Next Gen Technology

Event-based security solutions for a new scholastic generation

FOUNDED IN 1887 IN BUIES CREEK, N.C., CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY OFFERS STUDENTS ALL OF THE AMENITIES OF A TYPICAL LARGE-SCALE COLLEGE CAMPUS WHILE PROVIDING THE FEEL OF A CLOSE-KNIT COMMUNITY. WITH AN ENROLLMENT OF MORE THAN 6,000 STUDENTS, INCLUDING 4,000 UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS ON ITS MAIN CAMPUS, THE PRIVATE UNIVERSITY OFFERS COURSES IN NEARLY 100 DISCIPLINES AND ALSO BOASTS ITS OWN MEDICAL AND LAW SCHOOLS. LATER THIS YEAR, CAMPBELL WILL LAUNCH ITS NEW SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, WHICH WILL PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH MORE OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM IN FURTHERING THEIR ACADEMIC CAREER.

This will be the third new school to open at Campbell in less than five years following the opening of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013 and the establishment of the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing in March 2015. Concurrent with the establishment of the nursing school last March, the university broke ground on a 72,000-square-foot building that is expected to house the nursing school, as well as Campbell’s physical therapy, occupational therapy and medical research programs. Campbell is also working in conjunction with the state of North Carolina to erect a new pedestrian tunnel under U.S. 421 to connect its campuses.

To ensure the safety of students and faculty members in these new facilities, Campbell decided to significantly upgrade its video surveillance system beginning with its Fine Arts building. The job of updating Campbell’s surveillance hardware and software fell to Charlie Price, the university’s audio/visual manager, and the rest of his team that oversees the installation of physical security systems across the campus.

“There is very little crime here and we want to keep it that way,” Price said. “We feel like one of the best ways to ensure our parents that we’re keeping the environment healthy here is to provide surveillance.”

According to Price, the university currently has approximately 150 cameras deployed across campus, which are a mix of both analog and IP technology. For years, Campbell relied strictly upon analog solutions for its surveillance needs but with the advancements made in image quality and the costs to deploy network cameras decreasing, the university decided to make the migration to IP for all of its future projects.

Although it leveraged some standalone video recorders in the past, Price said they had their limitations and knew for the initial run of this upgrade, which included the installation of 20 cameras in the Fine Arts building and about 30 cameras altogether, the university needed a more robust system that could help security officials bridge the gap.

“We tried some standalone units that worked really well,” Price said. “But you’re limited to 16 channels on most of them and we were searching for a solution that would deliver more than your average, standalone IP video recorder.”

As opposed to many college campuses which opt to install one large server and then tie all of the cameras into it, creating a single point of failure, Price wanted a distributed network setup and leverage individual servers that could be viewed from a single desktop. Additionally, the audio/video team wanted its surveillance system to be separate from the rest of the university’s IT backbone.

“That not only takes a load off of our computing people, but it also ensures great reliability per building,” Price said. “We can just sit at our desktop, pull up a certain server from an individual building and view the cameras.”

After consulting with a representative from Accu-Tech—the distribution partner Campbell collaborated with on the project—and trying out several different brands, Price said they opted to go with Arteco’s eMotion software as it offered everything they were looking for in a VMS platform. Price said he was extremely impressed with the user-intuitiveness of eMotion, as well as the company’s technical support, which he described as second to none.

With a small staff with myriad responsibilities across the campus, Price said manpower resources are stretched to the max, but he knew eMotion could help support the university’s current and future surveillance infrastructure with relative ease.

“Security is one-eighth of what we do and we don’t have a lot of time to dabble with it, so we’re happy when we hook up something and it works,” said Price. “Arteco provides great technical support and they are always right there to answer any question we may have.” Price said he was comfortable knowing that eMotion would always be up and running in the background so that in the event an incident does occur on campus, they will be able to retrieve the evidence they need quickly and reliably.

“Nothing is more disheartening than to have an incident, go through your video and find there is nothing there,” Price said. “Reliability is key for us.”

With the installation in the Fine Arts building still ongoing and the upcoming projects at the aforementioned tunnel and School of Nursing set to get underway soon, Price said the university decided to standardize all of its surveillance technology on Arteco and will ensure all of the future hardware purchases are certified on the platform. However, because Arteco’s software conforms to ONVIF standards, the university will not find itself pigeon-holed into using one particular type of camera. In addition, while Price and his team used an off-the-shelf server in their initial deployment with eMotion, he said they are planning to use Arteco video servers for future projects.

“I think this is going to be powerful software for us. It can do far more than we need it to do right now; but in the future, there is so much more we can do with it,” Price said.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Security Today.

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