Backbone for Surveillance

New York magnet school leverages network backbone for cost-effective, IP network solution

THE Mount Vernon City School District is located in the southeastern corner of Westchester County, N.Y., operating 15 schools with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students. The A.B. Davis Middle School is a district magnet school that serves 867 students, 75 teachers, five administrators, four counselors, a psychologist and 30 support staff members.

To safeguard its students and staff, A.B. Davis Middle School subscribes to a zero-tolerance policy to violence, drugs and gangs, and it has made a concerted effort to establish itself as a safe harbor for learning. As part of this initiative, the school recently installed an IP network video surveillance system -- the first in Mount Vernon City School District's history. By leveraging its existing network infrastructure and installing IP Video Corp.'s Enterprise Surveillance System, coupled with Toshiba network cameras, the school saved thousands of dollars while benefiting from the IP networked video's scalability, PoE capabilities and remote management. Eliminated was the need for additional Ethernet cable pulls, complex coaxial runs, outdated analog equipment and expensive electrical rework.

By leveraging its existing network infrastructure and installing IP Video Corp.'s Enterprise Surveillance System, coupled with Toshiba network cameras, the school saved thousands of dollars while benefiting from the IP networked video's scalability, PoE capabilities and remote management.

The goal of the A.B Davis project was an integrated, full-featured video surveillance program for real-time monitoring both inside and outside the school. Administrators also wanted a system that is easy to access by authorized users and delivers the greatest value for the dollars spent and that can be expanded upon to meet future needs.

The district worked with integrator A+ Technology Solutions Inc. to install the IP network surveillance system.

"The goals of the A.B Davis project can be summed up as accessibility, affordability and scalability," said David Antar, president of A+ Technology Solutions. "Immediately, we saw the cost savings and performance enhancing potential of the school's network infrastructure. The school district's IT team was enthusiastic about an IP network-based solution."

Getting It Done
The district's IT department configured a separate VLAN infrastructure for the IP video system to better manage network utilization. An IP Video Corporation Visual Sentry NVR, boasting a massive 4 terabytes of storage, tapped into the network's capacity. The Visual Sentry NVR software makes it possible for any workstation on the network to be used as a viewing client for monitoring live video or retrieving archives. A security console with eight rack-mounted, LCD 19-inch monitors is located in the Security Operations Center deep inside A.B. Davis Middle School. At the security console, up to 64 cameras can be viewed simultaneously on each monitor. In addition, live video and recorded archives can be viewed via the Internet with remote viewing client software.

The NVR is located in the facility's server room, providing a centralized secure location to capture and store images. As future needs arise, additional image storage and viewing modules can be added to the system. For instance, A+ Technology Solutions is in discussions to bring video access to local police headquarters via the Internet or a wireless network from a police car.

In selecting a supplier for the 104 IP network cameras to install, A+ Technology Solutions chose Toshiba. The decision was based on performance, value and, most importantly, the cameras' ability to integrate into IP Video Corporations Visual Sentry NVR.

Inside the school, 94 Toshiba IK-WR01A vandal-resistant network domes were installed in cafeterias, hallways and classrooms, while another 10 PTZ-style network cameras were mounted within heated enclosures outside the school's parameter to watch parking lots and schoolyards.

The cameras combine a rugged vandal-resistant design with hybrid network/analog capabilities, 640 x 480 resolution and a 30 fps frame rate. But what really made the camera stand out to A+ Technology Solutions was its 802.3af PoE support, requiring only a single Ethernet cable to deliver both communications and power. The result is better placement flexibility and lower installation costs while facilitating the use of uninterruptible power supply with the camera, so that video monitoring can continue in the event of a power failure.

"The Toshiba camera's PoE support saved Mt. Vernon School District thousands of dollars in electrical hardwiring," Antar said.

Capable Cameras
A+ Technology Solutions was equally enthusiastic about the cameras that offer ultra-fast PTZ capability with 22x optical zoom, sharp SXVGA resolution (1,280 x 960) and a slot for a removable SD memory card, allowing for an added at-the-camera recording option that works in conjunction with an alarm.

The cameras can be programmed and operated using the Visual Sentry NVR with options such as frame rate, motion detection or resolution being individually set for each camera.

"Between IP Video Corporations NVR and Toshiba cameras, this system is truly state-of-the-art," Antar said. "It is a good feeling knowing that we are protecting children while they get the education they need to improve their lives."

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Security Products, pgs 80-82.

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Security Today.

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