Texas School District Rolls Out More Than 600 IP Cameras At 12 Sites

The Beaumont Independent School District in Texas incorporates more than 30 K-12 schools housing nearly 20 thousand students, in addition to several administration buildings. To keep track of activities during and after school hours, deter criminal activity and insure safety and security for pupils and staff, the district implemented a new IP-based video surveillance system powered by the video control and management solution from On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI).

Greg Schumacher, senior network and programming administrator for the Beaumont School District, investigated several video surveillance options to address immediate areas of concern with an eye on expanding whichever system they selected to cover all of the district’s facilities.

After having initially deployed black-and-white analog cameras with the intent of moving them from location to location to address specific issues, the district found this laborious task too difficult to maintain.

With guidance from security systems integrator Micro Integration, the district switched to a basic IP video system using Web browsers to access and control a small array of cameras. The system proved its value quickly by helping school officials and the police department quickly identify and apprehend suspects. Most importantly, incidents at the maintenance department quickly subsided once the word got out that the premises were under constant video surveillance.

The three high schools in the Beaumont ISD required a more elaborate video surveillance control and management platform to tie the satellite video surveillance systems together from the three remote locations. Micro Integration recommended a comprehensive video control and management software solution from OnSSI that integrates camera control functions, NVR, virtual matrix, intelligent video delivery and content analysis in one software platform.

“When we first started looking at various IP video surveillance control solutions on the market, it was quite overwhelming,” said Tommy Glenn, senior consultant -- security at Micro Integration. “However, once we started to narrow down the offerings, it became apparent that one solution stood out above the rest -- OnSSI. When evaluating the ability to customize the user experience, while still keeping the system very intuitive, no company’s product matched the ability of OnSSI. Now we have templates and standards built using OnSSI’s solution that we use on various projects. Our installation times are shorter and the customer receives a premier solution with open architecture so they are not locked into any manufacturers’ cameras.”

With the new IP video system in place, the number of disciplinary actions at the High School dropped dramatically. Cameras were then placed in Middle Schools with similar results. A total of 600 IP cameras have been added to the system to date at 12 schools with the goal of installing up to 900 cameras once construction on new facilities is completed.

To facilitate monitoring operations, cameras are accessed and controlled using the OnSSI solution with map overlays of the city that display all the schools/locations. The system is hosted on multiple servers custom built by Micro Integration at multiple sites and integrated. Beaumont Schools IP video surveillance system shares a centralized network backbone with the district’s IT system but is partitioned to assure uninterrupted operation and added network security. The cameras streaming to the servers require significant bandwidth on the district’s 1GBps Ethernet network, so each of the satellite systems run independently on their own backbones and are then tied together on a WAN that feeds into OnSSI’s solution. This distributed architecture greatly helps conserve bandwidth utilization according to Schumacher.

The satellite systems are integrated so they can be viewed from various locations including principals’ offices and directly at the police department. Principals can only see their own schools while the police have access to every camera in the system. Schumacher and the IT staff have control over all system programming and functions along with Micro Integration.

“The OnSSI video surveillance control and management solution allows us to easily export data from anywhere on the network and send it anyplace we want in any format,” Schumacher said. “It’s very efficient and easy to use, as are the control functions for PTZ cameras allowing even novices to operate them. As we continue to expand the video surveillance system here at the Beaumont Independent School District, OnSSI’s video control and management solution continues to exceed our expectations.”

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