Archiving Security

Archiving Security

When moving to a new headquarters four times larger, the School of Information and Communication of the University of the Republic of Uruguay in Montevideo needed to implement a video surveillance system that provides high quality, reliability and accessibility

The University wanted to implement a robust VMS with good video storage capacity that included alarms and notifications for motion detection or perimeter crossings in order to control potential external and, most importantly, internal theft. It was essential to integrate the system into an existing network infrastructure to meet the established budget that did not include new coaxial cable installations.

The Existing Infrastructure

The school and security integrator decided on Milestone Systems XProtect Professional VMS software plus cameras from Digital Watchdog DWC-PB2M4TIR and Vivotek IP9181-H.

School security staff wanted a versatile and easy to install in a virtual computerized system. It does not require dedicated equipment (standard IT hardware works fine) and the interfaces and access levels allow the user to easily implement an optimal monitoring center. The alarm panel provides quick identification of events and sends night-time alerts via SMS to the mobile number designated for each shift.

The administration of the system is simple and it comes with XProtect Smart Client, a display interface that works in desktops or Milestone Mobile that manages video from smartphones and tablets. Milestone allows the integration of cameras from a very wide range of manufacturers and offers a complete metric analysis.

Early in 2017, the School of Information and Communication (FIC) was inaugurated at the University of the Republic of Uruguay (Udelar). The university’s website announced that the new headquarters aimed to strengthen the core mission of the school created in 2013. It regained a large space that went unused for decades and part of the senior living facility, Asáma Dámaso Antonio. It is a structure of 8,500 square meters and four floors that house nearly 4,000 students, 200 teachers and 80 administrative and logistics staff on a daily basis.

Inside the Building

In addition to classrooms and administrative offices, there is a large and modern library, audio and video recording rooms and an advanced television studio. With the presence of such modern technological investments in the property, the concern about theft and damage increased, due to the high traffic of faculty, students and visitors that could access the control and monitoring of the equipment and devices.

“The new headquarters greatly increased the vulnerability points for security,” said Yonathan Benelli, IT manager at Udelar. “Without a system like the one now implemented, it would be unfeasible to maintain an acceptable level of security.”

Benelli adds that despite the need for a professional video surveillance system for the educational institution, “It was unthinkable to carry out a CCTV installation with coaxial cabling due to its high cost. Therefore, the installation of the Milestone IP video management system within the existing IT network infrastructure versus performing a coaxial interconnection resulted in a very significant cost reduction.”

The savings were not only in technology acquisition, but also in hardware and human resources.

“We estimate that without this system, we would have needed at least four added employees dedicated to surveillance. Also, we took advantage of existing hardware to implement virtualization,” Benelli said.

A Custom-made Solution

Foxsys, the company managing the technology integration for this project, proposed the implementation of Milestone’s XProtect Professional solution. It is an open interface application designed for IP video management software with easy, intuitive and powerful functions.

The Smart Client interface has advanced search tools that combine with an easy-tonavigate video timeline, allowing users to quickly and accurately examine events. It also offers sophisticated export options, including the Storyboard feature, which helps consolidate relevant video evidence to gain a complete view of incidents.

“The software was selected because of the systems notifications which were important in this application,” said Juan Martín González, commercial director of the integrating firm.

He said the solution was complemented by two virtual machines that operate on an HP server and are managed by the software Promox, which proved highly reliable. Digital Watchdog cameras were used.

“In particular, the DW cameras allowed us to have a 180-degree panorama of some specific areas and other cameras were extremely useful because Milestone recognizes the algorithms of crossing a perimeter line that run in the camera,” Gonzalez said. “From there, we fed the alarm panel, thus reducing the need for central processing. For the communication, a data network was implemented on Cat 6 UTP and HPE POE 1920 switches. In terms of storage, we used the NAS QNAP brand with eight bays of 4TB each, implementing a raid 5 for more protection and writing speed. We were surprised how well Milestone worked on a Proxmox virtual machine.”

Countless Advantages and High Satisfaction

For the administration of the system in general, twelve people were trained over two days. “Everyone quickly understood XProtect Smart Client despite having little previous experience—some had worked with a rudimentary analog solution before. The system operators were very satisfied with the interface and its excellent performance in terms of quality and frames per second,” González said.

For the institution, the advantages of this implementation are numerous. Benelli indicated that the virtualization implementation allows them to immediately have a copy of the server data at the moment a network failure should occur, minimizing the loss of security video and avoiding hours or days waiting for the replacement of hardware or software.

The benefits, as Benelli points out, are countless and include: the capacity to manage multiple cameras simultaneously; comprehensive remote monitoring; end-user event search functionality; more advanced recording and navigation settings; easier role definition and permissions management of user accessibility.

“The implementation was a success in every sense, not only from the point of view of the service provided by the system,” Benelli said “But also by the guidance, suggestions and labor that the company provided beyond the installation and configuration, in which all the required and additional goals were met.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.

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