Minnesota School District Upgrades Video Cameras
Like most school districts around the country, officials at Becker Public Schools in Minneapolis were horrified by what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012. Almost immediately after the incident, the district began a multi-step security upgrade. They started with locks and intercoms, but quickly turned their attention to the aging video surveillance system.
“We were really looking to expand our camera system following Sandy Hook,” said Sumre Robinson, network manager for Becker Public Schools. “It wasn’t necessarily to increase the numbers of cameras, but to eventually be able to provide access to the cameras to police in an emergency situation.”
As the network manager, Robinson also wanted to take advantage of the school district’s campus network system and make things simpler for the principals and other staff that would be using the cameras.
“We were looking for internal end user simplicity,” she said. “We wanted our principals, building and grounds directors to be able to easily find what they were looking for without necessarily reaching out to the tech department. We were trying to make them more self-sufficient.”
Robinson turned to local integrator Security & Sound Co. for help in choosing and designing the system. The integrator had already helped them with their intrusion system and was the logical choice to continue with this project.
“We proposed a multiple-phase installation using Hikvision surveillance cameras in order to minimize video downtime and ensure the campus was continuously covered as the transition to complete the IP video system progressed,” said Phil Otto, CFO, Security & Sound, St. Bonifacius, Minn. “Our previous installation experience with multiple school districts, our installation approach as well as the value and functionality of the Hikvision product line ultimately lead to Security &
Sound Company procuring the campus-wide contract.”
The school district already had a number of cameras, ranging from analog (many of which were beginning to fail) to IP cameras from another manufacturer. But Otto and the Security & Sound team felt the Hikvision cameras would give the district not only the best coverage, but also the best range of choices that fit within the budget.
“One of the issues commonly found in budget-conscious school district facilities is the lights go out after events and school activities have ended,” Otto said. “We needed a camera line that would not only fit the budget but also provide a crisp image in complete darkness. Hikvision had several IP cameras to choose from that required no light to operate and provide a clear image utilizing built-in IR. There were also a number of design challenges both indoor and outdoor that required a small form factor, vandal-resistant dome cameras, bullet and PTZ cameras. Hikvision has a full range of IP cameras in each of the categories we were looking at.”
In fact, Robinson said the Hikvision cameras were not only better for the budget, they were better cameras than even the newer ones the school district had before.
“It is incredible the difference in the clarity. And we were able to add more cameras than we originally planned because the camera cost was far less than we were expecting.”
The night vision aspect was also an unexpected bonus. This was something the district didn’t specifically ask for, but that added a great deal of benefit, Robinson said.
“As with most schools, the Becker School District had concerns about their parking lot surveillance coverage and video capabilities after dark,” Otto said. “We recommended Hikvision’s DarkFighter line of PTZ cameras in key outdoor areas where evening lighting was an issue but color video was desired. Hikvision’s DS-2DF8223I-AEL 1080p PTZ camera was chosen to cover the parking lots due to its color lux rating of 0.002 and built-in tour and auto-tracking features. The camera’s low-light capabilities coupled with the ambient light from the parking lot allow the camera to stay in full color at all times regardless of cloud cover or inclement weather.”
The installation itself was done in stages and went very smoothly, Robinson reported. “The first stage as far as cameras was to have good visibility on exterior entries. That was our first priority. Security & Sound was fantastic to work with. They configured the design, located the cameras, and did all the wiring. Phase two was upgrading interior cameras that were not IP and expanding coverage.”
Because the cameras were motion-activated, students were literally “disappearing” down the hall with the old system because the motion sensor thought no one was there, she recalled.
Security & Sound had to assign several technicians to accomplish the installation in a timely manner, Otto said. “One of the benefits with the Hikvision product is that the user interface of the cameras is the same regardless of whether the camera was selected from the Value or Professional Series. We worked closely with the district’s IT department configuring and programming each camera individually in order to assign it to a specific role. Our technicians did not have to learn a new interface moving between camera types, which helped us immensely as the installation progressed.”
The user interface also benefitted the IT department, Robinson said, as she has been able to add or move cameras using internal resources to save money.
“Security & Sound installed the cameras, but it is very easy for me to go in afterwards and put a camera in an area,” she said.
The next step for the district will also be an internal process and one that will complete the original mission — to allow police to easily see what is going on at the school in the event of an emergency.
“We are trying to organize the cameras internally so that at a glance they are in a specific order they can see without having to look at a blueprint,” she said. The goal for that last piece is fall 2016, she added.
As for Security & Sound, the integrator remains committed to anything the school district may need as its needs change over time.
PROJECTS in the News
Tyco Integrated Security recently installed a video-enabled exit lane breach control system designed to help automate security at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The Houston exit lane breach control solution uses analytics technology and door control integration to alert airport officials when an object or passenger tries to enter restricted areas. In such a scenario, an alarm will sound and a warning light will flash, and the event will be captured and recorded by the system’s security cameras.
“We’re thrilled to assist George Bush Intercontinental Airport with this cutting-edge Exit Lane Breach Control and Containment System,” said John Gaydos, vice president of Tyco Federal Systems, Tyco Integrated Security.
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Dahua Technology USA announced that its products are now protecting people and property at Hsi Lai Temple. Located in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, it is the largest Chinese temple in the United States.
The video surveillance system at Hsi Lai Temple, originally installed in the late 1990s, was outdated. Hsi Lai Temple officials turned to Alex Wu, CEO, Wise Star International in Irvine, Calif., who has been providing security integration services to the temple for many years. Wise Star technicians installed more than 100
Dahua video surveillance products, spanning some 15 acres of outdoor space and 100,000 square feet of indoor buildings.
“First and foremost, the priority was to provide a secure environment for visitors to the Temple,” Wu said. “We were particularly focused on the parking lot and walkways, to ensure safety for the public. Another concern was the ability to access playback for essential functions such as safety and video management.”
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MorphoTrak, a subsidiary company of Morpho (Safran), will provide 50 ruggedized LiveScan Jumpkits to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). MorphoTrak will partner with solutions integrator SNAP Inc. to outfit CBP with the portable, climate-hardy kits.
The LiveScan Jumpkit is a solution for biometric acquisition in austere environments, and can be transported and used in military operations and natural disasters.
CBP will use the Jumpkits at U.S. borders to capture fingerprints and face images from visitors to the U.S., and enroll them in a database as current visitors.
“The Jumpkits will provide CBP agents with an enrollment solution that is reliable and functional in a wide range of challenging conditions,” said Steve Vinsik, MorphoTrak vice president, criminal justice and public security.
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Millworks Custom Manufacturing in Toronto, Canada, installed a complete security solution using Tyco Security Products’ DSC PowerSeries Neo to integrate a wireless intrusion system throughout its custom millworks facility. With more than 250 employees and a 24-hour operation, Millworks Custom Manufacturing occupies more than 140,000 square feet of custom manufacturing and warehousing space, which in certain areas reaches up to three stories high.
As a result of this new security solution, the custom manufacturing company is able to monitor who is coming in and out of the building more effectively.
PowerSeries Neo has the ability to transmit through thick steel barrier walls, across parking lots and throughout the expansive building. This security solution consists of wireless repeaters, full message wired keypads for the main office as well as a full message wireless keypad that is placed in all the main employee entrances.
With integrator partner All Seasons Security, Millworks Custom Manufacturing has 58 zones of coverage. “The power of PowerSeries Neo, including its range and capabilities, made this the ideal solution for a large project such as this one,” said Hardy Deifel, president of All Seasons Security. “And there was a real sense of satisfaction that it all came together so well.”
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John W. Antonetti, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, and Clinique Dallas Plastic Surgery selected IDIS technology to provide an enhanced, state-of-the-art security experience for patients and staff.
IDIS worked with Alarm Integrations, a PSX Inc. security company, to develop and install a surveillance system to enhance staff safety and accountability, increase the practice’s quality assurance, and further enhance the physical security of the practice’s patients. IDIS and Alarm Integrations crafted a solution that is easy to maintain and easily scaled up for future expansions without unexpected cost or security disruptions.
“IDIS’s latest-generation solutions and forward-thinking approach aligned perfectly with Dr. Antonetti’s own reputation for modern, forward-thinking approaches to care,” noted Keith Drummond, senior director of sales for IDIS America.
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Boon Edam Inc. announced that the Chick-fil-A restaurant, located in historic Cameron Village in Raleigh, N.C., has “broken the mold” of its typical store design and installed a Boon Edam manual revolving door as the main entrance to the restaurant.
The distinctive Chick-fil-A restaurant features outdoor dining at street level and on a second-story patio with a view of the Raleigh skyline. The store also has a large atrium and a two-lane drive-thru. Generously proportioned walkways converge on the southwest corner of the building, leading up to a Boon Edam TQM revolving door.
“We’ve got restaurants now in 42 states across America, and I can tell you, there’s only one Cameron Village,” said John Featherston, senior director, new ventures, Chick-fil-A, Inc. “It is distinctive and special.”
“The best design is intuitive. You can have a sign that says ‘Welcome’ and that’s OK, but an entrance should be intuitive like this design and our revolving door. The Boon Edam entrance has fit perfectly with our design concept, and it has exceeded our expectations,” Featherston concluded.
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NewPointe Community Church, headquartered in Dover, Ohio, deployed 3xLOGIC Intelli-M Access Corporate access control at four church locations across northeastern Ohio.
“In our environment, there are a number of people who need to use the system, including volunteers, who don’t have any experience with access management software,” said Dave Mast, technical operations director for NewPointe Community Church. We wanted the best technology out there, but it had to be user-friendly.”
Mast and his staff have been self-installing the 3xLOGIC system for just over a year. After initial installation, they now migrate locks onto the system as opportunity and need arise. “I’ve been nothing but satisfied with the 3xLOGIC system and quite satisfied with the support we’ve received. Any issues we’ve had, the 3xLOGIC folks have been great. Everything we’ve installed works well; we have the reliability we need and overall we’re very satisfied,” Mast said.
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The 2013 Alberta flood caused more than $5 billion worth of damage to the region. One Calgary resident chose to rebuild, turning to local technology integration firm K&M Systems to reconstruct his home automation system around a new ELAN controller.
Completely rewiring the basement and first floor of the home, K&M Systems owner Mike Auld built and installed an advanced security system that goes far beyond door and window locks. “Because this home was flooded, we automated the water valves,” Auld explained. “Now, if the water or irrigation alarm goes off, it automatically shuts the water off in the house.”
K&M Systems decked out a media room with Sunfire CRS3 Cinema Ribbon Trio speakers and Sunfire Subrosa subwoofers surrounding a 65-inch TV for an immersive viewing experience. K&M Systems also installed a 103-inch screen into the movie room, offering a complete oasis to watch TV shows and movies connected through ELAN.