AST Digital Magazine May 2016 - Page 4

Volume 4 May 2016 Edition Sharing camera feeds has been a valuable yet easy-to-integrate solution that each city has eagerly installed.” The Solution The municipalities, working with the integrator, chose a common open-platform VMS that allows each city to individually monitor and secure its own assets, be it a government building, transit station or cityowned business. The open platform enables each city to design and install the hardware and software that meets its own needs, providing a flexible solution that can also be shared across locations to leverage more resources. The VMS software chosen was XProtect from Milestone Systems with the XProtect Smart interface, remote Web Client, and Milestone Mobile client for video sharing on-the-move. This serves the core needs of each municipality but offers versatile feature sets and client interfaces that address the unique needs of each department. With the success of the initial video installation, Pro-Tec began expanding into additional applications, such as integration with a point-of-sale system for government-owned retail stores. No other software is used. With the VMS system now in place, the cities are saving money by efficiently deploying emergency services, knowing exactly what they are dealing with before sending out large first responder teams. Mainly Axis cameras were used for the implementations. “Over time, we have developed a checklist with more than 20 points we use to evaluate the technology partners we work with. Axis consistently has one of the highest quality products we have seen on the market. The sub-5 year failure rate is next to none and technical support staff is very reachable,” says Tim Ferrian. Video storage is handled several ways: Pivot3 was a big part of the equation during the first years of the implementation, and are still managing 300+TB of storage on city arrays. Over time, some cities have moved to other options for storage such as Iomnis for many implementations. Each city views their video independently of one another. There is a central place called the Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) that views all of the cameras (700 or so) on the highways and freeways. They offer video feeds to many of the cities for the cameras that are located in their ju- risdiction. The City of Minneapolis Emergency Operations Centerviews 800 cameras installed by Pro-Tec Design on all the intersections and public areas. SPRAWLING METROPOLIS Minneapolis/St. Paul make up the most populous area in the state of Minnesota—a sprawling metropolis with a population of more than three million people. About 10 years ago, when the industry began widely adopting IP technology in surveillance environments, Pro-Tec saw an opportunity to extoll the virtues of IP security technology, while also helping cities solve problems that developed with the use of outdated analog systems. This was not a fad to Tim Ferrian, who saw the shift to IP surveillance as the obvious path for systems in the future. Pro-Tec’s relationships with many cities in Minnesota developed from a foundation of card access control and video surveillance, so a transition into network-based surveillance that could integrate the two was a logical next step. A RING OF PROTECTION Pro-Tec developed the idea for a collective solution between municipalities based on a standardized IT backbone. With each area using the same platform, it would maintain its own system yet open up the option to share video feeds in case of an incident or emergency that crosses town borders. In addition, with a combined VMS service, updates and maintenance would be streamlined for quick response. “We began working individually with the cities and now assist quite a few—three more have signed on as we moved into 2015,” Ferrian said. “The agencies own and operate each individual system, but if there is any incident where a neighboring town is also using the same platform and needs help in an emergency, it is convenient and expeditious if the other organizations can step in with their own camera feeds.” There are many common themes within city surveillance: Watching out for the visitors of city halls, keeping track of persons in custody at police stations, providing evidence for investigations, protecting staff and equipment, monitoring community pools to protect the government from any liability and watching intersections for public works operations (moving snow, salting roads), among numerous other functions. With these commonalities, each city also has unique needs for surveillance whether they are monitoring a busy farmers’ market, senior centers, community sporting events, historical landmarks, water treatment facilities, water towers and many others. Eight cities surrounding Minneapolis were currently linked at the end of 2014 via the VMS solution developed by Pro-Tec 4