IP Case in Point: Wireless to the Rescue

Installation solves unique challenges for City of Savannah in time for its St. Patrick's Day celebration


Advances in video surveillance and IP-based network cameras are opening doors to wider adoption. Municipalities and government agencies, along with transportation, education and retail industries are not only implementing sophisticated IP-based network systems because they increase public safety and security, but these advanced systems also provide greater scalability and flexibility, enabling companies and organizations to expand their surveillance capabilities as their needs and environments change. Wireless networks are just one of many advancements changing the landscape of IP surveillance.

As indoor and outdoor IP surveillance networks within buildings and city centers are becoming more common, companies and organizations are finding that non-wired solutions are increasingly appealing. Wireless solutions offer financial benefits, increased functionality, greater flexibility, and are typically quicker installations than more traditional wired installations. The combination of these benefits was exactly what the City of Savannah, Ga., needed as they faced a difficult installation due to time constraints and tricky environmental obstacles.

 

Savannah Charm Turns Into a Challenge

The City of Savannah exudes old Southern hospitality with its historic town squares, colonial homes, cobblestone streets and lush foliage. Unbeknownst to many people, the features that create so much of the town's charm presented great challenges to local police, who wanted to install a surveillance system for the city's upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Savannah is home to the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States , welcoming more than 700,000 people into the city to experience age-old traditions of song and dance. While thousands of residents and visitors were coming to enjoy the city's picturesque landscapes and renowned celebrations, city and public safety officers were focusing on IP surveillance efforts in order to keep danger at bay.

Savannah presents a challenging environment because of its marshy coastal lands and low-hanging trees in addition to several canals, which run throughout the city to alleviate flooding. Savannah is the state's oldest city with limited power sources, older building structure and buildings that vary in height. These unique set of circumstances posed unique difficulties when the city was considering installing a surveillance system for the 2007 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

 

A Solution With No Strings Attached

The city's public safety officers decided to install a temporary wireless IP surveillance system to increase public safety during the celebrations and help public safety and emergency personnel police the streets more effectively. Savannah officials first started using network video solutions in 2004 when the G8 Summit was held in the city; however, the system was considered impractical due to the slow speed of cable modems and the limitations on where cameras could be installed because of older city layouts and streets. A wireless surveillance system was a much more practical solution for the city because of the speed with which they needed to have their surveillance system up and running and because of the scalability it provided officials who could change the system easily for future events.

There are two categories of wireless communication, Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and wireless bridges.

WLAN are designed to work over short distances and generally indoors including indoor gathering places like community centers, sports arenas and large office spaces. WLANs work best in these types of locations because it allows for the installation of cameras without having to run additional cable through the walls and ceilings. In addition, WLAN systems make a wireless surveillance system within a facility, such as retail outlet, highly functional. Cameras can easily be moved to new locations on a regular basis without having to pull new cables with each change, making it very flexible.

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