Seeking Surveillance

California water company adds 24/7 surveillance with new cameras

Protecting critical infrastructure is essential to ensure public safety and the preservation of life, property and assets. Our nation’s reservoirs, once a destination for social gatherings, family picnics or just a daily jog, have been deemed “off limits” over the past few years as they are potential targets for terrorism. Despite monitoring systems put in place to detect chemical agents in our water system, the first line of defense is to keep individuals from entering reservoir properties altogether thus eliminating the chance of contaminating water supplies.

A Watchful Eye with Clear Vision, 24/7

Faced with this same dilemma, one of the largest water treatment facilities in California had turned to video surveillance to help officials protect the vast grounds surrounding where water is stored for public consumption. The existing analog systems provided adequate quality video during daylight hours, but could not deliver the resolution and accuracy required for 24 hour surveillance. Without installing some form of fence line protection system, the need for cameras capable of seeing in the dark soon became a priority.

To compensate for the cameras’ nighttime deficiencies, facility management looked into IR illuminators, but soon realized that the power requirements would require a massive overhaul to the system’s entire infrastructure. Additionally, the cost of the illuminators ran into tens of thousands of dollars, plus the installation material and labor costs to install them. After initiating a test, it was quickly determined that adding illuminators was too expensive of a fix that yielded marginal results at best.

The Ideal Solution

Samsung’s SNP-6200RH PTZ dome camera – nicknamed the Spider Cam – features a 20x optical zoom, full HD image capture, and built-in IR LEDs for nighttime viewing at distances up to 100 meters (328 feet) along with a host of advanced built-in analytics for advanced system operation. The camera’s unique IR function illuminates objects by focusing the beam as the camera zooms, resulting in clear imaging in total darkness. Its noise filtering and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology delivers a S/N ratio of 60dB for superior image quality and dual H.264/MJPEG compression algorithms ensure effective bandwidth utilization. The camera produces full HD1920 x 1080P resolution for exceptional HD images.

The ONVIF compliant SNP-6200RH is also weatherproof to IP66 standards as well as IK10 vandal resistant and can withstand temperatures ranging from -50°C to +55°C. In addition, Spider Cam is designed with Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to facilitate ease of operation even in remote areas like the water treatment facility’s tank farm.

According to the Project Manager in charge of the project, “the difference between the existing cameras with illuminators and Samsung’s fully integrated Spider Cam was like day and night. It was phenomenal. The infrared and optics were so good we could see the tips of the barbed wire on our fence that was approximately 70 to 80 feet from the camera.”

Measurable ROI

After a cost analysis, it was determined that in order to achieve the coverage provided by one Samsung Spider Cam with the built-in IR illuminators, the facility would have to install a fixed four panel illuminator that consumes four times the power consumption. This would also require that everything from infrastructure to power supplies to conduits would need to be upgraded to support the fixed infrared illuminators.

With the Samsung Spider Cameras, the only change in the system infrastructure was to upgrade the wires from the existing power supplies to the cameras. Further looking in to the Samsung portfolio, the SNF-7010 360° fisheye cameras will be added to the system to further enhance overall awareness at the tank farm facility.

According to the Project Manager in charge of the project, the Samsung Spider Cams provide the unique capability to cast light everywhere the PTZ points. To do this with conventional PTZ’s, you would have to have the entire 360° focal range of the camera illuminated in order to see in pitch darkness.

“The technology (on the Spider Cam is exceptional,” said the facility’s project manager. “I’ve been in the professional security industry for over 20 years and it’s exciting to see that Samsung built these cameras with all the right stuff – and deliver more bang for the buck than competitors’ cameras with fewer features.”

Samsung is also working closely with Genetec in delivering a great system solution, which was another deciding factor in awarding this project.

The cameras are monitored in three different locations which require three streams from each camera. Streams are transmitted to the locations via encrypted microwave signals or via fiber. Cameras are viewed on a video wall with 40” flat screen displays in a 3x3 configuration at the central monitoring location.

Proactive and Preventive Measures

As a result of the clarity of the cameras, the security staff at the water treatment facility is able to take a proactive approach towards incident prevention. If they see someone approaching the fence, a patrol service member is dispatched to assess the situation. Security personnel don’t wait for an intruder to get in, they stop them before they can enter the facility.

A Partnership Built to Last

Aside from the superior features offered by Samsung’s cameras to meet the surveillance needs of the water treatment facility, the organization’s project manager —who designed and installed the system—has been equally impressed with Samsung’s customer service and his sales rep’s frequent outreaches to keep him abreast of all of their new offerings.

“Samsung takes the initiative to stay in touch with us so we are up to date on the latest and greatest solutions available. The relationship we’ve built with Samsung is very unique and it will be long-lasting,” he said. “When the President of the Samsung Security Division (Mr. Ahn) comes out to your site in person to meet with a customer, it speaks volumes.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Security Today.

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