Securing Every Parking Space

Industry Vertical

Securing Every Parking Space

When you’re at work, there is someone watching your vehicle

Chances are, when you picked a parking place this morning, you weren’t thinking about security in that facility. Thankfully, however, there are those people who think about everything, including providing a secure environment in a parking garage.

The New Haven Parking Authority proudly serves the people of New Haven, Ct., and its visitors with more than 8,000 economical public parking spaces at the Air Rights, Crown Street, Temple Medical, Granite Square and Union Station garages. They also secure numerous surface parking lots conveniently located in downtown New Haven, and in surrounding residential neighborhoods.

It is a good chance that security is top of mind for New Haven parking officials. Garages offer weatherprotected, covered parking, and many are connected to the facilities they serve. Garages are regularly patrolled by New Haven Parking Authority security officers trained to look for potential problems including vandalism and public disturbances.

“Our security team has spent hours going over the system we planned to install,” said David Panagore, the executive director of Park New Haven. “Our goal has always been to provide the folks in New Haven with increased technology and better security in our parking lots.

“The number 1 priority for us was to upgrade the systems that were not working and update the old analog system. The Air Rights parking facility is next door to Yale Hospital, and that’s where we started with the new IP cameras.”

In order to protect the investment in existing Axis Communications cameras, and to ensure the quality of the video, Park New Haven relied on its security consultant, Al Palumbo, to recommend the right VMS to carry the load. He recommended and installed Salient Systems CompleteView.

“Air Rights Parking Garage was looking for a product with an intuitive interface because it was important for their users to be highly productive right away,” said Brian Carle, director of product strategy at Salient Systems. “Access to no-cost online training was also a key consideration, which allows Air Rights to get new users up to speed on system features and capabilities rapidly.”

Palombo, principle at DVS Security Consulting & Engineering, wanted to make sure that Park New Haven was able to modernize all their parking facilities with a best of breed product. He also said choosing a camera and VMS was a team effort with people at Yale Hospital and at the consulting firm.

The Air Rights Medical facility provides about 2,600 parking spaces, most of which are taken by staff at the hospital. Park New Haven manages around 9,000 spaces citywide. The garage itself has been operational for many years, and DVS Security has been working on the garage for decades. In this particular case, DVS engineers designed the drawings and specifications to implement the cameras, and suggested what VMS system should be used to power the video traffic.

“We believe what we have installed brings added value to the customer,” Palombo said. “There are command centers at both the hospital and at Park New Haven, which allows all buildings to be integrated and communicating with each other.

“The automated systems provide remote operating capability, and it allows the parking and security to work together with the guidance systems. The system provides a high level of security without a massive work force. One person can do the job of many and get very good results,” he said.

System scalability and administration had been key concerns for Air Rights. Salient’s CompleteView has a health monitoring and centralized administration tool that allows operators to see the camera, NVR and user status for the entire system on one screen.

“Performing system administration and updating for all NVRs and video viewing clients centrally is another benefit which dramatically reduces time, system maintenance tasks and the complexity of software updates,” Carle said.

Park New Haven also upgraded its emergency call system, installed an integrated guard tour system, included Axis thermal imaging cameras for reliable detection in darkness and other challenging conditions, and now relies on a dedicated security network system.

Emergency call system: This was a wholesale upgrade of the call system from an analog system to a full IP digital solution, which included bright, LED illuminated lettering and a customized stainless steel, weatherresistant enclosure that the enlarged to ensure prominent display.

Access control: A new Software House access control system integrates guard tour features to provide guard tour safety routes with the access control system, instead of using and maintaining a separate system.

Thermal imaging cameras: For sensitive areas requiring video surveillance in very low light locations and to reduce vandalism, burglary and false alarms, Axis special thermal imaging cameras were used.

Dedicated security network system: In order to support the large amount of data produced by the video, access control and intercom and emergency call systems, a dedicated security network system was designed, including a Cisco core switch.

Using CompleteView, Dynamic Resolution Scaling reduced load on the network when transmitting live video.

“Dynamic Resolution Scaling also reduced load on the client systems displaying live video in the video monitoring room,” Carle said. “The net effect: video call up is faster, the system is more responsive and they are better prepared to respond to security events in real time.”

Real-time activity is crucial in this setting, though Park New Haven has never had a critical emergency in the garage. It could be because DVS recommends their customers employ the best of breed equipment, and it could be due to their experience designing security systems for such high-profile buildings as the World Trade Center, the President Bill Clinton Library and the United Nations, among others.

In choosing a VMS to power the security system, Palombo said he took a very long look at Salient Systems and found it simple to follow and easy to use. He said it was a very straight forward installation, and that, while it integrates with all major camera manufacturers, CompleteView has an especially deep integration with the full Axis line of network cameras.

“We’ve been designing for the security needs of Park New Haven for the past 30 years,” Palombo said. “We use the best equipment for the job, and we expect those products to be reliable and provide what the customer needs and wants.”

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

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