LEGOLAND Windsor is one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions. It offers each and every one of its two million or so annual visitors a big welcome – literally - thanks to the giant letters, made of LEGO, that spell out ‘WELCOME’ on the entrance drive. However, the letters were giving LEGOLAND a security issue: how to protect them from overenthusiastic members of the public in a discreet way that wouldn’t undermine their message?
After much research, LEGOLAND turned to a smart motion sensor alarm system developed by Call Systems Technology (CST). And so far, says LEGOLAND Welcome and Security Manager Geoff Horwood, it’s working perfectly.
“We had an alarm system provided by a different supplier but it was unreliable and very expensive,” Geoff Horwood says. “The letters and their associated LEGO friends represent a significant investment – each is made of thousands of specially treated small LEGO bricks and requires craftsmanship, patience and plenty of love to construct. We need, discreetly, to protect our assets. The entrance drive is our guests’ first experience of LEGOLAND and the letters and ‘friends’ provide their earliest step into our land of ‘make believe’.
“CST’s solution is ideal, as it is totally hidden. There are no unsightly aerials. It was easy to install; it’s weatherproof and, most important of all, it works!”
The system relies on discreet motion sensors mounted on the letters and figures. If an alarm is activated, a pop-up appears on screen instantly in the Security Gatehouse, which is staffed 24/7, stating which letter ‘activated’. Security personnel then use CCTV to check if vandalism caused the alarm, or weather conditions or another cause, and can instruct relevant staff to go to the area.
The LEGOLAND system is based around CST’s Genesis software, which creates a log of any activities related to the alarms. “The reporting is very useful,” says Geoff Horwood. “When I arrive in the morning I can see what alarms have been activated overnight, how fast the response times were and so on. It also highlights continuing problems so we can react accordingly.”
Another issue for any tourist attraction is the seasonal nature of some staff; however, “The CST system is exceedingly simple to manage,” says Geoff Horwood. “In fact, I’d say ease of use is absolutely superb. We have produced a basic training manual for new staff but, frankly, it’s something that can be picked up in seconds.”
As well as being effective, the new alarm system had to be competitively priced. “We have also opted for a maintenance package that ensures the system is serviced annually, all parts checked with any batteries being replaced. Thus we know exactly what the budget is each year,” says Geoff Horwood. “It’s providing very good value for money.
“I’d definitely recommend it.”