Hospital Campus Secure
- By Mary Wilbur
- Sep 11, 2015
University Hospital, the teaching hospital of San Antonio's University Health Systems is a sprawling campus in the South Texas Medical Center, and one of the health system's 23 locations across the community that needed the latest security technology.
The Bexer County Hospital District, doing business as University Health System has been tech-savvy for years, and it shows as they are a nationally recognized teaching hospital, and consistently recognized as a leader in advanced treatment options, new technologies and clinical research. With this type of recognition for medical efforts, the hospital, which is owned by the people of Bexar County, wanted a complimentary security system.
"There are currently more than 1,400 cameras being used at our sites," said AJ Sandoval, Bexer County Hospital District chief of police. "We are currently transitioning from analog to all IP cameras as the need to install or replace arises. These cameras area an invaluable tool, which allows us to offer a higher level of safety and security to the patients, visitors and staff who choose to use University Health System for their healthcare needs."
Over the course of 20 plus years, the university's Protective Services department has worked with access and video technology that was quickly becoming obsolete. The technology was not user friendly and was not easy to integrate with additional components. Upkeep of the older technology was becoming costly and no longer of value. During a recent Capital Improvement Project, the need to grow and address growing pains was addressed, with the idea in mind that the facilities needed to build, in stages, a new system.
Meeting these technical expectations also meant hiring an integrator who knew how to get the job done, right, and had their own support to back them up.
University Health System awarded the contract to Walker Engineering of San Antonio, who had recently been named as a commercial integrator of the year, and has recently been awarded three contracts; valued at more than $20 million each. The University Health System contract included more than 1 million square feet and was worth more than $44 million. University Health System also wanted an on-time delivery of its security system, and a successful collaboration with Datacom Design Group, who was the technology systems consultant for University Health System.
Walker Engineering's Matt Kenjura, who was the integrator, knew that getting products on time meant using the right technology. He ordered 600 Axis Communications cameras, 800 HID Global card readers and the Software House CCure 9000 for access control. At the front end of this technology, he deployed Salient Systems' CompleteView VMS.
"Because this is a publicly funded project, one of the first things we wanted to do was buy local," Kenjura said. "In the case of VMS, we have a long history with Salient, and we feel the end user will find an ease of use with this configuration."
A major project goal has been transitioning from existing analog cameras to new IP cameras. Salient CompleteView was a perfect fit because of its hybrid architecture, allowing for a connection of analog cameras without requiring the purchase of third-party encoders. This hybrid capability provided another major economic benefit beyond the cost savings on encoders; when switching out analog cameras for new IP cameras, the hybrid analog port on a CompleteView NVR can be converted to an IP camera license without purchasing additional software licenses.
"One of the key benefits of CompleteView is the ability to use software licenses regardless of whether a camera is analog or IP" said Brian Carle, director of product strategy for Salient. "Once a license is purchased it can be used regardless of the camera technology in place, providing the best total cost of ownership in VMS when transitioning from analog to IP."
One of the very important features of the VMS is the ability to aggregate the technology with the Cinemassive Video wall. This allows command and control operators to view various locations in real time and provide much needed pre-arrival information to officers responding to calls for service. The operations center has teams around the clock.
Dynamic Resolution Scaling, a feature of CompleteView VMS, allows offsite camera video feeds to be transmitted at the highest possible quality using the lowest possible bandwidth to the command and control center. Officers can respond to security events more efficiently due to fast call up of high quality video feeds.
The combined solution also provides integration between the video and access control systems. The integrated systems provide superior situational awareness as compared to using both systems independently. In the CCURE interface, video and events from CompleteView VMS are automatically tied to access control events, allowing for visual verification. Events from CCURE 9000 cause CompleteView to automatically call up video on screen calling attention to key camera events in the command and control center.
The command and control center is literally the center of intelligence at the medical facility, including air conditioning, fire alarms and infrastructure. Mostly, however, it is about making sure people are secure in this setting.
"The mission of the Bexar county Hospital District Police Department is to maintain social order and provide professional law enforcement and security services to our community, within prescribed ethical, budgetary and constitutional constraints," Sandoval said. "We are always mindful that our agency exists to protect and enhance the healthcare delivery process."
Hundreds of thousands of patients and visitors pass through University Hospital and the ambulatory facilities every year. Some may be unfamiliar with the facilities, so police officers and security ambassadors offer hospitality, care and kindness that the health system is known for.
"This service is enhanced with systems, like Salient, designed to assist in delivering professional public service," said Sandoval, who has more than 35 years of experience in law enforcement and in the corporate environment.
He said that being able to integrate the essential public safety components in combination with the ability to develop positive relationships in this diverse environment is something he has developed with his experience.
Like the chief, Kenjura believes when he is asked to integrate new security equipment, this requires best of breed solutions.