On Duty

On Duty

High-end video keeps watch

When a golf cart went missing at CordeValle, a 44-room Rosewood golf resort on 1,700 acres in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains about 25 miles south of San Jose, Calif., it was a wakeup call about the resort’s need to upgrade its aging video surveillance system. The analog CCTV system was more than 8 years old, and some of the cameras were no longer operating. The resort also wanted to add video coverage to reduce or eliminate risk and to enhance monitoring.

CordeValle has been ranked as the No. 14 golf resort in North America, and amenities include the Clos LaChance winery located adjacent to the sixth hole, a 5,000-square-foot full-service spa, hiking, tennis and complete relaxation.

The resort first approached Sean Toland, vice president of Engineered Lifestyles, a San Francisco Bay-area integrator that specializes in hospitality technology, to assess the property and propose a new video system. Toland specified a new networked system using cameras and recording technology from Panasonic System Networks Company of America. The new 46-camera system was a natural choice because the video technology had already proven effective in an installation at Rosewood’s Silicon Valley Sand Hill Resort in Menlo Park, Calif., which Toland had completed the year prior.

“We had good experience with Engineered Lifestyles at Sand Hill,” said Charif Zahrane, IT manager at CordeValle. “They were very happy with the product after they had it for more than a year.”

Zahrane said his biggest concern was the possibility of downtime, but he heard from colleagues that the system was dependable and that the cameras “never go down.”

Planning the New System

In planning the new system, Toland surveyed the property to identify camera locations, making sure areas of concern were covered and ensuring there would be no issues related to guest privacy. He interviewed each department head, noted areas of importance and made an overall list of proposed camera locations. All areas were evaluated both by day and by night to determine lighting and lens requirements. Toland proposed that all parking lot-based cameras would be IP-based network PTZ cameras, given the need to monitor cars and guest safety.

The Panasonic system’s ease of use is ideal in the hospitality environment, where there may not be dedicated security personnel on duty at all times, he said.

“It’s a high-end quality solution that doesn’t require full-time management,” Toland said. “It lends itself perfectly to this environment, and they don’t have to worry about a Windows server or the need to bring in other experts. Employees with proper authorization can access the system through a browser anywhere on the property.”

Another benefit of the IP-based system is the ability for resort management to access the system from home or from any laptop computer.

New Installation at CordeValle

For areas requiring a fixed day/night camera, Toland chose Panasonic’s i-PRO WV-NW484S Super Dynamic III vandal-proof network fixed-dome camera. He installed three of these cameras outside the security bunker near the entrance to the parking area and put others on the tennis court, at the side of the building, above the cart garage entry door, at the swimming pool and on the loading dock.

Toland said the camera is easy to work with for a number of reasons. Users can make adjustments and modifications directly on the unit itself, which allows sitespecific modifications. A ruggedized dome housing protects it in outdoor environments, and the IP66-rated dome is resistant to water and dust, as well. At the right angle and with the right lens in use, the camera can show the license plates of cars entering the property, even at night.

“The quality of the camera gives great clarity day or night,” Toland said. For well-lit indoor areas, Toland chose Panasonic’s i-PRO WV-NW284 network color dome camera.

“Management liked that you can recess the dome so the amount of the camera visible is minimal . . . especially in public areas,” Toland said.

Locations for the indoor model included the front desk, the lobby to the wine storage area, the lobby bar, the spa shop, the kitchen ceiling, the loading dock hall and the entrance to the human resources department.

For outdoor day/night applications that need PTZ functionality, CordeValle uses the Panasonic i-PRO WV-NW964 all-in-one network day/night PTZ camera. Features include an auto image stabilizer for applications where vibration or wind is a concern and a built-in sun shield to permit camera installation in direct sunlight. The PTZ model is used on light poles in the parking lot, at the entry driveway of the executive offices, at the bar patio and at the employee back lot. The resort likes the responsiveness of the PTZ movement, which has no lag even though some of the cameras are hundreds of feet away and connected by fiberoptic cabling. The staff also appreciate the quality of the images and the weatherproof dome. For day/night indoor PTZ applications, CordeValle uses Panasonic’s i-PRO WV-NW202 color network PTZ dome camera. Locations include the pro shop and the hall outside the spa shop.

Video is recorded on Panasonic’s i-PRO ND400 with 9 TB of storage, which provides up to about 30 days of archived video—even more than the integrator expected. The human resource department also uses an off-site, cloud-based digital storage area to keep video for longer periods. The cameras accept PoE through user-owned PoE switches.

The installation uses a rack-mounted patch panel to accommodate cable connections. The use of patch-panel ports facilitates troubleshooting and keeps the cable connections clean, organized and easily managed inside the data closet. Camera connections are identified by different color patch ports to aid technicians. Access to various ports is restricted to authorized users.

Image Quality

The new system also ties into the corporate network to provide video access throughout the enterprise. However, “the camera side is untouchable,” Toland said. In the security bunker, there are four monitors operating Panasonic’s WV-ASM100 monitoring and management software, and security employees stationed at the bunker gate house control the cameras from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Front desk staff have access to cameras through a Web interface to view the parking gate and other key areas afterhours.

“The image quality is a whole lot better than what we had,” Zahrane said. “It’s amazing. It’s an engineered solution, so there are no other products in the mix.”

Almost immediately, the new system demonstrated the value of improved video surveillance. For example, now if there is an incident, the resort can view recorded video of the event. One morning, the resort once again couldn’t locate one of the golf carts. In reviewing the video from the night before, resort staff found video of a vehicle driving through the parking lot after hours. They saw that a passenger exited the car and then drove one of the golf carts away. Staff were even able to see the face of a person waiting outside the gate house on the video.

In another incident, when a guest lost his watch and wallet on the golf course after leaving them in a golf cart, the video showed which employee got into the guest’s golf cart right after the guest parked it.

“We looked at the recordings and knew exactly what happened,” Zahrane said. “The guest’s belongings were successfully returned, but we wouldn’t have known which employee to approach without the video footage.”

A Standard of Performance

Rosewood plans to move toward standardizing the use of video surveillance in its various properties, which include 17 hotels and resorts in six countries. Toland said he has already completed two installations at Rosewood properties, has an additional one in design, and has others still pending. One advantage of uniformity across Rosewood properties is the ability for employees to move from one property to the next and be able to operate the system. “It makes life easier,” Toland said.

Ed Alvarado of Premier Systems Group, a Panasonic manufacturer’s representative firm, was instrumental in facilitating the sale and in making sure the customer’s needs were met.

“They liked the fact that Panasonic was there, which they didn’t get from any other vendor,” said Toland. “Involvement by the local rep firm helped to legitimize the sale, and he is my direct line to Panasonic.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Security Today.

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