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Under the Microscope

City uses network camera system to provide monitoring, surveillance

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.

Additional Plans
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 cost-effective.

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