OnSSI Secures 2008 Political Conventions (Case Study: OnSSI)

Security in any form always has that underlying message of “you’re being watched” whether it comes in the form of a surveillance camera, a security guard or simply using an access card at a business site. Insert the discussion of security at a political function and the topic takes on a whole new meaning. The year 2008 witnessed the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. With both events behind us, both cities continue to enjoy the benefits of video surveillance systems installed by On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI), Pearl River, N.Y.

Covering the masses with the right video
   The duplicated system, which features advanced video management and control software from OnSSI, was designed and deployed by Avrio Group to meet the video needs of over 60 federal, state and local government agencies during the political conventions. Now, these systems continue to provide Denver and Minneapolis-St.Paul with citywide video solutions that have the flexibility to be reconfigured to adapt to each city’s short-term event needs.

   The surveillance systems deploy OnSSI’s IP video surveillance management software to control the approximately 100 wireless video cameras that were installed for the conventions, as well as providing control for the legacy analog systems that were in place. Included in the software functionality is the capability to view, manage and record video from an unlimited number of IP and non-IP video surveillance cameras installed throughout the cities. This capability has allowed the cities to bring together video surveillance images from numerous locations and agencies, within the respective city, to a single, unified video surveillance system. The video can then be partitioned and routed to command centers throughout the city and/or to specific parties of interest, based on event occurrence.

   According to Mark Jules, Avrio Group’s president of Business Development, because of the nature of the events, the system needed to accommodate hundreds of simultaneous users. In order to effectively meet this requirement, they had to custom-build a Web server that would act as the dashboard for the OnSSI video management software.
   “Each of the federal, state and local agencies involved needed access to the system and in total there were over 300 authorized users,” explained Jules. “And access wasn’t limited to the central command and control center site. We had users accessing the system from substations, at mobile command and control stations, from individual police vehicles and from federal agency Mobile Agency Command Center locations. With all of this activity, we never once had even a single failure.”

   Further enhancing functionality during the conventions, the OnSSI software platform allowed authorized users to manage the storage of video as well as correlate and fuse video and non-video events and/or alerts which could then automatically be delivered to viewers of interest. For example, if an alarmed door exit at the convention center was breached, video of the unauthorized entry/exit could be automatically “pushed” to pre-selected monitors or command centers, enabling authorities to immediately view the incident and then take the necessary action.

Increasing the view for St. Paul
   In keeping with these requirements, the turnkey solution that was designed for St. Paul had several viewing stations, including one in the city’s mobile command and control vehicle as well as in the central command and control room which was equipped with the OnSSI touchscreen-controlled video wall.

   Additionally, the OnSSI software allowed the “pushed” video to be viewed at both hardwired and mobile command centers and thereby broadened the potential incident response activity by providing the responding agency with actual “eyes at the scene.” The OnSSI IP video management solution also allowed Avrio Group to easily integrate the video system with other security systems such as access control, a variety of sensors and video intelligence. Because of this open architecture and the non-proprietary protocols, future technologies and system enhancements such as gunshot detection can more feasibly be adopted and integrated with the existing system.

   Along with the OnSSI IP video management solution, another significant factor in the design of both cities systems was Avrio Group’s PoleCam; a single plug-and-play device that contains a high-resolution camera, wireless transmission device, provided by Firetide, and all electronic components needed to install the unit on a pole or building. Incorporating mesh, point-to-multipoint and microwave technologies, the PoleCam solution allows for total flexibility, including the ease of camera relocation and the ability to allow the video to be viewed from mobile devices while at the same time being controlled via the OnSSI software. According to Tim Lynaugh of the St. Paul Police Department who oversaw the project for that city, the surveillance system needs were very specific both for the Republican National Convention and going forward.

   “It was important that the solution be capable of delivering real-time, fluid, high resolution video but still have the flexibility to be re-configured as our needs change,” explained Tim Lynaugh, St. Paul Police Department. “The solution also must allow for video to be collected from and pushed to moving vehicles and mobile devices.”

Installation in the west
   The Denver installation, where the initiative was called the High Activity Location Observation (H.A.L.O.) system, was implemented not only for the Democratic National Convention but as an integral component in the Denver police department’s crime reduction strategy to further improve overall safety and security for the public.

   “The system has exceeded our expectations, allowing us to provide high-quality video to over 60 federal, state and local government agencies throughout the Democratic National Convention, yet provide a video solution that will serve the Denver community for years to come,” said Lieutenant Ernie Martinez of the Denver Police Department.

   Like the St. Paul solution, the system in Denver required real-time, fluid, high resolution video that could incorporate wired and wireless cameras and be viewed, controlled and archived from multiple fixed and mobile locations by multiple users.

Avrio’s solution incorporated OnSSI and fulfilled the video management and control aspects of these installations because it is an open-architecture, non-proprietary, video-centric software platform that allows the user to view, manage and record video from an unlimited number of IP and non-IP video surveillance cameras.

   “OnSSI’s IP video management solution enables users to manage video storage and non-video events/alerts resulting in automatic delivery of specified video to subscribers of interest,” said Jules. “The combination of these features results in a video management solution that delivers the large-scale functionality of traditional matrix switching systems with all the inherent benefits of software-driven management and control. That is exactly what we knew was needed when we designed the systems for Denver and St. Paul.”

Feeding the need for the future
   “In both cities it was important to provide a solution for the immense security requirements that resulted from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, yet at the same time, provide a system that would meet the needs of the respective city long after the delegates left town and the conventions were history,” said Jules. “Avrio’s Polecam solution, utilizing the OnSSI system management solution installed in each city, addresses the future.”

   The functionality of the OnSSI software simplifies even the most complex operations with true scalability and an open platform that alleviates previous issues related to integrating users’ preferences for various hardware devices and software enhancements. These are systems that will take Denver and St. Paul into the future, economically and technically.When the DNC was over, two cities had top-notch surveillance systems to provide secure municipalities.


Politics Aside–the Pluses and Perks

OnSSI’s IP video surveillance management software
•           Features capability to view, manage and record video from an unlimited number of IP and non-IP video surveillance cameras.
•           Features open architecture design allowing for integration with other security systems.
•           Non-proprietary protocols.
•           Delivers security needs in real time.

Avrio Group’s Polecam
•           This plug-and-play device features a high-end camera, wireless radio and electronic components for installation on a pole or building.
•           Allows for video to be pushed or pulled, to or from moving vehicles while maintaining high throughput.
•           Allows for integration with other security solutions including license plate recognition, gunshot detection and video intelligence.
•           Features compact design and offers scalable solutions to fit the application.