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Improving security through satellite telecommunications

Two companies are implementing an ESA-supported project to introduce an innovative solution for alarm monitoring and video surveillance via satellite to meet the increasing demand for security systems from the government and corporate market.

The two companies are UK based satellite operator Orbit Research Ltd. and the German company MediaMobil Communication GmbH. They announced their intention to introduce the Satellite Alarm and Surveillance System (SASS) to the UK market at the BAPCO 2007 conference and exhibition, which was recently held in London. SASS is independent of terrestrial infrastructure and can be interfaced with standard video surveillance systems.

SASS enables the interconnection of alarm and video surveillance systems to security centres via satellite. Alarm messages and live video images can be simultaneously transmitted. The video images can be used for alarm verification or for surveillance. Bi-directional audio and internet-like data channels provided emergency voice communications and remote control of devices such as cameras. The system is cost effective and can provide primary or redundant connectivity for security systems where terrestrial networks are either not available or are unreliable.

Orbit's SASS satellite terminals can be deployed at any location within the coverage of the Eutelsat Eurobird-3 satellite. The terminals consist of a 90-centimetre outdoor antenna and an indoor interface unit. This indoor unit provides standard interfaces for the connection of alarm panels, CCTV cameras, telephones, microphones, speakers and a standard computer data port (Ethernet) for user defined applications. The installation and activation of the satellite alarm terminals is done by a network of certified security installers.

The terminals are linked via a geostationary satellite to the ViaOrbit hub in the UK. From the hub, all traffic is routed via broadband networks to alarm response centres. The satellite transmission links are controlled by the ViaOrbit network operations centre.

SASS meets the highest European and British standards in terms of quality-of-service, alarm transmission time, line fault reporting time, availability, and information security. SASS has achieved this through the development of advanced mechanisms for the allocation of satellite network resources dependent on traffic priorities, bandwidth on-demand management, and real time monitoring of the end-to-end transmission links. The introduction of SASS at BAPCO is the initiation of the project’s commercial phase and is the first in a series of market launches throughout Europe.


Developed under the ARTES Start-up Projects initiative, SASS underwent successful three month long field trials connecting, among other sites, a nuclear power plant in Slovakia to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria. IAEA tested the ability of SASS to monitor nuclear facilities in near real-time. SASS was able to provide higher quality information in a shorter time than conventional systems.

Dominique Detain | alfa
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