British Telecom has completed a pilot scheme to reduce theft on its remote vehicle pounds in the South East. The company is using a neural network-based surveillance system from Cambridge firm Neurodynamics. The pilot, costing #31,000, tested the system's ability to recognise and report suspicious events occurring at nine remote car parks. The system, called Witness Surveillance, can tell, for instance, the difference between cars passing by the perimeter of a vehicle pound and a figure looking into a parked engineer's van. Video units at the site are connected over the PSTN via a modem to a central surveillance unit comprising a PC running Windows software. From the central location a security operative will alert the appropriate local police authorities if anything suspicious occurs. It is expected that the security system will save the company losses to the tune of #8,000 a year for each site where it is deployed. "Thieves were taking tools from the vans and, over bank holiday weekends, taking the engines out of Ford Transits, too," explained Neurodynamics business development manager Chris Dyne. "We had to spend about six months with BT tuning the system to be sensitive enough to distinguish between a moving car's lights playing over the vans and a thief actually breaking in." Other business, including two high street banks, are also interested in the system. One of these is believed to be Barclays. BT is using the system at nine sites and considering expanding this to 360 sites. The company has not revealed how much the final contract with Neurodynamics will be worth.
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