29 Campuses and Counting

29 Campuses and Counting

Growing Texas school district adds comprehensive video surveillance system

Pflugerville (pronounced “flew-grr-ville”) Independent School District rests in a popular suburb just northeast of Austin, Texas. Encompass - ing nearly 100 square miles, PISD enrolls more than 21,000 students on 29 campuses.

Within the next 10 years PISD expects to double its enrollment to reach more than 40,000 students. Recognizing the need to develop a comprehensive video surveillance system to effectively monitor and provide safety for the thousands of students that walk the hallways and enter and exit buildings every school day, PISD sought a district-wide video management system to replace the DVRs and proprietary camera software systems it was using at a few campuses.

Finding a Fix

“We had a campus-by-campus DVR-based system, and not at every campus, just at a few,” said Jo Moss, PISD safety and emergency management coordinator. “If a camera went down—which was often—we went out to the BuyBoard state-approved vendor list and just bought another one. We found what we had in place to be a temporary fix for what was a more general issue.”

Moss said it was a system that offered little support and that seemed to result in continued money invested in equipment, rather than a solution. She and Todd Gratehouse, technology project manager, then sought to further develop the existing plan and to implement a comprehensive resolution that would provide district-wide coverage—a solution that was in line with the district’s safety initiatives.

Supporting the Enterprise

After an exhaustive bid process, PISD selected Video Insight’s Enterprise software to manage the district-wide camera solution. System integrator Titus Systems, of Round Rock, Texas, provided the physical installation of the cabling and cameras. The implementation includes 600 Axis and 300 Arecont 8 MP cameras running on 11 Dell R510 servers, each with 22 TB of RAID5 storage hosted in the PISD datacenter.

Cameras have been placed in all major hallways, entrances and exits, bus loops, loading docks, cafeterias and gymnasiums. The district chose the extremely reliable Axis cameras for many of its indoor and outdoor locations. The Arecont cameras are a mix of 180-degree and 360-degree 8 MP panoramic cameras. The Arecont cameras provide four separate camera streams but use only one Video Insight license (which saves the district money). Moss said the Arecont 8 MP 360s also make the camera presence less noticeable by students.

“With the Arecont 360, I have four excellent views of the cafeteria, for example, but as far as the students are concerned, they just see one camera,” Moss said. “Also, our school board didn’t want to give the impression that PISD had entered a ‘Big Brother’ phase, so the more you can do with fewer cameras satisfies everyone.”

With PISD’s fiber infrastructure, all 2,200 cameras are streamed from the various campuses to the datacenter where the Video Insight Enterprise Software distributes the processing across the Dell R510s, running more than 150 cameras per server, which makes for an efficient use of infrastructure, Gratehouse said. In addition, a twelfth R510 is configured for automated failover in the case of a server failure.

“Our purpose in developing this plan was to provide the safest environment for our students and employees while also maximizing our resources, and we have achieved that,” he said.

Gratehouse added that employees have found the Video Insight software much more “user friendly” than what they had before.

“Our campus administrators and police officers monitor the cameras, and at times we have had to make video clips for use in investigations,” he said. “They have had no problems in retrieving video and in using the software. It has been so easy for them to just get into the software and do what they need to do because the user interface is so simple to use.”

Moss said PISD is building for growth with two new elementary schools, a middle school and a high school coming on board in the next five years. The district plans to have cameras using Video Insight for these campuses, as well.

The district is pleased overall with the implementation, particularly since the comprehensive coverage Video Insight provides supports the district-wide safety plan.

“We know that we have the doors, cafeterias, gyms and hallways of all schools covered,” Moss aid. “That consistency is key to the implementation of our district-wide safety program. All campuses have the ability to monitor and provide a safe environment for our students and employees.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Nicole Segura is the communications manager at Video Insight.

Featured

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

  • ASIS Announces ANSI-Approved Cannabis Security Standard

    ASIS International, a leading authority in security standards and guidelines, proudly announces the release of a pioneering American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard dedicated to cannabis security. This best-in-class standard, meticulously developed by industry experts, sets a new benchmark by providing comprehensive requirements and guidance for the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance of a cannabis security program. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Whitepapers

New Products

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3