Legend in the Making

Casino end user goes the route of full IP integration

Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino offers a Vegas-like resort and entertainment experience to visitors and residents in the heart of the Phoenix metro area. Opened on July 2, 2013, the property features 70,000 total square feet and 2,800 total parking spaces and operates 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Home to 950 slot machines, 36 table games, 90 boutique hotel rooms, a 550-seat bingo hall, a variety of dining options, a fitness center, a pool and a state-of-the-art video surveillance and security system, this property cost roughly $135 million to build and is located just southwest of Downtown Phoenix.

This hotel and casino aims to bring entertainment options to its guests, including live, nationally-known and recognized bands and acts to the 6,000-squarefoot entertainment and event center. With so many options and activities for fun, entertainment and dining, the casino’s management created a lively and exciting atmosphere—but not at the expense of security and protection.

To help secure and protect the property and its guests, the Gila River Gaming Commission chose to install a high-definition, IP-based surveillance system at the property.

Going IP

Because of the advantages in the transmission of both audio and video data, as well as control signals, IP-based surveillance has caught on in recent years. The data provided can be synthesized into new, custom build-outs that allow the support of HD images, analytics for operational purposes, local or remote video storage, remote control and monitoring. Because IP video, especially when using the H.264 standard video compression, can provide nearly twice the compression of more traditional digital codecs, the video and audio streams are high quality while using less bandwidth.

Vee Quiva is Gila River Casinos’ first, 100 percent, HD and IP-based camera installation. The casino wanted HD because the technology records highquality video that can be examined more efficiently and provides definitive evidence for all investigations. This includes better situational awareness and fine details that can be used in correctly identifying elements, such as faces, allowing operators to react more quickly and reduce overall investigation time.

Tutor Perini Building Corp., the general building contractor for the project, awarded the security installation contract to Surveillance Systems Integration, Inc. (SSI), a comprehensive surveillance system integration company, known for specializing in systems employing cutting-edge technologies including HD and IP-based cameras, and a leader in casino installations.

Designing the System

SSI worked with its manufacturer partners Dallmeier and Maxxess to provide video management system (VMS) and access control based on requests from the customer.

Integrating the point-of-sale and access control systems with Dallmeier’s VMS was smooth, as the manufacturer directly provided the integration. Dallmeier’s system allows seamless monitoring of all systems from one graphic user interface. In addition, operators can easily handle and manage different video and audio streams, including live playback and recording from anywhere within the networked system.

The Maxxess Access Control application was an ideal choice due to the open architecture of the application, which allows considerable flexibility for security management implementations, including multitasking support. This application also provides a straightforward framework for a unified operational environment, supporting a customer-specific system that is easily connected to any and all security systems and sub-systems to offer real-time data for quick and effective decision making. This system is particularly ideal for integrators, such as SSI, that need the additional flexibility for unique, tie-in application and scaling.

Installation and Maintenance

For the Vee Quiva property, the biggest challenge was the construction schedule of less than five months and the fact that the installation was for a new property, not a retrofit of an existing system.

When timetables are short, projects are always more intense, with delivery times being the most important. SSI was able to work closely with all manufacturer partners to meet stringent delivery timelines in obtaining the original, specified equipment on-time, hence, maintaining the construction schedule. This really helped keep the builder’s timetable and allowed the system to be fully operational prior to the opening.

“Since this was new construction, we had a blank slate to start with, as we worked to meet their rigorous construction schedule, which allowed greater flexibility in design and implementation,” said Bill Young, director of operations at SSI.

SSI’s installation and the quality of the finished product have exceeded the general contractor’s expectations as well as those of the customer.

“The contractor, Tutor Perini, said they were impressed with the speed and capabilities SSI brought to the project, which really helped keep them on schedule,” said Melissa Mount, director of inside sales at SSI. “The engineers we worked with exceeded our expectations, including their vast knowledge of IP-based surveillance and open platforms.”

Casino CEO John J. James said in a recent interview with the Phoenix Business Journal that the Vee Quiva aims “to exceed the expectations of all our guests” with their training programs and “unparalleled experience that will create lifetime memories.” One way the Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino will accomplish this is by offering a secure and efficient property. The security surveillance, when done in alignment with management philosophy and vision, can offer more value to both the resort and its guests.

“The Vee Quiva property is a great example of the innovations available in the security surveillance market today and part of what makes our property a legend in the making,” James said. “This new system exceeds the expectations of Gila River Casinos as it provided all elements required to successfully monitor the enterprise. The system is user-friendly and provides the latest in cutting edge technology.”

SSI and Dallmeier have a current service contract with Gila River Casinos for other properties. The system installed at the new Vee Quiva property will be rolled into the existing contract, which includes proactive maintenance and health checks of all systems on all properties operated by Gila River.

“We need our systems to be reliable, and the service contract really adds to the value of an installation like this because we need the system to be continuously operating while offering the highest-quality video and audio streaming possible,” said Tim Overstake, director of security for Gila River Casinos. “We are confident in the system because we know that it is being monitored for anything that might cause us issues, including availability of transmission paths and signal quality as well as detecting any video signal losses or tampering attempts.”

Integrator’s Advantage

A major advantage of the IP-based system at the Vee Quiva property is the ability to customize systems with different components from various manufacturers to maximize performance.

The system SSI provided was a full, end-to-end, hardware solution that allows for interoperability with third-party cameras through OnVIF 2.0 compliance standards. The system is fully upgradeable and future-proof; there are no limitations on expansion for future growth, including the addition of new cameras. The security system covers the casino, point-of-sale locations, the parking lot and the event center.

“The system was in place in time for Gila River Casinos to open this brandnew casino with confidence and without the stress of trying to learn how to operate a foreign VMS, allowing them to focus on the comfort and safety of their guests while maximizing operational efficiency,” Mount said.

“Making a property consist fully of HD, IP-based cameras allows operators a platform that will streamline operations, helping them spend more time on issues other than technology. It really helped the construction schedule [since] the customer knew what products they wanted, and we were able to work closely with the customer to create a fully-integrated solution that tied the access control and point-of-sale systems together with the video management system.”

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

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