Amtrak Protects Maintenance Facilities With Cisco IP-Based Video Surveillance

The convergence of physical security systems with an IP network is going strong in the urban/homeland security sector. Case in point: Amtrak, the largest provider of passenger rail service in the country, recently announced it will use Cisco’s video surveillance system to better protect maintenance yards in Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif.

Amtrak selected integrator Consiliant Technologies to implement the solution for the areas.

“Physical security and IT are converging at a much faster rate than anyone anticipated,” said Kevin Dailey, vice president of Consiliant’s IP Physical Security Group. “We were well-positioned to meet Amtrak’s challenges because we are one of a handful of IT companies that has truly focused on physical security. There are too many threats to be managed in old-fashioned ways. Amtrak is looking forward with this design.”

Along with Cisco, Consiliant turned to Proximex and Agent Vi to provide interoperable parts of the solution. Proximex’s command-and-control system will be used for policy-based incident discovery, connection and resolution leading to a picture of all monitored security information in a real-time, single view. The system also allows security officers to only watch one console for the entire security picture.

Agent Vi is providing the analytics that will cover the 1 mile by 1/8 of a mile facility and provide 24-hour coverage

Previously, using only a physical security solution, data was used to review incidents after taking place, not to detect and stop crimes before they happen with real-time response, investigation and resolution like with the new system.

A major part of the solution is Cisco’s Video Surveillance Manager. The software authenticates and controls access to video feeds while providing virtual matrix switching to connect cameras, keyboards and monitors. Cisco’s solution also can store video files and recall the information on PC monitors.

“Amtrak wanted to install a system that uses technology to proactively prevent intrusions, rather than just document the breaches after the fact,” said Cassim Mamoon, Amtrak senior project manager. “The IP-centric model will allow authorized Amtrak employees full access to the video data, whether they are on-site or at headquarters in Washington, D.C. Consiliant’s choice of the Cisco Video Surveillance Manager gave us the assurance we needed that today’s investment will be protected and enhanced over the years ahead.”

To protect from failing during an emergency, the Los Angeles and Oakland facilities also will provide back up coverage in the event of a threat or emergency like a power outage.

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior editor for Security Today and Campus Security Today magazines.

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