Lenzburg Prison Has State-of-the-art IP Video Surveillance

Milestone Systems’ open platform IP video management software is the flexible basis for a customized solution in a new central prison in Switzerland, which has twice as many cameras as guards observing the life of those inside and outside the cells. Approaching the 6-meter high wall of the new prison in Lenzburg, Switzerland, it is already clear at the revolving steel door entrance that those inside are not the only ones under surveillance.

With 72 fixed and 8 pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) dome cameras from Panasonic, and XProtect video surveillance software from Milestone Systems,  the Milestone Certified Partner Siaxma did not use its own products, but certainly a great deal of its own know-how. Video specialist Thomas Rudin from Siaxma gained the confidence of this client with convincing arguments, thus winning the public contract. Rudin is also a member of the 'CCTV System Committee' in the Swiss Association of Security System Installers. His ace in the hole: Milestone open platform IP video software for management and operation of the entire, network-based surveillance system instead of the originally planned analog equipment. This approach provides significant advantages: more flexible operation, better image quality, simple configuration by users and multiple upgrade possibilities.

The enormous quantity of data - in the past the images from each camera were saved for seven days - is stored on two Pivot3 servers installed specially for this application; a third server runs in parallel as a redundant security feature. In the outdoor area, infrared spotlights also ensure top quality surveillance through recording clear images during the night.

"As a Milestone Certified Partner, Siaxma not only has the right product: one of its major strengths is integrating systems from third parties with existing or new infrastructures," said Thomas Etter, deputy security instructor for the central prison. "We linked the video system to the access control system, the intercom system and the security control system. If someone reports from one of the intercom stations or opens a door at a medical location, the image from the corresponding camera appears immediately on the monitor. This ‘on-demand’ feature facilitates our work in the control center, particularly at night, when only one prison officer is on duty. Moreover, it saves storage space while still guaranteeing complete traceability of all events."

The server from Pivot3 is set up with the Milestone software to retain archived video images only when the camera registers movement, whereby the last 20 seconds before the event is also recorded for better investigations. The floor plan for the surveillance coverage is subdivided into zones on the Milestone map functionality; all camera locations are interlinked and can be controlled via mouse click. The most important can be switched on with the keyboard, where over 20 fixed settings - i.e. the exact image sections - can be programmed. Otherwise the pan/tilt/zoom motions of the cameras can be controlled with either a joystick or mouse.

"The Milestone software allows us to complete such configurations ourselves to the greatest extent, so we can adapt it quickly to our specific requirements," Etter said. "Since the central prison is a new building and our everyday routine with the prisoners is being developed step by step, our requirements may change. But the video surveillance system remains independent and flexible."

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