Reliable detection in a challenging environment

20th July 2020

OSID (Open-area Smoke Imaging Detection) offers unsurpassed protection of vehicles in the BBC Company car park.

The BBC is a British public service broadcasting corporation that was founded in 1922. Its main responsibility is to provide impartial public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. It is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with about 23,000 staff. The BBC is headquartered at Broadcasting House in London and has major production centers in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Salford and smaller production centers throughout the UK.


As a means to protect vehicles in the company car park, BBC had infrared beam detectors installed. Over time, it became apparent that such detectors would not offer a viable solution due to the buildings structural movements and flexing on windy days which caused numerous false alarms. Each event would result in an engineer visit at significant cost.


“Fire Protection Group took an interest in our problem and introduced us to OSID, a new Open-area Detection technology from Xtralis. They took the time to explain OSID and how they believed it could provide a far more reliable solution due to its use of dualfrequency Infrared and Ultraviolet technology.

OSID has been installed and operational since March 2012 and we are delighted that all alarm problems have ceased despite the relatively challenging environment.” says Ross Hutton, Project Manager – BBC Scotland.

Sixteen OSID Imagers and Emitters have been installed as a direct replacement for the beam detectors in the car park. The installation is in a traditional “end to end” arrangement to suit current power supply and loop wiring, rather than in a multi emitter array, as might have been the first choice of design had it been a completely new installation. The maximum distance between the furthest Imager and Emitter is 100 m, (328 ft), well within OSID’s maximum range of 150 m (492 ft).


A significant benefit of OSID is its ability to provide volumetric coverage. As many as seven emitters can be placed within the field of view of a single imager, each placed at different heights. The imager’s large viewing angles, both horizontal and vertical, enable three-dimensional area coverage for design flexibility and additional deployment savings. OSID overcomes the weaknesses of traditional detection solutions used in large, open spaces where standard sensitivity detection is required. In its simplest configuration, OSID resembles a beam detector but is an entirely new technology. Unlike infrared beam detectors, OSID works reliably in any environment – regardless of structural movement variances.

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