Florida Race Track Uses Axis Video Encoders To Meet State Regulations

Axis Communications recently announced that Tampa Bay Downs Inc. has installed its video encoders, enabling the track to exceed new state regulations for recording surveillance video at gaming facilities in a cost effective manner.

Tampa Bay Downs is the only thoroughbred race track on the west coast of Florida, and is known as one of America's oldest and most well-maintained race tracks. AXIS Q7406 Video Encoder Blades and AXIS Q7900 Racks have been installed for 60 of the track’s existing analog cameras in The Silks Poker Room, which features daily poker tournaments on 30 tables. Cameras are used to prevent, fraud, coercion and provide general security for the room.

Video encoders digitize analog video signals and send digital images directly over IP networks, such as LANs, intranets or the Internet. They essentially turn analog video systems into network video systems and enable users to view live images using a Web browser or video management software on any local or remote networked computers.

The impetus for the purchase was Florida’s new regulations dictating that gaming facilities must have video surveillance capabilities that record in at least 4CIF resolution (704x480 pixels) and no less than 30 fps. Given the issues, the racetrack turned to CDW, which recommended Axis video encoders.

The AXIS Q7406 offers the highly efficient H.264 video compression, which drastically reduces bandwidth and storage requirements without compromising image quality. This six-channel blade used with the video encoder rack enables large numbers of analog cameras to be integrated into an IP-based, high-density video surveillance system. When AXIS Q7406 blades are used with the AXIS Q7900 Rack, up to 84 analog cameras can be supported in one 4U, 19-inch rack.

“Prior to the implementation, we had been using DVRs in conjunction with our analog cameras,” said John Vacha, director of information technologies for Tampa Bay Downs. “The system offered only moderate resolution and had limited upgrading flexibility. In the event that a DVR went down, the poker tables in the affected area had to be closed until the DVR was repaired or replaced.

“We installed the new system in 24 hours without impacting our existing infrastructure. The Axis video encoders more than quadrupled the prior recording resolution to a D1 resolution of 720x480, which exceeds the 4CIF state requirements. In addition to offering a competitive price and superior functionality, Axis video encoders can be installed separate from the server used for recording video so they can be expanded at different times and rates. In addition, if a channel goes down now, we can simply replace the card in a matter of minutes since they are hot-swappable.”

Beyond this, since the video encoders offer H.264 compression, Tampa Bay Downs can now retain video for a longer period. In fact, using the same actual storage as before, it can now store far more than the state-mandated 14 days of video. In addition to the Axis network video products, the track has also implemented Milestone Systems’ video management software.

“Video encoders are the most cost-effective way to turn analog video systems into network video systems and benefit the scalability and cost efficiencies by using video management software on any local or remote computer on a network,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications. “We are excited about how smoothly Tampa Bay Downs was able to transition to a system that now exceeds state requirements.”

The future may bring an expansion of Axis capabilities at the track. According to Vacha, Tampa Bay Downs is considering installing Axis video encoders throughout the race track to improve video clarity and flexibility.

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