Global Surveillance, Remotely Unified
Panduit monitors its headquarters, factories and warehouses worldwide from a single Unified Operations Center with the help of analytics
- By Fredrik Nilsson
- Jan 03, 2011
When your business is founded on transforming infrastructure
silos into holistic solutions, it makes sense to practice what
you preach. So when Panduit built its new world headquarters
just outside of Chicago in 2010, it approached the project
as an opportunity to showcase its own unified physical
infrastructure approach to converging core business systems -- including security,
power and communications. As part of this effort, Panduit installed a global video
surveillance system that could be managed remotely from its world headquarters.
The unified system includes an array of network cameras to safeguard the perimeters
of its new headquarters and six domestic manufacturing and warehousing
sites, as well as manufacturing plants in Costa Rica, Romania and Mexico.
Recommending the Network
IPVision, a national integrator of intelligent physical security solutions, recommended
Axis network cameras because they could easily converge with Panduit’s
existing network-based security, safety and environmental control systems. The
PTZ network cameras use intelligent video analytics to provide perimeter security
for Panduit facilities worldwide and serve as a unique lobby exhibit in the company’s
Rather than maintaining separate security and network operations centers, the
cabling and infrastructure manufacturer joined the two groups together in a single
unified operations center.
“We put both groups in a single room since all these systems operate on the same network and it makes it easier
for everyone to share information,”
said Jeffrey Woodward, Panduit’s senior
manager of global environment,
health, safety and security.
From the unified operations center,
corporate staff can monitor camera
feeds from all the facilities around the
world. Though video is archived locally
at each building, Panduit security
staff view event-based video streamed
to world headquarters and control the
Axis PTZ network cameras remotely to
investigate whether situations require
intervention. By leveraging event-based
analytics in the central monitoring station,
Panduit can maximize the time of
its security team.
“Being able to globally monitor,
control and manage those cameras
from a central point limits the amount
of resources you need to have on site to
respond to an alarm,” Woodward said.
“Instead of automatically dispatching security staff to physically investigate
every alarm, we use the video cameras
as the first-level response. Once we
check out the situation remotely, we
can determine if it’s really necessary
to send someone to the location of the
On High Alert
For example, the cameras integrate with
access control so that if an employee
triggers an alarm by holding a door
open too long, security can observe
the scene remotely until it’s resolved
instead of putting local staff on high
alert. Woodward estimates a 16-month
ROI on the surveillance equipment just
from that labor savings alone.
Before Panduit built its new headquarters
last year, each facility in the
company operated its own independent
analog surveillance system.
“To update our security system
to match our Unified Physical Infrastructure
strategy, we needed to deploy
the appropriate network technology,”
Because Axis cameras are IP-based,
Panduit can leverage its own strong
wide area network to globally monitor,
control and manage those cameras
from one central point.
“While the safety and security of
our employees is certainly foremost,
having our surveillance technology network-
based meant we could converge
surveillance with our other systems,
like access control, and gather more intelligent
data to better secure our properties,”
Specifically, the network cameras are
deployed on building exteriors, overlooking
expansive parking lots. With
video analytics, they create a specialized
virtual trip line around property
“If an object of a certain size breaks
that perimeter, the Axis PTZ cameras
are strategically placed to alert security
staff, send the video stream to headquarters
to be investigated in real-time,
and also automatically track that object,” said Ben Green of IPVision.
Once the video stream is sent to
headquarters, security staff can remotely
zoom, pan and tilt the cameras
to closely observe the scene.
“Adding intelligence to the video allows
us to selectively push video to the
Unified Operations Center, which limits
how much video we need to aggregate
on a regular basis,” Woodward said.
Woodward credits the intelligence
for improving the effectiveness of his
“In the old days, we’d just be endlessly
staring at video monitors just
waiting for something to happen,” he
said. “Now we can receive actionable
video -- feeds that are based on alarm
events like security breaches triggered
from crossing a virtual trip line.”
Network Camera Protection
Even though many network cameras
are designed for exterior use, IPVision
turned to Dotworkz Dome enclosures
to ensure optimum performance under
conditions ranging from harsh Chicago
winters to Costa Rica’s tropical humidity.
A variety of models with built-in
heaters and blowers operate in temperatures
ranging from minus 40 degrees F
to 150 degrees F.
The enclosures also step down the
voltage of the air conditioning power
coming into the enclosure to the 25 to 30
watts required by the Axis PTZ cameras.
“Panduit runs fiber to the edge of
the buildings to avoid electromagnetic
interference and protect against lightning
strikes,” Green said. “The Dotworkz
enclosures allow us to install a
media converter between the fiber cable
and the Ethernet cable we use to power
Tying Into Other Security Systems
IPVision also tied the PTZ cameras
into Panduit’s access control system to
help the company monitor other security
breaches, such as doors held open
longer than usual.
“If an employee is just casually
standing in a doorway and exceeds the
time we’ve programmed for a door contact
to remain open, it’s not a real security
threat,” Woodward said. “That’s
the advantage of having cameras there.
Once they’ve closed the door, the investigation
is over. We can remotely investigate
and document the reason for the
alarm without sending someone out to
physically investigate the situation.”
Panduit also uses PTZ cameras to
remotely monitor public areas of the
customer experience exhibit in its lobby.
The self-guided tour showcases an
audio visual display of the company’s
solutions and capabilities, as well as a
behind-the-glass view of Panduit’s data
and operations centers.
“We want to maintain an open and
welcoming atmosphere on our first
floor, but we also want to make sure
people are staying within our security
policies,” Woodward said. “The network cameras complement
our strong security policies and help
us stay proactive in safeguarding our
employees and property."
This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Security Today.