At the Mesa Grande Cultural Park in Mesa, Ariz. (part of the Arizona Museum of Natural History), history is revealed daily for the many archaeologists, historians and visitors who explore the active excavation site each year. The ancient Hohokam people built and used the Mesa Grande platform mound between AD 1100 and 1450. It served as the public and ceremonial center for one of the largest Hohokam villages, a residential area that extended for over a mile along the terrace overlooking the Salt River. Mesa Grande was one of the two largest temple mounds of the Hohokam, and offers a rich look into the life and traditions of an important native group in what is now the American Southwest.

Though preservation efforts protected the Mesa Grande mound from the ravages of modern development, the site is tightly situated amidst a residential subdivision, healthcare center, and an industrial development, posing a variety of safety and security challenges for the active archaeological site and the staff and visitors who spend time there. In recent years, the semi-seclusion of the walled and fenced site, and the nature of the priceless cultural mounds and excavated water canals have proven a lure to trespassers, including dirt bikers inflicting immeasurable damage to the ancient site.

In addition to damage inflicted by trespassers and vandals, trash and litter were frequently dumped at the site — particularly at night — and multiple incidents of vandals stealing and using equipment, including golf carts associated with the active archaeological dig, further placed one of the area’s most important cultural legacies and the work conducted there at risk.

“There are few responsibilities more important than understanding and preserving the cultural legacies and traditions of those who came before us for current and future generations,” said Dr. Jerry Howard, curator of anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History and director, Mesa Grande Archaeological Project. “Protecting these historic treasures from modern-day challenges is made easier and effortless with virtual guarding and comprehensive surveillance.”

To meet these challenges and ensure the overall safety and security of the site for workers and visitors, the city of Mesa sought a virtual guarding solution that would be able to address each of the Mesa Grande Cultural Park’s unique security needs.

San Kim, director of virtual security services division for Scottsdale-based Surveillance Acquisition Response Center (SARC), who crafted the virtual guarding solution for the Mesa Grande site with ICU Security Group, explained the value of virtual guarding to meet many modern security needs: “The emergence of high-tech virtual guarding as a powerful and cost-effective alternative to traditional manned patrol approaches a direct realization of the promise seen in the security industry’s most innovative and high-performing technology. Virtual guarding is the successful leveraging of guarding and security expertise, matched with the right technologies to move beyond mere ‘remote monitoring’ to true, comprehensive guarding.”

Kim’s SARC uses highly trained security professionals with extensive law enforcement, military and security technology background as operators, to deliver a proactive guarding solution that leverages critical expertise and carefully cultivated relationships with clients and local law enforcement. To protect the Mesa Grande site, the city of Mesa commissioned a state-of-the-art 24/7 virtual guarding solution from SARC, powered by IDIS surveillance technology.

“IDIS was an ideal fit to the SARC’s technological standard,” Kim said. “Partnering with IDIS allows SARC to effectively meet the needs of our clients, decreasing costs while increasing reliability, functionality, and their own operators’ positive user experience. IDIS technology offers a level of simplicity and ease of use that has reduced installation times, decreased training requirements for clients and SARC operators alike, and helped make SARC’s security solutions for clients more affordable over the long term. The uncomplicated, intuitive nature of IDIS technology better allows SARC to focus wholly on delivering world-class virtual guarding to our clients, including the city of Mesa.”

With an on-site installation of more than 14 IDIS cameras, SARC and the city of Mesa are now empowered to monitor nearly every part of the ancient site. Leveraging an IDIS solution consisting of cameras, NVRs, and the IDIS Solution Suite VMS, SARC operators are able to detect, observe, document, and deter would-be vandals, trespassers, and others engaged in potentially harmful activity. The solution’s comprehensive coverage provides further protection of the site’s workers and visitors through the monitoring of overall site safety and security and the detailed documentation of relevant events, while reducing the costs of traditional guarding solutions.

The installation of the SARC virtual guarding solution has already resulted in substantial benefit for the caretakers of the Mesa Grande Cultural Park. On a nightly basis, SARC operations center operators identify and deter potential threats to the site using IDIS technology and SARC’s remote “voice down” protocol, which informs would-be bad actors via loudspeakers that they are under live surveillance and should cease-and-desist immediately.

Since the go-live of the IDIS-powered SARC virtual guarding solution, the Mesa Grande Cultural Center has eliminated the types of vandalism, trespass, and desecration of the ancient site it experienced prior to the adoption of the security solution.

“Our staff, visitors, and site are safer, and we are able to focus on the work at hand, knowing the site’s security is in good hands,” Howard adds. n


PROJECTS in the News

As a progressive retailer, A.C. Moore is always keen on implementing processes and technologies to keep its stores up-to-date and its customers happy. So when Steve Werner, director of loss prevention, was brought onboard, he went straight to work on identifying areas in which to improve processes and refocus resources on the customer experience.

With the help of systems integrator IK Systems Inc., A.C. Moore chose the Genetec Security Center unified platform, which includes video surveillance, access control, license plate recognition and other key business systems within one intuitive solution. A.C. Moore was interested in the cloud-based services offered by Genetec such as the POS Cloud plugin and Federation-as-a-Service; especially after some estimations showed that to host a POS application on premises would require almost $1 million in hardware and licenses, plus ongoing maintenance.

“Investing in the Genetec platform and the POS Cloud plugin was not just about loss prevention and reducing shrinkage; it was a business investment for A.C. Moore,” Werner said. “With Security Center unified platform, we can add integrations such as analytics down the road to keep improving the customer experience. We are committed to this solution and our programs, and glad that we have the right partners on our side.”

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Milestone Systems is playing an instrumental role in Vienna Technical Museum’s special exhibition titled, “Future of the City.” Milestone, together with partners Sony, SALTO and ESSECCA, were the perfect solutions for illustrating not only what is possible today, but also hinting at new video applications for smart cities of the future.

One exhibit uses a Sony fisheye camera recording a 360-degree image and a four-screen display installed with Milestone software. Guests can directly play with the camera controls or users can handle a touchscreen to zoom in to the surroundings. There are also real-time statistics counting people entering the exhibition areas.

“For video monitoring and equipment in Vienna Technical Museum, XProtect Corporation solution from Milestone Systems was used as it offers open IP video management software,” explained Michael Reiner, authorized officer at ESSECCA GmbH. “Hence, an integrated solution with various external systems is how we have the greatest possible flexibility.”