Never a Gamble
Borgataâ€™s security and surveillance personnel keep watch over the massive facility with a highly sophisticated video surveillance and security system designed and implemented by North American Video, Brick, N.J. The system features more than 2,000 video cameras strategically located throughout the facility and parking areas. The cameras are controlled by two Pelco CM9760 matrix switching systems.
In essence, there are two video systems deployed at Borgata. A 1312 x 64 matrix system is located in the surveillance departmentâ€™s control room and a 896 x 16 matrix system is installed in the security departmentâ€™s control room. The surveillance system employs the majority of the 2,000 cameras installed at Borgata to monitor and record all activities in the gaming areas and locations where cash is handled. The security video system is deployed to monitor the hotel and spa facilities, shopping and dining areas, back of the house areas, building perimeter and parking facilities.
Cameras connected with CAT5 are generally longer camera runs ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 feet. These cameras are connected using Nitek Active Hubs, which allow the transmission of real-time monochrome and/or color video over UTP telephone wire. The interference rejection ability of the Nitek Active Hubs allow video signals to co-exist in the same wire bundle as telephone, data or low-voltage power circuits.
The Designers & the DesignThe massive video surveillance and security system was designed by North American Videoâ€™s engineering staff in conjunction with Richard Billington, surveillance equipment manager for Boyd Gaming, and Greg Schaaf, surveillance director at Borgata.
â€œWe approached this project in a unique manner â€“ with me being located in Las Vegas and Greg Schaaf on-site at Borgata in Atlantic City,â€ Billington says. â€œWe had been working on a general spec with consulting engineers about a year before a security systems integrator was selected. After reviewing several integrators, we selected North American Video because we felt they were best qualified to be our eyes and ears on this massive installation. This was a management consideration as much as equipment purchase decision. From our initial discussions, it was clear that we were all on the same page.
â€œI started working with Rich Billington approximately three years ago on the initial camera layout and system design,â€ Schaaf says. â€œWhen construction started, we worked very closely with the contractors and construction crews, but most of this was coordinated by North American Video. Their team put together the actual system layouts from the architectural plans and generated the CAD drawings for the matrix systems well before we were on-site.
â€œThings really started to kick in from September 2002 through July 2003 when we entered the installation phase. There are about 4 million feet of cable in the video system alone, which is just phenomenal. And even with the changes, North American Video was great â€“ they handled the pressure extremely well and met all our expectations. With that kind of team behind you, it helps make life a lot easier,â€ Schaaf says. The hundreds of miles of cable required to connect all the cameras were installed by Petrocelli/ Palmieri Electric, who worked closely with North American Video throughout the project.
â€œThe biggest challenge with the security and surveillance installation at Borgata evolved around the size of the system and camera placements,â€ Schaaf says. â€œOn paper everything looks good, but then you have to deal with the reality of getting camera signals from point A to point B, while making sure all the cameras are located in the best positions and the lengths of the cable runs donâ€™t exceed performance requirements.
â€œI canâ€™t emphasize the importance of planning when working on a video security and surveillance system for a new facility of this magnitude. We were fortunate in the sense that we did not make significant changes. The installation went pretty much as planned by North American Video. In fact, they were finished with the installation well ahead of schedule, so we had ample time to get the system up and running smoothly,â€ Schaaf states.
Overseeing FunctionalityMichael Schultz, director of security at Borgata joined the staff in June 2002 to assemble and manage the facilityâ€™s security and fire command staff.
â€œIn addition to our security operations, fire command is responsible for the life safety systems at Borgata, which assures the well-being of every patron and employee that enters our facility,â€ Schultz says. â€œIn addition to the video system in our control center, we monitor all of the system equipment for the elevators, escalators and fire alarm systems. It entails monitoring basically everything throughout the building and its perimeter.â€
Diane Petrone is fire command center manager at Borgata, responsible for the daily operations of all the departmentâ€™s systems. The fire command center is the central monitoring point for all the non-gaming areas and all the life safety systems in the building. The center houses more than 140 VCRs that continuously tape images 24/7/365 from every camera in the video security system. The staff changes tapes every 8 hours, which amounts to approximately 3,150 tapes per week.
In addition to command centerâ€™s video capabilities, Petrone and her staff monitor sensors on Borgataâ€™s 45 elevators and nine escalators. â€œWe also we have excellent camera coverage in our garage, and cameras monitor the electric gate that we can control from the command center,â€ Petrone adds.
â€œOur people have been on the site every day for almost the past two years while installing the system, through training and now in a continued support role,â€ says Ron Freschi, director of large systems sales at North American Video.
Given the high volume of traffic at Borgata, there has been little time to rest for the facilityâ€™s surveillance and security staff, but Schaaf and his staff are assured that North American Video is on hand to help assist them with every aspect of their video surveillance and security systems needs.