Restoring a Lagoon - Project calls for high definition surveillance on the edge

Restoring A Lagoon

Project calls for high-definition surveillance on the edge

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On June 1, 2012, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR), in connection with various partner agencies, began a six-month construction project to restore wetland function within Malibu Lagoon State Park. The project, on the coastline north of Santa Monica, culminates nearly 20 years of scientific studies and planning that engaged multiple government agencies, scientific experts, local property owners and environmental organizations. Excess sediment from decades of misuse was removed, and the lagoon’s water channels were re-contoured to improve water flow and circulation. Considering the significant investment in the project, CDPR wanted to ensure the protection of the site during its critical restoration phases.

“In reviewing the issues to manage the overall project and ensure the security of the construction site and the safety of workers and visitors to the park, we determined that we would greatly benefit from installing a security system,” said Barbara Fosbrink, project support coordinator, CDPR.

Around-the-Clock Surveillance

Fosbrink began the process to identify a solution that could provide 24-hour surveillance coverage. Key to developing the scope for the installation was an approach that would address the unique location of the site and the construction zones, and changes to beach access. Environmentally, the site presented challenges arising from intense glare coming from the ocean, extreme morning fog and its accompanying dampness, and low-light conditions—once the sun set, the site had no dedicated lighting, rendering 24-hour surveillance coverage a significant challenge. Further, project officials also needed to find a way to combat limited Wi-Fi access.

In addition, CDPR required a solution that would be easy to disassemble upon the project’s completion, and offer the option to redeploy at another site in the future.

Even with these roadblocks, CDPR understood the risks of not installing a security system. The project could quickly become more expensive if just one incident occurred and there was no system in place to provide evidentiary support. Therefore, CDPR moved forward with a competitive bid process to secure the most costeffective, reliable solution possible. It selected SOV Security, Agoura Hill, Calif., as its systems integrator for the project.

Low-Light Conditions

CDPR developed the project scope believing a thermal camera solution would be the best option. During this process, Bryan Merjan, president and CEO, SOV Security, the security systems integrator selected for the project, introduced state coordinators to alternative options, including the cost-effective, edge-based surveillance technologies from Innovative Security Designs.

“California State Parks originally wanted thermal cameras because of the night-time features, but they were quickly taken off the table because of the high cost associated with such devices,” Merjan said. “We informed them we knew of a megapixel solution that was drastically less expensive and worked superbly in low-light conditions.”

Founded by a team of seasoned security and imaging professionals, ISD provides edge-based IP surveillance solutions that deliver ease of management and configuration. The company’s award-winning Jaguar cameras provide customers with unmatched video quality and edge-based processing. The ISD devices also deliver flexibility when it comes to video storage by allowing customers to leverage long-term storage through on-board SD cards or external integration with NAS devices.

Merjan deployed four ISD Jaguar series cameras mounted in pairs to monitor the construction site and visitor traffic from the beach. The cameras deliver HD 1080p resolution to capture every detail, ensuring full protection of the state’s equipment. It features wide dynamic range to combat the ocean’s glare and the site’s varying light conditions, and boasts day/night mechanical infrared cut filters to provide unparalleled low-light performance.

“Wide Dynamic Range was a big feature for the lagoon,” Merjan said. “A lot of cameras do well in standard lighting conditions, but as soon as the landscape changes from very bright to very shadowy, traditional cameras cannot provide the same quality image. ISD solutions made perfect sense for this application, especially from a WDR perspective.”

During the night, the lagoon is exposed to residual light from homes several hundred feet away. Jaguar’s day/ night filter worked flawlessly to deliver exceptional low-light coverage.

To manage video, SOV Security integrated Exacq Technologies exacqVision Edge, video management software designed to operate directly on an edge device without the need for a separate server. exacqVision Edge software integrated seamlessly with the ISD Jaguar camera series.

One camera monitored the entrance gate to a temporary water treatment facility, and another camera monitored access to and from the beach. The two additional cameras mounted in the construction trailer area provided wide views of the entire site. All four cameras streamed video to HauteSpot Networks’ Hautespot microNVR stationed in an entrance kiosk at the park’s entrance. Hautespot, an ISD partner, is a provider of highperformance wireless routing platforms that can be easily configured to meet the demands of HD-quality surveillance monitoring.

“Our wireless networks are designed for IP surveillance and allow cameras to communicate seamlessly, providing remote access and troubleshooting,” said Bob Ehlers, CEO, HauteSpot Networks. “Our low-jitter, highly secure network technology synergizes well with the megapixel, edge-based approach to surveillance.”

On the Edge

CDPR found additional value and cost-effectiveness in ISD’s edge capabilities. Each camera features edge-based recording and storage to minimize issues with bandwidth consumption. The approach also allowed the cameras to store video data on board, reducing the need for external storage. Coupled with HauteSpot’s microNVR, the edge technology creates redundancy in video storage, providing additional peace of mind that video is being captured at all times. For example, if a camera were stolen, captured footage could be accessed on the NVR; if the NVR were stolen, footage would still be available on the camera.

Successful deployment of the cameras reduced the opportunity for incidents, and the cameras delivered on the promise of producing superb images, even in low light, extreme glare, fog and other challenging environmental conditions. In addition, Fosbrink found the Exacq VMS easy to manage and configure, and routinely monitored the live video feeds on her mobile devices to keep watch over operations when she was not physically on-site.

“We investigated many different camera technologies from a variety of manufacturers, and they all worked great in ideal conditions,” Fosbrink said. “But, nothing compared to the performance of the ISD cameras in the variable light conditions of the lagoon. These cameras have performed very well in this harsh environment.”

Merjan took the success a step further, rendering the ISD cameras one of the few megapixel cameras on the market capable of succeeding in such dynamic applications.

“Sometimes companies will boast that they have a megapixel solution, but that doesn’t always lead to great images,” he said. “If the color contrast isn’t good enough, you’re not going to capture a good picture.”

Construction at the Malibu Lagoon State Park location will be completed in 2013, and the cameras will be taken down. Because of the system’s flexibility, CDPR will be able to re-deploy the system at a new site. The proven performance and reliability will allow for the equipment to be installed in any variety of diverse environments and settings. Fosbrink noted that overall, the security solution “was a solid investment, and will come in handy for future projects and activities of the department.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Security Today.

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