Safeguarding Assets

Safeguarding Assets

Employees at desktop computers monitor surveillance live to protect the past.

Safeguarding Assets
With a history dating back to the 1850s, the Sioux City Public Museum has evolved from its original focus on natural science to a broader emphasis on preserving the area’s heritage, offering a variety of educational programs, events and historical exhibitions valued at more than $2 million. After outgrowing its former location in a prominent Victorian-era mansion, the museum moved to a new downtown site in April 2011. The modern, openconcept building has become one of the premier cultural destinations in Iowa Siouxland and beyond.

Administrators and museum exhibition staff had several security goals in mind, including protecting the visiting public, deterring criminal activity and safeguarding the museum’s assets.

With more than 5,000 visitors each month, the museum has made public safety and asset protection top priorities. Chosen for its advanced management features, ease of use and exceptional image clarity, the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system is key in helping the museum meet its security goals. Going Live

Museum officials chose an Avigilon high-definition surveillance system using the Avigilon Control Center NVMS that allows them to monitor the system live throughout the day from their desktop computers. A permanent monitor at the main reception area observes visitors as they enter and exit the permanent exhibit space. The museum installed 15 Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras in the main exhibit areas, hallways, key entry points and loading dock.

The high-definition surveillance system has played a critical role in helping the museum ensure public safety and protect its valuable artifacts from damage and theft. The system delivers a lower total cost of ownership, greater image quality and reliability, and requires less maintenance. The museum also has been able to reduce insurance premiums, more effectively protect itself against the threat of false liability claims and more easily meet the strict security requirements of traveling exhibits that attract new audiences. The administration has noticed a marked reduction in trespassing activity since deploying the high-definition system.

Located in the heart of downtown, the museum is a 55,000-square foot facility with an outdoor plaza, a loading dock at the rear, and a skyway connected to public parking.

“Because of the size of the building, as well as its location in an area known for attracting a transient crowd, we wanted an advanced, high-definition surveillance system to monitor people coming and going from our facility around the clock,” said Steven Hansen, the museum’s director.

Based on research and a strong recommendation from the Sioux City facilities manager, Hansen chose Electric Innovations, a local provider of surveillance system design, installation and service who installed the system.

“We needed an advanced, high-definition surveillance system that would provide broad coverage, overcome architectural challenges in our openconcept building, and remain unobtrusive,” Hansen said. “Providing excellent local support, Electric Innovations has installed the best quality surveillance solution possible to deliver optimal system performance.”

Better than Analog

Without a permanent security staff, the museum’s administrators are responsible for the facility’s security, in addition to other operational responsibilities, so ease of use was a key requirement.

“The high-definition surveillance system is very simple to use, providing each of us with a variety of camera views right from our desktop, making it much easier and less time-consuming to monitor throughout the day,” said Deanna Mayo, administrative assistant at the museum. “Because each user can select relevant camera views from their own desktop, we can ensure broader coverage of the museum at all times.

“While our needs are pretty basic, we can quickly and easily identify people and events because of Avigilon’s simple and intuitive user interface. Avigilon Control Center provides full control over surveillance video playback, making it easy for users to quickly retrieve evidence and speed up response times.”

“Avigilon Control Center software is 1,000 percent more effective than our previous analog-based system,” Hansen added.

Hansen and Mayo also have been impressed with Avigilon’s image quality, which makes it easier to identify events with greater accuracy.

“I recently spoke with the captain of the police department who is very pleased that we have invested in the high-definition surveillance system,” Hansen said. “We are located in an area that has caused concern for the police, and we have noticed a marked reduction in trespassing since deploying the high-definition surveillance system.”

The system has played a critical role in helping the museum ensure public safety and protect its assets.

With the knowledge that activity is being accurately captured around the clock, museum administrators and patrons alike can enjoy a greater sense of security as they experience the region’s past.

“Most traveling exhibits stipulate strict security guidelines before they can be displayed in a new location,” Mayo said. “With the Avigilon system in place, we are in a much better position to host new exhibits and share the latest collections to attract new audiences.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Security Today.

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