A combination of Samsung dome cameras and Milestone XProtect software have helped residents of Mulhouse Habitat – and the neighborhood in general – reduce the incidence of drug trafficking and other crimes that had become commonplace in many of the complex’s nearly 100 entrances. PHOTO COURTESY OF MILESTONE SYSTEMS


Many of the residents of Mulhouse Habitat, a social housing complex in Mulhouse, France, are former victims of international violence and degradation who sought a more peaceful and secure haven to make their home.

The group of buildings that make up the complex features close to 100 entrances, which had become problem centers. Delinquents and drug traffickers were able to compromise security by destroying lighting, access control and video surveillance systems – shielding those areas from the eyes of security patrols and outdoor cameras alike, and generally making daily life a real challenge for residents.

Depending on drug traffickers’ day-to-day habits, problems were concentrated on certain entrances more than others. Management had isolated success with their attempts at renovation or installing better lighting, which were often countered with the migration of problems to other entrances. Finally, to provide better security for the property and peace of mind for its residents, Mulhouse Habitat renovated all its entrances and equipped them with new video protection.

Management received subsidies from the Inter-ministerial Fund for the Prevention of Delinquency (FIPD) for the entrance video protection, and from the National Urban Renewal Agency (ANRU) for the replacement of entry doors, mailboxes and intercoms to bring the entrances’ electrical installations up to standard, as well as for repairs in corridors and stairwells. The housing company solicited bids to furnish a new video system with fixed IP cameras, a data transport network and a local storage and processing solution, as well as a centralized management system. French systems integrator Spie was ultimately chosen for the project.

“We answered this tender with top names in video surveillance: Milestone, the world leader in open-platform IP video surveillance software, and Samsung, renowned for their high-definition and megapixel cameras that integrate numerous functionalities based on Samsung processors. Spie responded as a complete solution provider with video surveillance, electricity and intercoms,” said Steve Lohr, Spie’s sales manager for security.

Spie deployed the system over the course of 2012. It is a scalable solution based on specifications that required expandability to allow for the later addition of at least 25 percent more cameras and 30 percent more capacity for data processing and storage without additional cost other than new cameras and any necessary wiring connections.

Cutting-edge Technology

One hundred thirty-four cameras were installed over 31 entrances, each of which features one outdoor camera with infra-red lighting that records only the intercom plates and front of the entry hall. Other cameras were installed inside and in elevators. Spie chose Samsung SNV-508R vandal-proof fixed-dome and SNV-5010 flat-dome cameras, both offering 1.3 megapixels and 720p HD progressive scanning in H.264 format. Housed in solid cast-aluminum cases with polycarbonate domes, they are resistant not only to vandals but also to dust and water splatters.

Thanks to 15 IR LEDs, the SNV-5080R domes are effective in the dark and feature a motorized variable-focus glass lens. The flat SNV-5010 domes have a fixed lens with a wide field of view, making them ideal for use in elevators. Both models offer SSDR extended dynamic range, BLC back-light compensation, SSNR III noise reduction, and integrate intelligent video analysis algorithms for detecting scene changes, line crossing, entering/leaving a zone, and appearance/disappearance of objects.

The buildings under surveillance are scattered, with very few near the recording and processing locations, so cameras were connected to a fiber-optic network, which had already been in place for parking lot cameras. The on-site cameras are connected through network switches, and cables are protected by metal or armored ducts.

Spie chose Milestone based on its ability to work with a large number of cameras and devices in the network, ensuring system expandability, and for its strong performance in large installations with multiple servers. The software optimizes bandwidth usage by reducing the amount of data throughput in the network. Continuous recording is performed by the Milestone XProtect Enterprise software running on Windows-based servers installed in a secure bay. Video is set to be retained for two weeks and then automatically deleted.

Another factor in Spie’s choosing XProtect for the project was the ability to quickly find an event in recorded video, saving a lot of time and allowing operator resources to be better allocated to surveillance. Additionally, transfer of encrypted video evidence to CD guarantees image authenticity is fully supported, and XProtect includes a software viewer that enables police to use or share images easily.

Pooling Resources

Mulhouse Habitat now features a full-service surveillance center, which can only be entered through an access control-protected airlock chamber. The center is managed and operated cooperatively by a non-profit organization created by the three neighborhood housing companies, several tenant associations, the board of a neighborhood condominium, and the city of Mulhouse – ensuring 24/7 monitoring of viewing screens.

Through a combination of integrator experience and leading technology, the Spie/Samsung/Milestone solution best answered the needs of the housing complex and the clients have been very happy with the system.

“The new video surveillance system fulfills our expectations. The visibility is optimal by day as well as by night; the viewing angles are sufficiently wide. The Samsung vandal-proof domes are solid and fit well into our environment. The image quality is fantastic and allows us to see precisely by zooming into the image. When we had damage, it was possible to recognize the people quickly. And thanks to the functionality of the XProtect software, we can easily export the images and save time,” said Philippe Alves, operations manager at Mulhouse Habitat.

Residents of the neighborhood have also been very happy to have the cameras, and feel more protected as a result. They are gradually reclaiming the common areas, restoring a sense of safety and security. Crime has been reduced, and the security operation serves as an example of the efficiency of a combination of human surveillance teams and technology. As a result of the success of this project, Spie will soon begin installing systems at another 13 entrances.