High School Enhances Security with IP Video
Updating analog surveillance systems to IP-based video is a major challenge facing security professionals, especially in older schools. For one, these buildings lack the dedicated network and power cabling required for IP cameras. Moreover, the cost of new network switches, servers, software licenses and installation can discourage a budget-strapped administration from implementing an upgrade no matter how badly it’s needed.
Fortunately, advances in open platform software and Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras are making the migration to IP affordable in older facilities. A case in point is Sandusky High School.
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, a city of 27,800, Sandusky High School was built in 1957. It is currently home to 1,200 students, making it one of the largest secondary schools in the state of Ohio.
While Sandusky High School does not experience the types of crime pervasive in America’s inner cities, it does have problems typical of high schools such as graffiti, vandalism, fights, and petty theft. Improving the feeling of safety prompted the district a decade ago to install its first video surveillance system. That system consisted of box-style analog monochrome cameras mounted throughout the hallways connected via coax to on-site time-lapse VCRs and video monitors.
In late 2005, Sandusky school officials contacted Northwestern Ohio Security Systems, Inc. (NWOSS) seeking additional performance from their surveillance system. Their goals included the remote centralizing of video storage at the district’s administrative office located a mile down the road from Sandusky High School. In addition, officials wanted the means to view the entire building through multiple camera feeds on a PC or notebook, along with the ability to control camera zoom and panning functions to closely monitor activities. Mindful of privacy concerns, administrators also sought to strictly isolate video access to authorized users only.
John Kostelac, a design technician with NWOSS’s Dayton office, recognized that Sandusky’s goals could not be fulfilled without deploying a new IP-based video surveillance system: “We presented a design proposal that combined Milestone® software running on a dedicated Windows® 2000 server along with multiple Toshiba network dome cameras that supported PoE. The cost of the new system was competitive, even with the added expense of running new CAT 5e wiring.”
According to Kostelac, NWOSS’s “ace in the hole” was a high-capacity fiber backbone recently installed from Sandusky High School to district headquarters. The fiber allowed Northwestern to tie into the district’s remote server through the telecom closet, reliability and cost-effectively.
In all, NWOSS installed fifty Toshiba IK-WR01A IP-addressable dome cameras inside Sandusky High School. Placement of the cameras concentrated on areas officials reported were prone to student problems, such as the weight room, lunch lines and the gym. No cameras were installed inside classrooms. In addition, a single Toshiba IK-WB02 IP camera protected by an environmental housing was installed outside the main doorway to monitor traffic moving in and out of the building.
“The features that impressed me most with the IK-WR01A cameras is that they were vandal-proof, delivered VGA resolution images at up to 30 frames per second and most importantly, they supported PoE,” explained Kostelac. “Anywhere CAT5e cable was run we could put a camera, giving us more flexibility in mounting choices. Also, it resulted in lower installation costs since we didn’t need to put in additional electrical wiring or power outlets, making our bid more competitive.”
Sandusky High administrators immediately recognized the value of the Toshiba camera’s vandal-proof design. The old analog cameras had been tampered with and shoved by students away from their targeted direction. The IK-WR01A has a thick steel body with tamperproof screws along with a break-resistance dome cover, qualifying it for use in areas prone to damage. Lens direction cannot be repositioned except by authorized personnel.
NWOSS choose Milestone XProtect® software to automatically manage the Toshiba cameras and digital image archiving. Toshiba has a strong alliance with Milestone to assure compatibility. NWOSS employees, including Kostelac, were trained by Milestone and are now authorized Milestone technicians.
For information on Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (TAIS), click here.