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A Variety of Solutions for One Goal: Securing the Al Wadi Hotel

The coastal city of Sohar in Oman is heating up. While this statement is certainly applicable to the weather – with an ambient temperature of 35°C – it is also representative of the local economy as well.

While Sohar has long been considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East; much of its recent economic success is directly due to the Port of Sohar. This relatively new port, one of the largest and most expensive in the world, has greatly helped turn this Omani city into a major regional and international point of commerce. Specifically, Sohar has now become synonymous with exportation for its shipping of metals and petroleum-based products.

To accommodate this influx of foreign and domestic business; a variety of infrastructure was developed. Of note was the establishment of a variety of hotels, such as the Al Wadi Hotel, to serve this new clientele. But, it was not simply a matter of building new hotels; equally important was the issue of developing high-quality security. For this, the Al Wadi Hotel turned to Hikvision and its extensive variety of high-tech cameras.

Hikvision's Variety: General Interior

Haja Mohideen, Project Engineer at OHI Electronics, oversaw the development and installation of the Al Wadi Hotel's security system. As such, Mr. Mohideen chose to utilize a number of Hikvision cameras in order to specifically meet the security challenges this project offered.

One such challenge was the indoor environment, where hotel management had requested a model of indoor camera that was aesthetically pleasing, largely unobtrusive, and provided top-of-the-line performance. Additionally, management wanted all of these features embedded in one single model of camera, instead of a smattering of various models.

In order to satisfy these request, Mr. Mohideen selected the Hikvision DS-2CC591P-A Analog Dome Camera. This camera specifically oversees the hotel lobby, each floor's corridors, and the elevators. Mr. Mohideen explained "this dome camera is particularly suitable for the Al Wadi Hotel. This has to do with the camera's excellent aesthetics and high-performance capabilities."

Yet, Mr. Mohideen also had one additional factor to consider in his decision-making process. In this case, hotel management was not the catalyst; instead it was the Omani government.

Oman has enacted a law that cameras responsible for public-meeting areas must now be manually monitored. This is to say, cameras can no longer simply be pre-set and left to record on their own. This change was stipulated to prevent the possibility of random pre-set coverage missing potential incidents. Mr. Mohideen related: "This has had a direct impact upon what type of camera we are interested in. We need a camera that can be mounted some distance away, but still quickly focus upon specific areas of interest. This is why we chose a Hikvision dome – we get the same excellent coverage in our bright lobby as we do in a darker corridor."

And it is this Hikvision dome's features, such as the day/night auto switch and a resolution of 540 TVL, that greatly allow the Al Wadi's security staff the ability to acquire these clear images – regardless of condition and on demand.

Hikvision's Variety: Reception Desk

While the above-mentioned dome camera provides excellent general coverage of the lobby; it was deemed that high-priority areas in the lobby – particularly the reception desk – may require an increased level of resolution. As such, Mr. Mohideen chose the DS-2CD852MF-E 2 Megapixel CMOS-based Network Camera to provide this high resolution.

"Obviously, the lobby is of great security importance. This is why we've adopted a dual-system: dome cameras are used for a general overview; but at critical points like the reception desk, we use a Hikvision 2 megapixel camera. Not only can we monitor every step of the customer, from the front door to the front desk; we can see with tremendous resolution 'who' the customer actually is – including facial recognition," Mr. Mohideen explained.

This tremendous detail provided by the DS-2CD852MF-E 2 Megapixel CMOS-based Network Camera is a result of Hikvision technology; foremost among this is H.264 / MPEG4 dual stream video compression and UXGA (1600 x 1200 pixel) resolution.

Hikvision's Variety: Outdoor Areas of Importance

Moving outside the hotel, hotel management initially chose a number of areas that required an elevated level of security. These areas are the front and rear entrances, the pool, and the parking facility. While the commonality among all four was security importance; each of the four presented a differing set of specific challenges that had to be met.

Mr. Mohideen explained that "the pool needed clarity and a wide angle, the parking lot needed to be able to view tremendous detail – such as license plate numbers; while both entrances required a high-level of resolution to see who was entering or leaving. Fortunately the DS-2CC193P-A High Definition Box Camera provided a solution for them all."

Obviously, having high-definition resolution in each of these areas was vital. It was also essential that this camera work in extreme temperatures – a stark reality in outdoor Sohar. In order to ensure continued functionality and longevity, Mr. Mohideen decided to use DS-1313HZ Outdoor Camera Housing. This housing is weatherproof and includes both a heater and fan to enable these cameras to continue operating smoothly in the extremely hot day and markedly cooler evening. Mr. Mohideen noted, "For the Al Wadi Hotel, we need high-tech cameras; but since this is Oman: these cameras also have to be extremely durable. As such, the Hikvision internal fan and heater is very important for our needs."

Hikvision's Variety: Security Nerve Center

Linking all of these cameras together is a central security office that employs the DS-8116HFI-S Standalone DVR.

This DVR unit has allowed the Al Wadi Hotel to successfully comply with the Omani law requiring video storage for 30 days' worth of recordings. This is largely due to the H.264 video compression utilized by this Hikvision DVR, and the 8 SATA HDD at 2TB each per DVR.

Additionally, the Al Wadi hotel employs 4 security personnel, 24-hours a day, to actively view the variety of Hikvision cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the hotel. Mr. Mohideen explained, "Since none of our cameras are pre-set, it is imperative our DVRs have excellent functionality. One example of this is the being able to view multiple cameras at the same time, and with this DVR we are able to view 16 channels simultaneously."

The Future

As the new Port of Sohar indicates, the future looks very bright for Sohar. But with this new influx of business-related tourism, there is also the need for new security.

In this vein, Mr. Mohideen envisions purchasing additional Hikvision cameras: "In the future, we plan on installing additional Hikvision cameras, especially the DS-2CC591P-A Analog Dome Camera that we are currently using." Mr. Mohideen noted future areas of installation would be restrooms, bars, and any additional meeting point that customers often frequent. "We are very pleased with the quality of Hikvision cameras, and the excellent results they provide," Mr. Mohideen summed up.