Founded in 2015 and privately owned, substantial multi-level challenges were faced by management to secure the 41 acre site located in the heart of Western Sydney parklands, housing more than 1000 animals and accommodating 800,000 visitors annually. No security blueprint was available – after all this was the first new zoo built in Sydney for more than 100 years so nobody had done this before!
From day one, however, Sydney Zoo CEO Jake Burgess and his team were determined to embrace leading edge technology and innovation to improve security, safety, animal welfare and positive customer experience.
Original security plans revolved around permanently employing three security guards for 12 hours each night, one to watch onsite CCTV cameras plus two to roam throughout the site and along the perimeter fence. But clearly this was an expensive and imperfect option, and the search was on for a world-leading alternative ecurity
Working to a strict timeline, and with constantly evolving design layout changes further complicated by multiple contractor involvement, the challenge was to somehow integrate multiple diverse security systems, networks, platforms and successfully integrate them to provide a top level incident event detection and fast response outcome.
‘This was a high risk commercial venture’ said Mr Burgess, ‘and we were seeking to identify latest available technologies to provide the very best zoo security outcome along with lowest possible ongoing costs. This is when RealGuard came to our attention’
RealGuard Live Video Guarding was ultimately chosen by Sydney Zoo. RealGuard was able to successfully integrate all existing diverse security detection and CCTV equipment, platforms and connectivity networks scattered throughout the 41 acre site including the zoned perimeter electric fence. RealGuard cameras and intruder detection sensors were installed at identified critical points throughout the site,
recording 24×7 and immediately triggering live video back to RealGuard Video Monitoring Centre operators after hours when intruder movement is detected. Any identified intruders are immediately ‘warned off’ over PA speakers, and Police are called to respond to any identified criminal incidents in progress. This unique and proactive ‘end to end’ security solution is designed to minimise or eliminate onsite guards, while providing immediate response by warning off detected intruders before they have opportunity to cause damage or mischief…. ‘stopping crime before it happens.’
‘For us RealGuard was an ideal solution’ said Mr Burgess. ‘It meant that by combining technology & remotely located manpower we could completely do away with onsite night guards, knowing that any detected incident would be quickly viewed and actioned by RealGuard operators.’
Available capital for this project was limited, and known fixed long term costs was also a key objective of zoo management. Sydney Zoo therefore chose to rent the entire RealGuard system equipment and installation, thus avoiding capital expense and enjoying 100% tax deductibility and fixed operational costs.
Mr Burgess further stated ‘We also hired RealGuard Rapid eployment Live Video Guarding towers during the zoo construction phase when the site was most vulnerable to theft and vandalism, which proved to be very effective in protecting both us and our contractors.’
The final result is that Sydney Zoo now has world-leading end to end security combining the best features of immediate technology intruder detection with fast manpower response, while also enjoying six figure annual savings compared with deployment of onsite security guards.