Italian City Increases Security With IP Video, Wireless Network

The city of Manerbio, Italy, has migrated from analog to IP video, with major savings and the ability to scale up in future while adding new innovations, thanks to Milestone open platform video management software.

Manerbio, Italy, is one of the biggest cities in the Province of Brescia. The police had an old surveillance system with analog video cameras for monitoring a few sensitive areas, which soon proved insufficient for their security needs since it had all the limitations of a solution based on a proprietary (one-vendor) standard.

It also used expensive data lines with an annual cost of leasing the telecommunication lines from the national carrier that was excessive for the poor surveillance results of the outdated system.

“We did not have a technical solution suitable for the operational needs of our local police, and it was impossible to carry out any expansions of the system at reasonable costs,” said Mayor Dr. Cesare Trebeschi.

After a careful evaluation of 22 project proposals, the most qualified was selected from Technology Associates, a multi-certified partner of Milestone Systems. The company’s solution was based on a powerful and scalable Milestone software platform running over a wireless network. It provides two fully redundant and independent wireless communication centers for the police to monitor the city areas, using the latest-generation Axis cameras with automatic motion tracking and 35x zoom in day and night modes.

Most of the video cameras installed are linked by means of wireless bridge systems. Fiber optic links have also made it possible to set up high-speed backbones with a very high level of redundancy to ensure the continued availability of service, even in the event of failure of individual portions of the system.

“Our installation can meet any need of the municipality because it can be freely scaled up without constraints in the quantity or type of video cameras or security systems integrated in future. Above all, it offers an optimal technology-to-investment ratio and helps control fixed costs,” said engineer Felix Lars Keil, managing partner of Technology Associates. “The authorities of Manerbio understood that after bearing the initial costs of the investment, it would just be a matter of utilizing the great potential of the network and software environment.”

The implementation includes “IPView,” a Technology Associates integration of the Milestone IP video software with an intercom system, which allows the city authorities to open various gateways throughout the region by remote control.

For example, they can open school gates or waste disposal centers at specific times during hours when they are unguarded. When a call button is pressed in one of the facilities, the console in the surveillance center displays a special control panel with an audio and video transmission of the person requesting entry. Operators can reply or open the gate. The audio and video recordings of the operations are stored in the Milestone system to ensure maximum security.

Operating tests have already been performed for remote control of some restricted traffic areas, as well, making use of a combination of the Milestone license plate reader module and the IPView networked Intercom system to control the retractable traffic barriers. The access rights would be subject to recognition of a license plate or badge.

The project lived up to its promises, as attested by Dr. Gabriele Mighela, municipal police chief in Manerbio.

“The choice of this system paid off richly from the very start,” he said. “In four years the savings from no longer having to pay the subscription fees for the old lines will amount to about 48,000 euros, and it would not have been feasible to maintain the old system with all the video cameras that we use today.”

The core of the solution is the Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video open platform, which makes it possible to manage a virtually unlimited number of video cameras, to configure multiple display points, to view images and manage the system in real time with a centralized or decentralized mode, or from archived recordings.

The open platform system is designed to integrate with multiple analytics software modules, including automatic sophisticated traffic analysis functions.

The Milestone technology also made it possible to continue using the analog video cameras of the previous system in order to save those prior investment costs. All the video information is managed in full compliance with the regulations governing privacy and data processing, using strict policies of access, authentication and encryption in the software, the Wi-Fi infrastructure, and individual archived files.

Manerbio is at the head of an association of municipalities that make use of the local police. The idea is to extend video surveillance to those municipalities, as well.

“Thanks to the Milestone platform and modern IP infrastructure, we have achieved significant night and day surveillance of numerous areas of the city. The local police under my direction and the station of the Carabinieri of Manerbio (Italian military police) now have a truly indispensable tool that is productive in its application and extremely useful for obtaining significant documentary evidence in a timely and efficient manner,” Gabriele said. “This provides for much greater integration in the services shared between the cooperating municipalities, too. This is extremely important these days, when we are witnessing a high degree of criminal mobility from one city to the next.”

The next service introduced will be for police on duty to respond to alarms more effectively. For the officers on call, during the time it takes them to reach the site of an alarm, they will be able use laptops with dedicated software to access the Milestone video images so they can get all the information necessary to determine the best intervention.

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