Preserving Agriculture

South Dakota operation employs security in rural setting

A large agriculture operation in central South Dakota selected Dakota Security Systems to deploy an IP video surveillance system consisting of two HD megapixel indoor dome cameras and 12 HD megapixel exterior dome cameras from IQinVision. All camera input is managed by Milestone XProtect video management software through an NVR located in the farm’s central shop office. Surveillance footage is recorded and stored for a minimum of 30 days at six frames per second.

Wireless Mesh Network

Seven of the exterior cameras are connected to the system remotely by a Tropos Networks wireless mesh network that transmits the images from various areas of the farm, some from as far as 4,000 feet away from where the network equipment is located. Dakota Security’s wireless infrastructure not only transmits the camera images to be recorded by the NVR but also provides secure wireless Internet access at broadband speeds. Secure wireless Internet access is available throughout the main property, fields and the original homestead, located nearly one mile away.

The owner of this farm does not live onsite with the buildings and equipment, and while the operation has not experienced any major problems with vandalism or theft, leveraging an advanced IP video security system empowers the owner to be well prepared for any trouble that may occur. Farm equipment and outbuildings can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, or more. One unobserved or unsolved incident is more than most farming operations can handle.

Having an IP video surveillance system allows the owner to connect remotely to the cameras from anywhere to view live or recorded surveillance footage of his buildings, equipment and operations from his laptop, smartphone or tablet device. This ability to connect remotely when he is traveling.

The owner of this IP video system previously had an analog surveillance system installed by what he described as a one-man, “fly-by-night” security installer. The legacy analog system had major limitations: it could be viewed only locally with a TV monitor, and it did not offer the benefits of IP video, including high-resolution images, remote access, flexibility, scalability and ease of use. The owner described installing the old analog system as a “learning experience.” He was never able to get support for the equipment, and after a power surge, the system never recovered and lost its value and utility quite quickly.

Benefits of a Connected Operation

Having secure wireless Internet access from anywhere on the expansive property provides many benefits beyond surveillance for the modern-day agricultural operation. For example, the owner is now able to record all of his chemical application notes into his laptop onsite, while he is performing the work, and then email the paperwork from the field. The site’s agronomist also is able to record all of his notes and have them uploaded directly from the farm while he is performing the work. Such accurate, instant information can improve the speed and efficiency of an operation while safeguarding all the data—all of which contributes positively to the operation’s bottom line.

The IP video system owner also sees many future benefits of having a connected farm operation, including bin and fuel storage monitoring. Controlling and monitoring buildings, equipment and operations from a remote location makes his operation more efficient, he said. The owner added that he likes the flexibility of the wireless mesh network and foresees future expansion that includes the ability to extend video surveillance to more of his buildings and property.

Continued Support is Crucial

In addition to selecting Dakota Security to design and install the IP video and wireless mesh components, the owner also selected the company to provide continued support for his system. By selecting a premium support plan, he is able to control service costs on the system and ensure 100 percent uptime. For an absentee owner, such support enables him to have a state-of-the art system without having to worry about maintenance or having the technical know-how required to ensure its functionality. Such plans usually provide regular inspections, preventative maintenance and training to ensure that security standards and system performance are maintained.

Contributing to the Bottom Line

IP video and wireless mesh network systems provide ease of use, scalability, flexibility and operational efficiencies that have the potential to provide a significant return in relatively short order and to deliver significant security benefits for many years into the future. Anyone who knows about farming knows that employing such technology to increase security and create greater efficiencies is essential to maintaining the operation and creating measureable profit.

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

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