The Sentinels are two 90-metre-tall residential tower blocks on Holloway Head in Birmingham, England. The two towers, called Clydesdale Tower and Cleveland Tower, are both 31 storeys tall and were part of a major regeneration and council home building scheme following World War II which in the 1960s and 1970s saw the construction of hundreds of tower blocks. Originally built and operated by the City of Birmingham, the buildings were part of a stock transfer from Birmingham local authority to Optima Community Housing Association in 1999, and today the buildings are owned by Citizen housing association. The Sentinels were the tallest purely residential tower blocks in the city until 2019, Accommodating 248 Dwellings in each building.
Following a tender process, Kings Norton based security systems and building technology integrator, Harrold Jones Services Limited, were appointed to Design supply and install a fully integrated security system. This included an optical fibre Network infrastructure, along with IP Door Entry, Concierge Facility, and Access Control.
Phil Povey, Sales Manager at Harrold Jones, states, ‘Although a relatively new Partnership, it has resulted in the successful integration of Door Entry and Access Control systems into many residential buildings around the Midlands, most recently the installation of an IP Door Entry and access control system at the Sentinels. Pearl Lion’s team were always on hand to support Harrold Jones from the bid stage through to completion, providing a high level of design and technical support. This impressive service delivery is underpinned by a quality product range that is extremely reliable and robust. This means our customers benefit from a cost-effective solution with minimal maintenance requirements.’
The technology needed to integrate seamlessly with all other elements of the security system, so it was essential for Harrold Jones to have highly responsive working relationships in place with a key technology partner.
‘Designed developed and installed in an array of residential buildings, Pearl Lion’s products are developed in response to customer needs, and the ever-changing requirements and legislation affecting the access control and door entry sectors,’ explains Lloyd Palmer, National Sales Manager for Pearl Lion. ‘After listening to the specific requirements outlined by the Optima team, I had no hesitation in recommending the use of Pearl Lion’s Cloud 9 IP Door Entry and access control solution, which is reliable, scalable and can be adapted to suit every installation.’
Easily configured to operate in Pearl Lion’s Altostratus Cloud environment, Cloud 9 displays detailed real-time event information, based on all event action in the buildings including, intercom calls, token access events and alarms. At “The Sentinels”, it is configured to enable both full concierge control along with management tasks related to the tenants and staff to be administered, from a concierge operator station in both buildings along with remote access for system management from anyone with sufficient access rights using any internet facing smart device or PC, ensuring the highest level of security around the site and added peace of mind.
Pearl Lion’s Cloud 9 technology has been used to secure both buildings with the installation of four hundred and ninety-six 4.3” Touch Screen IP Video handsets, two main entrance Doors with Vandal Resistant Stainless Steel POE IP Digital Entrance panels and internal door access control to form an interlock area in each building, along with a 24hr concierge presence on the ground floor of each building.
The Pearl Lion Cloud 9 system enables incidents to be dealt with quickly and as Lloyd Palmer states, ‘Real time reporting ensures a high level of security for both the tenants and the staff. Administration is also more streamlined, as all management tasks can be administered from the central computers by the concierge team, along with giving Senior management remote access as and when required. This provides the convenience of adding or removing tokens or changing time schedules on doors from an on-site location at the heart of where the requirements arise. Changing user access privileges, creating new users or deleting redundant tokens is straightforward and system administrators can easily control and manage secure access.’
The Concierge facility also allows for the on-site management of individual apartments with residents able to contact the concierge directly from their handset should the need arise, there is also a privacy and divert facility on each handset along with an internal intercom facility for speech between apartments. Concierge override control allows the concierge to take full control of the building should the need arise, and system messaging allows the concierge to alert residents of any site relevant information directly to their handset.
Pearl Lion will continue to work closely with Harrold Jones to ensure the system is fully operational 24/7. Regular maintenance visits to the site, as well as the support of Pearl Lion’s technical engineers.
Phil Povey further states that “the introduction of a new IP Video based system replacing the previous analogue audio system has been a large leap forward for Optima housing in technology which not only future proofs their investment but will provide scalability and ongoing additional system resources as they become available without the need for further hardware investment. “ This has already led to the implementation of Mobile Dect telephones for some of their disabled customers, a SIP Desk mount Audio Handset in the local housing office to enable the housing officers to contact the Resident directly, as well as allowing the residents to contact the call centre directly from their intercom to report repairs or raise other queries if they wish.