Under the Microscope
City uses network camera system to provide monitoring, surveillance
- By Fredrik Nilsson
- Aug 01, 2008
Although a small city, Longmont,
Colo., has always stood out from
the crowd. In 2006, Longmont
was named one of the Top 100 Best Places
to Live in the United States by Money
Magazine. The goal of the magazine survey,
according to Longmont’s Web site,
was to find small livable cities that had the
best possible blend of good jobs, low
crime, quality schools, open space, reasonable
home prices and activities.
Clearly, one important component of
achieving that high quality of living was
providing its citizens with a strong sense
of security. To obtain enhanced safety for
its residents and important physical sites,
Longmont realized that a network camera
system could offer it both high-quality
and cost-effective monitoring.
As a result, it contracted with an Axis
Communications channel partner, Volpe
Industries, to design, develop and configure
the complete security system using
the AXIS 211A, AXIS 214 PTZ and
AXIS 216FD network cameras and its
own Eagle Eye DETEXI software.
Room to Grow
Longmont wanted a system that could
expand with its needs, according to
Christopher Volpe, president of Volpe
Industries. Volpe started with Longmont’s
water treatment plant a few years ago.
Once online, the central IT department
realized that multiple NVRs could be
deployed and tied together. One tremendous
advantage of Volpe’s Eagle Eye
DETEXI NVR coupled with the Axis network
cameras is that Longmont now has
a citywide surveillance system, which
has the video load distributed to each site.
Meanwhile, any of the video may be
accessed from anywhere within the city,
from any authorized personnel with minimal
impact on their available bandwidth
across the WAN.
Kurt Headrick, senior network analyst
for Longmont, noted that since the surveillance
and safety system has been up
and running, his organization has been
able to respond quickly to security issues
and direcly involve the police department
in the review of archived video. In addition,
using the system, Headrick can
administer all sites easily from the Civic
Center using his PC.
Because Longmont has challenges
that require both wired and wireless
approaches, the city deployed a combination
of wired and wireless Ethernet that is
using lower bandwidth.
Volpe Industries was able to stream
high-resolution video to its NVR for
recording while delivering variable resolutions
to the clients to optimize bandwidth
consumption without affecting the
high-resolution recording stream. Volpe
said this only could be accomplished by
coupling his firm’s NVR with the network
cameras because these cameras
support independent video streaming,
which Volpe Industries frequently uses.
The end result is that Volpe Industries
created a citywide surveillance network
resulting in tremendous visibility while
keeping Ethernet traffic to a minimum
across the city’s WAN.
Solutions for Multiple Sites
The implementation, which began a few
years ago, now encompasses the water
treatment facility, Longmont City
Library, the memorial center, the recreational
center, Centennial Pool and, most
recently, the safety and justice facility.
At the water treatment facility, the
system is used for perimeter monitoring
and water supply visualization throughout
the area. Video can be viewed locally
at the water treatment plant as well as
remotely at the municipal offices. The
site was challenging because of its terrain,
as well as other constraints. Volpe
Industries recommended and implemented
a wireless system, which saved the city
thousands of dollars in wiring costs.
Because of growing security concerns,
the Longmont City Library later joined the
citywide solution in its use of the equipment.
The library IP surveillance system
has cameras placed throughout the library
and around the perimeter. Longmont now
has local and remote live monitoring in
place as well as records of all activity in
and around the library during and after
normal operating hours.
The city then began monitoring four
recreational facilities and several key
potable water structures that are recorded
with DETEXI NVR servers. Longmont
used three NVRs that are remotely monitored
and administered from the civic center
using the domain controller feature.
Finally, Longmont recently began
monitoring the safety and justice building.
In addition to the cameras being used
at the facility, a fourth NVR was installed
and an intercom system was created
using the audio available in the Axis 211
cameras coupled with an external speaker
and microphone system that was added
in the detention cells. This enabled police
to have remote two-way audio communications
with the inmates.
Longmont officials are enthusiastic about
further leveraging the surveillance system’s
capabilities and potentially expanding
the system across other key areas
around the city. Some of these areas will
require wireless connectivity but still
demand high-resolution images that only
Axis cameras can reliably deliver.
Because of the flexibility of Volpe’s
NVR software and its experience with
selecting the right equipment for each particular
application, integrating additional
cameras into the existing system is expected
to be seamless and