signal and to activate a predetermined safety response; and at least one safety device arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a transportable security tower comprising: a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data and arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera and the communications unit; at least one security sensor being arranged to communicate with the control unit, and being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; a security loudspeaker being arranged to communicate with the control unit and being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit via the local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; at least one safety device in communication with the control unit and arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.

According to another aspect of the invention, there are provided methods corresponding to the operation of the systems and transportable security tower described above.

At least some of the exemplary embodiments may be constructed, partially or wholly, using dedicated special-purpose hardware. Terms such as component', module' or unit' used herein may include, but are not limited to, a hardware device, such as a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) or Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), which performs certain tasks. Also, elements of the exemplary embodiments may be configured to reside on an addressable storage medium and be configured to execute on one or more processors. That is, some of the exemplary embodiments may be implemented in the form of a computer-readable storage medium having recorded thereon instructions that are, in use, executed by a computer system. The medium may take any suitable form, but examples include solid-state memory devices (ROM, RAM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc.), optical discs (e.g. Compact Discs, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs and others), magnetic discs, magnetic tapes and magneto-optic storage devices. In some cases the medium is distributed over a plurality of separate computing devices that are coupled by a suitable communications network, such as a wired network or wireless network. Thus, functional elements of the invention may in some embodiments include, by way of example, components, such as software components, object-oriented software components, class components and task components, processes, functions, attributes, procedures, subroutines, segments of program code, drivers, firmware, microcode, circuitry, data, databases, data structures, tables, arrays, and variables. Further, although the exemplary embodiments have been described with reference to the components, modules and units discussed below, such functional elements may be combined into fewer elements or separated into additional elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how exemplary embodiments may be carried into effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 is a schematic view of a system according to the invention; Figure 2 is a block diagram of the main components of the system of Figure 1; Figure 3 is a schematic view of the system of Figure 1 with additional safety sensors and safety devices; Figure 4 is a schematic view of the system of Figure 3 with additional safety components; Figure 5 is a flow chart showing a security process of the system of Figure 1; and Figure 6 is a flow chart showing a safety process of the system of Figure 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

An exemplary embodiment of the invention is now described with reference to Figures 1-6.

Referring in particular to Figure 1, a rapid deployment security system 1 is shown. The rapid deployment security system is arranged to secure a site, such as a construction site, compound or yard. The rapid deployment security system 1 is particularly suited to sites with little or no existing infrastructure. Preferably, a power supply is available, but even if not available, the security system 1 can be deployed rapidly for at least a short period of time.

The rapid deployment security system 1 comprises a monitoring station 10 located off-site, and first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 located on-site.

The first transportable security tower 100 is located in an area referred to as zone A, and the second transportable security tower 200 is located in an area referred to as zone B. In this embodiment, there are two transportable security towers but the invention is expandable to any number of security towers depending on the size of the site and the requirements of the user. However, for an illustration of the invention, it is considered that two transportable security towers 100, 200 is sufficient.

Each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 comprises a transportable base unit 110, 210, an extendable mast 120, 220 mounted to the transportable base unit 110, 210, a video camera 130, 230 mounted on the extendable mast 120, 220 and arranged to generate video data. The transportable base unit 110, 210 and extendable mast 120, 220 combine to make each tower 100, 200 easily transportable and rapidly deployable.

Referring to Figure 2, which is a block diagram of the main components of the system 1, the first transportable security tower 100 comprises a global communications unit 140 arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data to the monitoring station 10 and receive control commands from the monitoring station 10, a local communications unit 150 arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit 160 arranged to control the video camera 130, the global communications unit 140 and the local communications unit 150. Figure 2 shows a block diagram of the tower 100, but equivalent components exist in tower 200 and are referred to throughout the description as 240, 250 and 260 etc. The system 1 also comprises first and second security sensors 170, 270 which are each arranged to communicate with the control unit 160, 260 of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200, respectively. Each of the first and second security sensors 170, 270 is arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the respective control unit 160, 260 in response to a security event. In the example shown the first and second security sensors 170, 270 are movement detectors. In particular, the first and second security sensors 170, 270 are passive infrared (PIR) sensors arranged on the respective extendable masts 120, 220, and are arranged to transmit the security alert signal in response to movement being detected within range of the respective first and second security sensors 170, 270.

The rapid deployment security system 1 also comprises a security alert processing unit 500 arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal in response. In this example, the security alert processing unit 500 is located in the monitoring station 10, however the security alert processing unit 500 could be located in one or both of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200.

The rapid deployment security system 1 further comprises first and second security loud speakers 180, 280. The first and second security loud speakers 180, 280 are each arranged to communicate with the control unit 160, 260 of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200, respectively. Each of the first and second security loud speakers 180, 280 is arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal being received from the respective control unit 160, 260. In the example shown, the security sensors 170, 270 and the security loud speakers 180, 280 are located on each respective extendable mast 120, 220 and are hard wired to each respective control unit 160, 260. However, it is envisaged that one or both of the security sensors 170, 270 and security loud speakers 180, 280 can communicate with the control unit 160, 260 wirelessly via each respective local communications unit 150, 250.

The rapid deployment security system 1 further comprises at least one safety sensor 300 arranged to communicate with the control unit 160 of the first transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit 150. The at least one safety sensor 300 is also arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event. In the example shown, the at least one safety sensor 300 is a fire detector, and the safety alert signal is triggered when a fire is detected. However, there are a number of different safety sensors which could be used, and some of these are described later.

The rapid deployment security system 1 also comprises a safety alert processing unit 600, which is arranged to receive and process the safety alert signal and to activate a predetermined safety response. In the example shown, the safety alert processing unit 600 is arranged in the monitoring station 10. However, the safety alert procession unit 600 could be located in one or both of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 as required.

The rapid deployment security system 1 also comprises at least one safety device 310 arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response. In this example, the safety device 310 is a sounder arranged to output a high intensity audible sound in order to instigate an evacuation of the site, such as would be expected in the event of fire detection. The at least one safety device 310 is shown in Figure 1 as being in zone B but remote from the second transportable security tower 200, and is shown in Figure 2 to be arranged to communicate with the local communications unit 150, which in this case would be local communications unit 250, of the second transportable security tower 200. Of course, in a different example, the second loud speaker 280 mounted on the extendable mast 220 could also be used to generate a high intensity audible alarm. The at least one safety device 310 may be one of several possibilities, which are discussed later.

The invention contributes an improved rapid deployment security system which creates the possibility of integrating many useful site safety features. The site safety features are able to trigger safety alarms, and the system allows use of a network of transportable towers to implement a predetermined response, such as the sounding of evacuation bells, the opening of perimeter gates and so on, in a flexible and configurable way. The network allows an alarm generated at one end of a site, to be relayed to other parts of the site out of audible or visual reach, or for appropriate action to be taken. The system is configurable at the remote monitoring station 10 which greatly aids in the rapid deployment and set up of the system. The rapid deployment security towers 100, 200 are able to communicate wirelessly with the monitoring station 10, which greatly aids in the deployment of the security system 1 into sites with little or no infrastructure.

Figure 3 is an extension of Figure 1 and shows the rapid deployment security system 1 having an additional safety sensor 300 in zone B, and an additional safety device 310 in zone A. The remainder of Figure 3 is identical to Figure 1 and like reference numerals denote like components.

In the situation shown in Figure 3, if a safety alert signal is generated by either of the safety sensors 300 located in zone A or zone B, then the safety alert processing unit 600 is arranged to send a safety alert signal to both the first transportable security tower 100 and the second transportable security tower 200 in order to initiate the predetermined response. In this example, both zone A and zone B have a safety device 310 in communication with the respective tower 100, 200 and are arranged to activate individual safety actions as a result of the predetermined response. In this example, the safety sensor 300 in zone A is a fire detection sensor, and the safety sensor 300 is zone B is a break-glass unit. The safety device 310 in zone A is an audible sounder, and the safety device 310 in zone B is a barrier release mechanism. When either of the safety sensors 300 in zone A or zone B is activated, the predetermined response is executed and the audible sounder 310 in zone A and the barrier release mechanism 310 in zone B are activated. As a result, personnel on site are warned about a fire and can vacate the site easily due to the barrier being released.

Figure 4 is a schematic view of the system 1 of Figure 3 with additional safety components 320. The rest of Figure 4 is identical to Figure 3 and the same reference numerals are used to denote the same features in both Figure 3 and Figure 4.

The additional safety component 320 illustrates how the system can be expanded by the addition of further safety sensors or safety devices.

For example, the additional safety component 320 in zone A in this example is a sprinkler activation device. Also, to illustrate, the additional safety component 320 in zone B is a carbon monoxide detector 320, and is located where there is a risk of concentrated levels of carbon monoxide. In this example, if the break glass unit 300 in zone A is activated, then the sounder 310 and sprinkler activation device 320 in zone A are activated together with the barrier release mechanism 310 in zone B. This is an example of a high level safety alarm signal being generated by the safety alert processing unit 600.

Alternatively, if a safety alert signal is generated by the carbon monoxide detector 320 in zone B, then the sounder 310 and sprinkler activation device 320 located in zone A are not activated. Also, the release mechanism 310 in zone B is not activated. Instead, a low-level alarm is generated by the safety alert processing unit 600 and is communicated to security personnel in the monitoring station 10 via a user interface control unit 700, shown in Figure 2.

Appropriate action can then be taken, for example by informing local personnel on site, or by sending security personnel to the site to investigate further. Additionally, the additional safety device 320 may be an isolation device to enable local action to be taken immediately.

As mentioned already, the safety alert processing unit 600 is located in the monitoring station 10. In the embodiment described, the monitoring station 10 relays the safety alarm signal to both the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 via the global communications unit 140, 240 in each of the first and second towers 100, 200 respectively.

However, it is envisaged that the safety alert processing unit 600 can be arranged in one of the first and second portable security towers 100, 200 50 that local safety alarms may be generated. It is envisaged that the first and second communication towers will communicate wirelessly using the local communications units 150, 250 in each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 respectively. In this case, a security alert will be generated in one of the transportable security towers 100, 200 and transmitted to the other to relay the signal across the site.

Also, it is envisaged that both the first and second transportable security towers 100, can each comprise the safety alert processing unit 600 operating in a peer-to-peer network to relay safety alarm signals across the site.

In the embodiments described, the first and second security sensors 170, 270 are selected from the following non-exhaustive list: a movement sensor, a door contact, a hitch lock, a shock contact, a crane hatch lock, a beam break and a crane door shunt lock.

Preferably, the movement sensor is a passive infra-red (PIR) sensor, a microwave sensor or a hybrid sensor. The security sensors are optionally wireless and communicate with the local communications unit 150, 250 of each tower 100, 200 respectively. Movement sensors and door interlocks may be mounted inside buildings to create a second layer of security. Care is needed to ensure the wireless range is sufficient for each security sensor 170, 270 to communicate with each respective tower 100, 200.

In this embodiment, the first and second loud speakers 180, 280 are arranged to output a voice message received from the monitoring station 10 via the global communications unit 140, 240 respectively. The voice message is live, so that a security operator in the monitoring station 10 is able to directly communicate with an intruder on-site. This has a considerable impact in causing any intruder to vacate the site quickly. Of course, it is envisaged that the voice message may be recorded in some circumstances. Additionally, or alternatively, a first and second loud speaker 180, 280 are arranged to output a high intensity audible signal.

In the preferred embodiment, each safety sensor 300 is one of the following non-exhaustive list: a smoke detector, a fire detector, a gas detector, a water detector. The fire detector is a temperature sensor, and is either a rate of rise detector or a threshold detector.

The gas detector is a carbon monoxide detector or a combined butane, propane and methane detector or a nitrogen detector. Each safety sensor 300 may be located inside a building or outside, and again, care must be taken to ensure the wireless range is sufficient.

In the exemplary embodiment, the at least one safety device is one of the following non-exhaustive list: an audible alarm, a barrier access actuator or a sprinkler activation device.

The barrier access actuator is a door interlock or a barrier release mechanism.

Referring back to Figure 2, the global communications unit 140, 240 is configured to communicate with the monitoring station 10 using an Internet Protocol (IP) over a 3G wireless network (defined by standard International Mobile Telecommunications -2000 (IMPT-2000)).

In practice, two 3G networks are used to create redundancy, and the system switches between each network as necessary. The global communications unit 140, 240 is able to communicate using a second, stand-alone wireless communication channel. In this example, the second communication channel is a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) channel. The global communications unit 140, 240 is able to switch between each channel, that is the 3G channel and the GPRS channel, depending on the status of each channel. Preferably, the video data sent over the 3G channel and the other data is sent over either the 3G channel or the GPRS channel. Sometimes it is preferred to send alarms and call commands over the GPRS channel.

Also, each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 comprises a back-up communications unit 142 able to communicate with the monitoring station 10 using a dedicated landline connection, such as a Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN), a Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) or integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

Preferably, the back-up communications unit 142 is used to communicate alarms to the monitoring station 10 in the event of the global communication unit 140 being unable to communicate with the monitoring station 10.

In order that the monitoring station 10 is able to communicate with each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200, the monitoring station 10 has a corresponding global communications unit 440 and a corresponding back-up communications unit 442. Also, the remote station 10 has a controller 400 which coordinates information flowing within the remote monitoring station 10 and between the monitoring station 10 and the first and second towers 100, 200.

In the preferred embodiment, each transportable security tower 100, 200 is arranged to relay one or more system alarm messages to the monitoring station 10. Here, each system alarm message may be one of the following non-exhaustive list: camera malfunction, security sensor malfunction or battery low, safety device malfunction or battery low, mains failure, uninterruptable power running low, local recording malfunction and network connection loss.

In the preferred embodiment, the system 1 comprises at least one management information sensor arranged to detect management information and to communicate the management information to one of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 the via local communication unit 150, 250. The management information sensor is one from the following non-exhaustive list: a weather sensor, such as a temperature, wind speed, sunlight or rain detector; a pollution sensor, such as a gas sensor, a process control sensor, such as a flow, temperature or pressure sensor; and an RFID reader for picking up the movement of tagged assets. The global communications unit 140, 240 is arranged to relay the management information to the monitoring station 10. The monitoring station 10 is arranged to record this information, and to alert a security operator if management information falls out of predefined ranges. This way, a database of useful management information is created and if extreme conditions are detected, appropriate remedial action can be taken. The management information is also able to be stored locally on each respective tower 100, 200.

Although not shown in the exemplary embodiment, the RFID management information sensor is mounted close to an access gate on the site, or if there is more than one access, to each access gate. The RFID reader is arranged to pick up movement of tagged assets moving through the gate or gates. Upon sensing a tagged asset, each respective tower 100, 200 is controlled to record the person or vehicle moving through the gates. If a vehicle is moving through the gates, then an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera is used to detect and recognise the vehicle. For this purpose, one of the towers 100, 200 is positioned near the appropriate gate, and a dedicated ANPR camera is installed to monitor the gate. On site, it is anticipated that tags will be picked up from a range of 0 to 30 meters, most likely 0 to 20 meters. Each tower 100, 200 is arranged to store details of the asset and the vehicle number plate as necessary, and video showing a person or vehicle leaving or entering the site. These details may also be transmitted to the monitoring station 10.

It is also anticipated that each tower 100, 200 can be used for traffic monitoring, and can be arranged to send an alarm if a vehicle turns in the wrong direction, for example a car turning right across a duel carriageway when only left turns are permitted. Again, this information can be stored locally on each tower 100, 200 and relayed to the monitoring station as necessary.

In the exemplary embodiment, each of the first and second portable security towers 100, comprises a video camera 130, 230 or several video cameras 130, 230. Each video camera 130, 230 is controlled to pan, zoom and tilt in response to the security alarm or safety alarm. Motion detection may be used, or predefined camera positions, or remote control from the monitoring station 10 in response to commands received by the user interface and control unit 700, or a combination. If predefined camera positions are used, then these are based on the location of the originating security alert, and subsequent security alerts, and also field of view requirements. The first and second portable security towers 100, 200 each comprise several light sources to illuminate the full view of each camera thereon. The light source in the exemplary embodiment is an infra-red light source and at least one camera is sensitive to infra-red light. Specifically, each camera has a sensitivity level of 0.1 lux during monochrome operation and 1 lux during colour operation. Each camera and light source is mounted in a vandal-resistant housing.

Each of the first and second portable security towers 100, 200 comprises a local digital video recording apparatus 190, 290 able to digitise, encode and compress data. The local video recording apparatus 190, 290 is arranged to be able to increase recording resolution or frame rate or change compression algorithm to improve picture quality when the security alarm or a safety alarm is generated. The local video recording apparatus 190, 290 is arranged to buffer video data continuously. When either the security alarm or the safety alarm is raised, the local video recording apparatus 190, 290 is arranged to preserve buffered data, and to add new video data at a higher resolution. Optionally, the local video recording apparatus 190 is arranged to buffer data, or store high resolution data only in cases where the data cannot be transmitted to the monitoring station 10 at an acceptable resolution in real-time.

The base unit 110, 210 of each of the first and second transportable security tower 100, 200 comprises a steel cabinet with inner baffle plate protection. The steel cabinet contains the global communications unit 140, 240, local communications unit 150, 250, control unit 160, 260, data storage 190, 290 and back-up communication unit 142. Of course, steel could be replaced by any other suitably strong material.

When installed, each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 is supplied with mains power, normally 11 OVAC, but around 110/11 5VAC or 220/24OVAC where appropriate, and additionally has an uninterruptable power supply as an alternative power source. The uninterruptable power supply preferably has a lifespan of between 4 and 12 hours. In one anticipated embodiment, at least one tower 100, 200 has a battery having 168 hours, or at least 100 hours of life. The battery will be able to be easily replaced so that a mains power connection is not needed. As mentioned above, if mains power or battery power is lost, an alarm is generated so that immediate action can be taken. Additionally, each of the first and second transportable security towers 100, 200 comprises movable wheels, and extendable and adjustable support arms for stabilising the towers 100, 200.

The local communications unit 150, 250 uses wireless communication techniques known to those in the art. In the preferred embodiment, video frequency technology is used having a carrier frequency of 868 MHz or 433 MHz. An anticipated range is up to 1000 metres line of sight is envisaged. It is envisaged that all wireless detectors or devices are individually addressable and include low battery alarm transmissions.

Also, it is envisaged that the security aspects can be set and unset either at the monitoring station 10 or, locally, by communication with the control unit 160, 260 located in each tower 100, 200. It is envisaged that this can be done via a wireless link or a local hard-wired link to a laptop computer. This wireless link may use Bluetooth or IEEE 802.llx or some other wireless communications technology. It is envisaged that a wireless keypad or key fob may also be used to set of unset the system locally, and the wireless keypad or key fob is arranged in one of the zones to communicate with one of the towers 100, 200.

Figure 5 is a flowchart showing a typical security process of this system of Figures 1 to 4. At step S100, the security system is set. In other words, the security system remains active so that security alerts will be acted upon by the system 1.

At step SilO a security sensor is activated by movement or some other means, and a security alert is generated.

In step S120, the security alert is sent to the monitoring station 10 or an appropriate communications link. The monitoring station 10 receives the security alert and passes the security alert to the security alert processing unit 500.

In step S130 a security alarm is generated. Then, the security alarm is sent to the portable security tower 100, 200 from which the initial security alert was generated. Also, a security alarm is generated in the monitoring station 10 via the user interface and control unit 700 to indicate that a security event has occurred on site.

In step S140 a voice channel is opened between the monitoring station 10 and the corresponding portable communications tower 100 so that live voice data can be communicated from the user interface and control unit 700 in the monitoring station 10 to the loudspeaker 180, 280 on the respective tower 100, 200.

In step S150 the camera recording equipment 190 is adjusted to increase the recording resolution of the video data, and to preserve buffered data by preventing any cyclical overwrite. Also, the user interface and control unit 700 is able to pan, zoom and tilt the camera 130, 230 on the respective tower 100, 200. Each camera 130, 230 is also able to automatically track position and/or track movement.

In addition to this functionality, Figure 6 shows a flowchart illustrating the safety process of the system 1 of Figures 1 to4.

At step S200, the safety system is made active. Normally, the safety system is always active, unless it is overridden and disabled, for maintenance or otherwise.

Next, at step S210, a safety sensor 300 is activated in one of zones A or B and, depending on which zone, a corresponding one of the first and second portable security towers 100, 200 receives a signal from the corresponding safety sensor 300 and a safety alert signal is generated. In the exemplary embodiment, the safety alert signal is transmitted to the monitoring station 10 via a suitable communications link and is passed via the controller 400 to the safety alert processing unit 600.

At step S220 the safety alert processing unit 600 carries out predetermined response based on the safety alert signal. The safety alarm is generated. This may be high-level alarm or a low-alarm as discussed above.

At step S230, the safety alarm is relayed to the appropriate towers 100, 200 depending on the predetermined response. For example, a high-level alarm is normally relayed to all towers 100, 200. A low-level alarm may be selectively relayed.

At step S240, the safety devices 310 are activated based on the safety alarm. That is, certain safety devices 310 will be activated if a high-level alarm is generated, and other safety devices will be not be activated. Conversely, the opposite may be true if a low-level alarm is generated. Of course, some safety devices 310 may operate for both a high-level or low-level alarm.

The system 1 contributes a new and very useful way of managing both security and safety issues on a site in a convenient, flexible and effective manner. The site need have little or no infrastructure in order to implement the system 1. The system 1 may be deployed rapidly in a matter of hours, by having portable security towers 100, 200. The system is secured by ensuring tamper-resistant and vandal-resistant measures are implemented. The system 1 is capable of evacuating an entire site based on a safety alarm, if necessary.

The system 1 has been described in relation to two safety alarm levels. That is a high level and a low level. Of course, the system 1 may be implemented having more than two levels, as would be apparent to the skilled person.

Also, when the system 1 is armed for security alerts, the status of hitch locks, trailer locks, crane hatches etc will be monitored at that time. If any of the above are not locked, then an alarm is generated to the monitoring station 10, and appropriate remedial action is taken.

This action includes informing a local security operative to ensure the locks are closed. RFID can also be used to obtain a physical location of an asset, such as a hitch, trailer or a crane. If the locks are tampered with once the system has been set, the alarm is raised in the usual way.

Although it has been described that information passes between a single monitoring station 10 and one or both of the towers 100, 200, a system is envisaged wherein there is more than one monitoring station 10. In other words, the towers 100, 200 can be arranged to communicate with more than one base, so that all or only selected information can be distributed to more than one location. For example, a security company can operate the monitoring station 10, but a client can also receive directly some or all of the information for their own purposes.

Although a few preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications might be made without departing from the scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

Attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive.

Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing embodiment(s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.

Claims (42)

  1. CLAIMS1. A rapid deployment security system arranged to secure a site, the system comprising: a monitoring station located off-site, first and second transportable security towers located on-site, each comprising a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a global communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data to the monitoring station and receive control commands from the monitoring station, a local communications unit arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera, the global communications unit and the local communications unit; first and second security sensors, each being arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first and second transportable security towers, respectively, and each being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the respective control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; first and second security loudspeakers, each being arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first and second transportable security towers, respectively, and each being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal being received from the respective control unit; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit of the first transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; a safety alert processing unit, arranged to receive and process the safety alert signal and to activate a predetermined safety response; and at least one safety device arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein there are a plurality of safety sensors, each of which is arranged to communicate with the first or second transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein there are a plurality of safety devices.
  4. 4. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the or each safety device is arranged to communicate with the first or second transportable security tower via the respective local communications unit, and is arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.
  5. 5. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the predetermined safety response includes generating a safety alarm and transmitting the safety alarm to each of the first and second transportable security towers for transmission to the or each respective safety device.
  6. 6. The system of claim 5, wherein the safety alarm is one of a plurality of levels depending on the safety alert signal, and the system is arranged so that each respective safety device is selectively activated to perform a safety action depending on the level of the safety alarm.
  7. 7. They system of any preceding claim, wherein the safety alert processing unit is located in the monitoring station.
  8. 8. The system of claims 1 to 6, wherein the safety alert processing unit is located in one of the first and second transportable security towers.
  9. 9. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a safety alert processing unit.
  10. 10. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and second security sensors are each one of the following: a movement sensor, a hitch lock, a door contact, a shock contact, and a crane hatch lock.
  11. 11. The system of claim 10, wherein the movement sensor is a passive infra-red (PIR), microwave or mixture of PIR and microwave type sensor.
  12. 12. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and second loudspeakers are arranged to output a voice message received from the monitoring station.
  13. 13. The system of claim 12, wherein the voice message is live.
  14. 14. The system of claim 12, wherein the voice message is recorded.
  15. 15. The system of claim 12, wherein the first and second loudspeakers are arranged to output a high intensity audible signal.
  16. 16. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the at least one safety sensor is one of the following: a smoke detector, a fire detector, a gas detector, a water detector.
  17. 17. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the at least one safety device is one of: an audible alarm, a barrier access actuator or a sprinkler activation device.
  18. 18. The system of claim 17, wherein the barrier access actuator is a door interlock, or a barrier release mechanism.
  19. 19. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each global communications unit is configured to communicate with the monitoring station using an internet protocol (IP) over a 3G wireless link.
  20. 20. The system of claim 19, wherein each global communications unit is able to communicate wirelessly with the monitoring station using at least two separate, stand-alone, communications channels.
  21. 21. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a back-up communications unit able to communicate with the monitoring station using a dedicated landline connection, such as via one or more of: an analogue network, such as a public switched telephone network (PSTN), and a digital network, such as an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) or an integrated services digital network (ISDN).
  22. 22. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each portable security tower is arranged to relay one or more system alarm messages to the monitoring station.
  23. 23. The system of claim 22, wherein each system alarm message may relate to one of: camera malfunction, security sensor malfunction or battery low, safety sensor malfunction or battery low, safety device malfunction or battery low, mains power failure, uninterruptable power running low, local recording malfunction and network connection lost.
  24. 24. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the system comprises at least one management information sensor arranged to detect management information and to communicate the management information to one of the first and second portable security towers via the respective local communications unit.
  25. 25. The system of claim 24, wherein the management information sensor is one of: a weather sensor, such as a temperature, wind speed, sunlight or rain detector; a pollution sensor, such as a gas sensor; a process control sensor, such as a flow, temperature or pressure sensor.
  26. 26. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second portable security towers comprises several video cameras.
  27. 27. The system of claim 26, wherein the or each video camera is controllable to pan and zoom under either automatic control in response to a security alarm or safety alarm, or remote control from the monitoring station.
  28. 28. The system of claim 26 or claim 27, wherein the or each video camera is controllable to tilt under either automatic control in response to a security alarm or safety alarm, or remote control from the monitoring station.
  29. 29. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second portable security towers comprises a local video recording apparatus.
  30. 30. The system of claim 29, wherein the local video recording apparatus is digital and is arranged to be able to increase recording resolution or frame rate or change compression algorithm to improve picture quality when the security alarm or the safety alarm is generated.
  31. 31. The system of claim 29 or claim 30, the local video recording apparatus is arranged to buffer video data, and to preserve buffered data when the security alarm or the safety alarm is generated.
  32. 32. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the base unit of each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises a steel cabinet with inner baffle plate protection, and the control unit, global communications unit and local communications unit are located in the steel cabinet.
  33. 33. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second transportable security towers is supplied with mains power and has an uninterruptible power supply as an alternative power source.
  34. 34. The system of any preceding claim, wherein each of the first and second transportable security towers comprises removable wheels, and extendible support arms for stabilising the towers in use.
  35. 35. The system of any preceding claim, wherein at least one security sensor is configured to communicate with more than one transportable security tower.
  36. 36. The system of claim 35, wherein each safety sensor is configured to communicate with more than one tower.
  37. 37. A rapid deployment security system arranged to secure a site, the system comprising: first and second transportable security towers located on-site, each comprising a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data and arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera and the communications unit; at least one security sensor being arranged to communicate with the control unit of at least one of the first and second transportable security towers, and being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the respective control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; at least one security loudspeaker being arranged to communicate with the control unit of one of the transportable security towers and being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal being received; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit of one of the transportable security towers via the respective local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; a safety alert processing unit, arranged to receive and process the safety alert signal and to activate a predetermined safety response; and at least one safety device arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.
  38. 38. A transportable security tower comprising: a transportable base unit, an extendable mast mounted to the transportable base unit, a video camera mounted on the extendable mast and arranged to generate video data, a communications unit arranged to wirelessly transmit the video data and arranged to wirelessly communicate with at least one local peripheral device, and a control unit arranged to control the video camera and the communications unit; at least one security sensor being arranged to communicate with the control unit, and being arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal to the control unit in response to a security event; a security alert processing unit arranged to receive and process the security alert signal and to generate a security alarm signal; a security loudspeaker being arranged to communicate with the control unit and being arranged to output an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal; at least one safety sensor arranged to communicate with the control unit via the local communications unit, and arranged to generate and transmit a safety alert signal in response to a safety event; at least one safety device in communication with the control unit and arranged to activate a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.
  39. 39. A method of rapidly deploying a security system to secure a site, the method comprising: wirelessly transmitting video data to a monitoring station from first and second transportable security towers located on-site; receiving at the first and second transportable security towers, control command from the monitoring station; wirelessly communicating, at the first and second transportable security towers, with at least one local peripheral device; communicating, at the first and second transportable security towers, with first and second security sensors which are arranged to generate and transmit a security alert signal in response to a security event; receiving and processing the security alert signal at one of the first and second transportable security towers, and generating a security alarm signal; outputting an audible warning in response to the security alarm signal; generating, as a safety sensor arranged to communicate with the first transportable security tower via local communications, a safety alert signal in response to the safety event; receiving and processing the safety alert signal and activating a predetermined safety response; and activating a safety action as a result of the predetermined response.
  40. 40. A rapid deployment security system substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the drawings.
  41. 41. A transportable security tower substantially as hereinbefore described, with reference to the drawings.
  42. 42. A method of rapidly deploying a security system as substantially herein before described, with reference to the drawings.
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