Cape May County, New Jersey, has deployed Qognify VMS, an open architecture enterprise-class VMS that delivers low total cost of ownership, business process support, advanced ecosystem integrations and cloud readiness.

Cape May County is the southernmost county in the state. With much of the county along a peninsula that includes 30 miles of sandy beaches, its 95,000 year-round population swells to almost one million during the summer months. The Cape May County Government is responsible for the operation, safety and security of the county, including sites such as its airport which is also home to the Department of Emergency Management, the sheriff's department, superior court and jail, the Cresthaven Nursing Home and the Cape May County Park & Zoo, which attracts as many as 15,000 visitors each day.

With sites spread out across 267 square miles, the county’s surveillance challenge was how to manage a growing network of highly distributed surveillance cameras that are required to be live 24/7, to help keep residents, workers, visitors, the government’s 1,200 members of staff and its infrastructure safe and secure. A complication is the need for some cameras to be located rural and low bandwidth areas.

“Every camera needs to be fully operational and recording non-stop, anywhere the public might be, from the play areas in our zoo to libraries, airports and courts,” said Dan Gilbert, network administrator at the County of Cape May. “Our video management system (VMS) is essential to the performance of the entire network.”

Cape May County’s 600 cameras are all IP and predominately from Axis, with a small number from Sony and other manufacturers. These cameras are connected to 11 NVRs and consume in the region of 2.5 petabits of storage, with all footage being stored for a minimum of 60 days.

Qognify has been trusted to meet the Cape May County’s video management requirements for more than 10 years, Gilbert said. “We visited a nearby utility company to learn about how it was managing video surveillance and we were impressed with what we saw. The fact that the NiceVision solution was trusted for the surveillance of its nuclear power plants instilled us with the confidence to use the same solution.”

In the years since, Gilbert has evaluated a range of other VMSs, but has always preferred Qognify, moving from versions of NiceVision to VisionHub. “We want to be sure we have the best system and are delivering the best value for money to the government,” he said. “I have tested many other VMSs and even earliest iterations NiceVision would outperform many of them.”

The latest upgrade began in early 2022, when the county became one of the first organizations in the world to deploy Qognify VMS. Gilbert noted a big performance advantage of the new system, which has already been deployed across two of the six sites. “One of the biggest advantages that Qognify VMS provides is that we can control everything from a single console,” he said. “The video configurator, administration and ability to view live video is now all in one place.”

Gilbert also commented on the smoothness of the Qognify VMS, especially in light of the video networks’ bandwidth challenges, with the county operating an Ethernet virtual private line, and bandwidth speeds as low as 20MBPS in some areas. 

Qognify VMS functionality includes bi-directional integrations with access control and intrusion detection systems, as well as video analytics. And as bandwidth increases across the county, it has the option to store video data in the cloud using Qognify Cloud Bridge to reduce its hardware footprint and add resiliency and scale to its already significant storage requirements as needed.

Given the scale of the county’s infrastructure it has taken a phased approach to upgrading to Qognify VMS, moving site by site. The full transition to Qognify VMS is expected to be completed by the end of year, while the county is also increasing the number of cameras in operation.