New Mexico Casino Upgrades Surveillance System

Whether for a weekend getaway or a business conference, a meeting or a round of golf, taking in the entertainment or trying your luck at the slots or card tables, the 4-star family-friendly Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque is dedicated to offering its guests a pleasant stay with amenities including a full service spa. The security for the property and guests is no exception. One of the most secure properties in Albuquerque, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the Isleta Pueblo Indian Reservation south of Albuquerque, decided earlier this year to further enhance the protection offered by upgrading its security video surveillance system. Calling for bids, the hotel and casino wanted advice and estimates to upgrade the security surveillance system.

“We decided that improved security will be welcomed by our guests and improve our efficiency. One of our goals included reusing any legacy system components or products, something we knew would be a challenge for the winning bidder,” said Michelle Barwick, surveillance director at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque. “In addition, we wanted minimal disruption for our operations and our guests so we asked to keep the existing coax. SSI recommended Vigitron as they had the system that met these requirements.”

Upgrading the system to include new, internet protocol-based, high definition video surveillance cameras and other equipment, the project required an integrator that understood how to design and execute a hybrid system was needed. After a highly competitive bidding round, Surveillance Systems Integration (SSI) was selected by Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque as the preferred project leader for the migration and upgrade for the property.

SSI then had the task to upgrade the system while retaining as much of the legacy system as possible. Bill Young, Project Manager for SSI, chose the Vigitron Vi2401 Single Port MaxiiCopper Ethernet Extender over Coax. “We needed high speed transmission of full bandwidth Ethernet and PoE over extended distances of coaxial cables. The Vi2401 provided this for us,” said Young. One of the main features of the Vigitron system is that the proprietary Symmetric Bandwidth (SBW) assures full bandwidth transmission over the entire operational distance for both uploads and downloads with Virtual Zero Packet Loss (VZPL). In addition, bandwidth assurance provides the ability to transmit multiple cameras on single camera runs with no information loss. Because the Avigilon cameras have high-resolution images, they require high and reliable bandwidth transmission. SSI chose Vigitron because they could maintain bandwidth consistency over long distances, something the Avigilon cameras dictated.

“Installation cost savings, proven performance, and major camera brand compatibility were just a few of the reasons we chose Vigitron for this project,” said Young.

The SSI team first evaluated the state of the existing systems to further plan and procure the parts that would be necessary to improve the legacy surveillance system. To meet the needs and solve the challenges presented by the hotel and casino, the team decided to feature Avigilon’s end-to-end solution. The planned system at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque represents Avigilon’s largest casino installation upgrade in the United States. From SSI, Al Croteau, business development manager, was assigned to lead the project with the hotel and casino.

“We chose to use Avigilon’s end-to-end solution for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino because it is easy to combine with legacy systems. Also, it helps enhance the existing system to capture footage in high definition, the best image clarity the industry offers, to provide the best evidence possible. Avigilon also offers advanced network video management software allowing the client to manage the system from workstations that work together,” said Al Croteau. “The project requires us to work closely with the surveillance team at the casino and with Avigilon to choose the right products to mix and match with the high-quality, existing resources the property already had.”

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque project will include an update from analog to high definition cameras, additional video encoders to enhance existing equipment, and multiple workstations and servers on a large scale, upgrading the quality and ability to identify threats in real-time while being continuously recorded. The Vigitron MaxiiCopper Model Vi2401 is a revolutionary data transmission device that extends full-duplex High-Speed Ethernet over existing coax infrastructures. It employs MaxiiCopper innovative and unique Ethernet extension technology that is designed to take full advantage of high-bandwidth networking cables maintain a full-duplex 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection up to the maximum range - with minimum transmission error and latency.

Vi2401 can connect multiple remote network devices such as Mega-pixel cameras or VoIP to a central LAN switching fabric with ease. Its dual- capability feature provides an easy way to balance the best possible network throughput and long-reach distance design.

The Vi2401 is a transceiver device and needs to be deployed on both the coaxial cable. A dip switch sets the data rate between the remote and central locations. It is equipped with LEDs to provide link status and configured data rate. No IP setting or configurations are required and completely transparent to the corporate IP network and higher layer protocols. The Coax cable needs to be point to point without any branches.

The system will use the Avigilon Control Center, featuring network video management software with High-Definition Stream Management technology. The control center effectively captures, manages and stores high-definition multi-megapixel surveillance video while efficiently managing bandwidth and storage. The software also records and manages both audio and video from the installed multi-megapixel IP cameras, easily accommodating conventional and PTZ analog cameras, as well as both audio and video from a broad variety of third-party IP cameras and encoders from other manufacturers.

The Vigitron cable system along with the Avigilon Control Center allows a hybrid system for a budget-conscious migration from analog to digital, which is just what the client, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque, had requested.

With the control center and network video recorder solution, managing the system from the hotel and casino’s workstations would be simple and efficient. Additionally, the system uses Winsted Console Systems (Sightline), 18 LCD monitors varying in size from 24” to 46”, a combination of Cisco Network Switches as well as the Vigitron IP over coaxial devices and West Penn Fiber from the IDF rooms to the HeadEnd and wire for the system wiring. The Winstead Console and LCD Monitors are part of a completely new monitor room designed especially for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque. One of the most important elements of the migration was that the system was designed and planned so there will be zero downtime during the cutover from the existing system to the new Avigilon System.

“Being an end-to-end solution provider that is capable of managing the project from the design phase to execution, SSI is able to line up the schedule to meet our client’s needs, even in their tight schedule requests. Because we oversee the entire process, we are able to provide a seamless project that minimizes downtime for the customer,” said Todd Flowers, President of SSI. “We selected Vigitron because the client wanted to maintain the existing coax structure for minimal distruption while the retrofit required additional bandwidth for the upgrade in cameras and other equipment,” Flowers added.

SSI is headquartered out of Roseville, California. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year as an end-to-end surveillance integrator with services that include system design engineering, product procurement, advanced project management, professional installation and execution. The company recently announced expansion plans, opening new offices this year in Tulsa and Seattle, as part of its growth strategy eyeing a bigger piece of the casino, retail and commercial markets. Specializing in retrofitting and upgrading existing systems to include the latest in security video surveillance technology, the project at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque was a perfect match of ability to need.

“With a solution in place to meet the customer’s needs, we could then address one of the other concerns mentioned by the hotel and casino – they wanted to be more sustainable. As we reviewed the power requirements for the new system upgrade, we found that by switching to the Avigilon end-to-end solution and utilizing the Vigitron Vi2401, we would not only provide them with high image quality, but one that would actually reduce the annual power consumed by the security surveillance system,” added Croteau. “Our team of SSI engineers and system designers were able to cut up to 70 percent of the annual power usage by the system while also providing recommendations that would increase the security and operations efficiency for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque.”

After coming up with upgrade suggestions and plans to not only meet but exceed the expectations of the client, they were taken to the customer for review.

“We were thrilled to see the plans that included state-of-the-art equipment for no more than our requested budget restriction, but we were even more excited when we learned that the new system upgrades would allow us to save up to 70 percent of the power the video surveillance system had used in the past,” said Barwick. “To us, this exceeded our expectations, especially since we had added so many high-definition, IP-based cameras, as we believed that the newer technology would take more energy to operate. SSI’s choices were a great match to what we had envisioned when we embarked on the bidding process.”

The hotel and casino should also expect minimal training with powerful solutions such as HD recording and playback timelines, the capability to bookmark and export HD surveillance footage, detailed management, monitoring and reporting of system status and security that lets administrators and operators map any camera or system event to an action for faster identification of threats or incidents and improved response times.

“We anticipate minimized installation costs, greatly helped by keeping our existing coax thanks to Vigitron, and minimal training costs -- the pleasant surprises keep coming from SSI,” adds Barwick. “While we are only in the middle of 2012, the system for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque is well under way. SSI is on schedule to deliver a fully executed system by the end of the calendar year, and we aim for the hotel and casino to enjoy and fully expect the ‘best possible customer experience’.”

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