Canary Wharf Group

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How Canary Wharf uses Genetec Security Center to protect the prominent business district

London business district implements a unified security platform to enhance operator interaction with multiple systems and support high-quality services

Canary Wharf is one of the busiest business and financial districts in London, England. It offers over 14 million square feet of office and retail space on 97 acres and welcomes over 140,000 people daily. Many major banks, professional services firms, and media organizations, including Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, J.P. Morgan have their global or European headquarters within the bustling district.

Canary Wharf Group, a fully integrated property development and management company, caters to every aspect of the district’s premium needs, including security. According to Mike Walker, Security Technology Manager at Canary Wharf Management Ltd., “Our job is to ensure it’s always business as usual. We’re managing a mini-city, and we want people to feel comfortable and secure without being invasive. It’s all about finding that balance.”

Upgrading from old video technology to a unified security platform

While Canary Wharf used a video monitoring solution to secure the district, the technology was outdated. Over time, the old video system became unreliable and couldn’t accommodate new cameras. According to Mike Walker, “With the support from security operations and management, we were ready to upgrade our video surveillance system. We wanted a solution that could manage various security technologies and accommodate standard IT practices.”

The IT team stay neutral and contacted many different video management companies. After meeting the Genetec team, they knew the Security Center unified platform was the right choice. With the Security Center platform, Canary Wharf would have the freedom to choose their preferred video devices and make customizations to enhance district-wide security and operations.

The Security Center platform also gave Canary Wharf the ability to merge video, access control, automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), intercom, intrusion, video analytics,
and various other building management technologies in one intuitive solution.

Beyond that, Mike Walker valued one unique factor about the team behind this innovative security platform: “Genetec was the first company that understood us. They were able to answer all our questions and proved that they understood the network and IT functions. It was a lightbulb moment; Genetec spoke our IT language.”

Boosting district safety and operator confidence using Security Center

Today, Canary Wharf uses the Genetec Security Center unified platform to manage over 1750 cameras, 1000 doors, and 17 automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras.

Within Security Center, the new video system offers full redundancy and failover, ensuring video and data are always accessible. Video is archived at full resolution and kept for a specified amount of time. The team is also using Security Center to remotely oversee visitor management tasks and control access through turnstiles at various building entrances.

The ALPR system within Security Center helps the team track vehicles in the vicinity. If a wanted vehicle enters property borders, the system automatically notifies the local authorities. At the touch of a button, operators can also enable a car barrier system to block vehicle roadways when a situation requires immediate district lockdown.

Within the Security Center platform, the team also manages a tenant communication system called Shop Alert. In the event of an emergency, operators can discreetly send text messages to store clerks and suggest procedures such as an immediate evacuation. Clerks can also alert security staff to disturbances by pressing a distress button. This automatically alerts operators to the situations, displaying video from nearby cameras for faster incident response.

“Why have separate systems when you can have it all in one? All the information we need is available from one central platform. We originally procured the system for video surveillance, but we are recognizing so much more opportunity and value in our system as we continue adding new systems and automation,” said Mike Walker.

Amping up investigations with maps and easy evidence sharing

Within Security Center, an intuitive map interface helps operators easily manage thousands of security devices. Using the map, they can respond to alarms, pull up cameras in specific zones, lock and unlock doors, check device statuses, and more. “With the size of our estate, the map interface saves us so much time,” explains Walker. “Our team can quickly follow a subject through the business district. Within seconds, we can pull up camera sequences that help to tell the story, identifying where the subject came from and how events happened. Then, we let the police handle the rest.”

Canary Wharf actively works with the police and other government agencies and credits the unified security platform with streamlining communication with these outside departments. High-ranking security team members can securely share video with authorities upon request.

Extending the benefits of unified security to business operations

Apart from security, Canary Wharf is making the most of the unified platform to enhance district operations. For instance, the security team will review video of how events were handled to improve response processes. They also use video from Security Center to help the insurance department prove or disprove corporate liability claims within the district.

Using the vehicle data from the ALPR system, the team can better understand how many vehicles are coming in and out of the district. They then use this information to improve roadways and parking and enhance the tenant and guest experience.

From a business standpoint, Security Center is helping to retain and attract their many prestigious clients. “At Canary Wharf Group, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology. When we bring potential clients through our control room, the system provides the wow factor that helps us sell our business district. This system helps us convince our clients how secure they will be here, and how efficient our security team is,” concluded Mike Walker.

“Genetec was the first company that understood us. They were able to answer all our questions and proved that they understood the network and IT functions. It was a lightbulb moment; Genetec spoke our IT language.”