California water company adds 24/7 surveillance with new cameras
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Apr 01, 2015
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
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.”
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
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.