Assessing the Risk
New Jersey hospital ramps up security program.
- By Mary Wilbur
- Oct 17, 2012
Back in late 2010, Service Works Inc., Farmingdale, N.J., was selected to come into Somerset Healthcare to perform a risk assessment of the existing security services deployed at the hospital. After several meetings with the hospital’s executive team, a risk assessment was completed during the following months.
The risk analysis was performed on video surveillance, exterior lighting, access control, parking gate, emergency phone and infant abduction systems. The hospital needed a well-defined security plan providing scalability and flexibility as they transitioned from a diverse topology of existing systems that had been in place for years with playback of recorded video captured at seven different locations.
“All of these systems had equipment installed in one form or another,” Stephen Govel, president of Service Works. “Some equipment was older technology, some was in need of repair, and some of the systems needed overall enhancements and a different operating procedure to become more effective.
“While all systems were operating at some level, we started with what was in need of the most repairs, meaning the existing video system. On of the big value-adds for Somerset was that they could use all of their existing analog cameras using the Salient capture cards, and as the analog cameras are replaced with IP, they can trade in the analog cards at zero cost for IP licenses.”
Video Surveillance Systems
The existing analog video systems consisted of a variety of recording systems spread throughout the hospital. There were two GE recording system matrixes with recorders, one Pelco 8100 DVR and one AD Intellex DVR. Each system was a standalone deployment with no connectivity between the systems.
The hospital kept their current camera configuration, and focused on two things right away. According to Steve Dean, manager of public safety at Somerset Healthcare, three IP cameras were installed to capture license plates for documentation, and funds were approved for a new recording platform that would best use the resources already in place.
“Eventually, we will replace the analog cameras with an IP infrastructure,” Dean said. “Adding encoders and having one platform has improved the quality of the picture, and the quality of playback is phenomenal.”
The hospital has applied for a Homeland Security grant in hopes of improving the cameras but for right now, having all video surveillance come into one location has improved overall security.
“I have camera views that I’ve never had before,” Dean said. “When we finally get everything we feel we need, we’ll be able to track people coming to the hospital from the freeway to the parking lot, and once they enter the facility, we will be able to track them from floor to floor.”
The hospital had more than 100 cameras in the overall system; however, with the seven independent recording and monitoring locations, there was no information sharing between them, making it difficult for anyone to manage the current deployment.
After an analysis of the existing camera locations and the types of cameras installed, a thorough outdoor lighting survey to determine the camera effectiveness at night and a feasibility study to determine where all cables were routed with so many recording locations, it was determined the best path both economically and for future growth was to use the recently installed fiber network, and then to locate a hybrid NVR solution in the field at each of the old DVR locations.
The network would be used to transmit all cameras to a single operations center.
Salient Systems was selected as the product of choice due to the versatility of their product selection and their ability to easily migrate the analog cameras to an IP format.
“One of the unique benefits Salient provides is the ability to transition from analog to IP cameras without extra hardware or licensing costs,” said Brian Carle, director of product strategy for Salient Systems. “When CompleteView is used with analog cameras, capture card hardware comes included. This avoids the cost of third-party encoders. As the analog cameras are replaced by IP cameras, the capture cards can be traded in for IP licenses at no extra cost, which provided the lowest cost of ownership for the hospital.”
During Phase One of the project, a full conversation to IP and the addition of license plate cameras in the two parking garages on site went full-speed ahead. There are several additional upgrades with Somerset Medical Center that will be instituted as state and federal grants become available, SWI is monitoring the grant possibilities for best technology and installation.
“Somerset is one of only a handful of Emergency Homeland Security Centers in New Jersey that is equipped to handle health related emergencies on a statewide level,” Govel said. “They have a full control center already established in the facility; however, it was not being used to manage the video camera systems.
“It was decided that this was where the new video monitoring center would be best served since it is a 24-hour-manned center. Our technicians went to work to design the layout for the equipment within the center for the operators and started with the installation.”
Over the next several months, each existing camera was tested and converted into a new Salient head end system.
Upon completion, the hospital was able to manage the system in ways that were unattainable in the past, and with the flexibility of the Salient solution, monitoring the overall system from multiple locations on site and remotely was easily accomplished.
“Replacing the disparate DVRs with CompleteView was easy because it is compatible with the cameras and technology that were already in place,” Carle said. “Standardizing on a single, centrally managed platform made training, live monitoring and investigations much simpler.”
“It was a perfect example of the technology filling a void in security,” Govel said. “Although the systems were, for the most part, installed without the ability to manage the systems through a solid video management system platform, the systems were difficult to manage at best. The Salient solution was easy to use.”