Welcome to the melting pot

The 'muni' market sizzles with diverse initiatives and partnerships


Russo said there are various levels of maturity and acceptance of technology within municipalities and cities. "In Chicago, for example, forward thinkers are looking at how to take the information and prevent incidents by examining patterns and trends over time and using data mining and analysis in a proactive manner," Russo added.

Crowd control and remote access

Dublin, Ohio is host to many large events that create an influx of people, including the PGA tournament. The city has a population of 40,000 and that number can balloon to over 70,000 any given day.

Dublin's previous solution to crowd and parking lot monitoring was dedicated police officers on motorbikes. With a new wireless surveillance system, they found the solution of sending a URL to the police force with the live feed of an incident more efficient.

Northwestern Ohio Security Systems Inc., Lima, Ohio, city management and IT staff built the installation on the unified Milestone Systems video management software platform running on the city's IT infrastructure backbone.

Technical Manager John Kostelac of Northwestern Ohio Security Systems said remote access was a key feature for the city and works with its goals to keep citizens safe. "It's seamless and centralized," Kostelac said.

Earlier analog surveillance in Dublin did not provide clear video evidence, so Northwestern opted to install the wireless IP video system. At the central command center at police headquarters, Milestone XProtect Enterprise is running on two HP servers with 14TB storage arrays, a Cisco network infrastructure and about 60 network video cameras from Axis and IQeye megapixel cameras from IQinVision.

"Network mapping and wireless allow us to use the cameras remotely from the central station," said Jay Somerville, Technical Services Bureau Director, Dublin Division of Police.

According to Somerville, as a result of the installation sharing information is a more streamlined process. Police and other city officials have access to the Milestone client interface, with 61 police and 17 dispatch personnel using it to keep the streets safe and secure.
Somerville said it was less expensive to install an open IP video solution as opposed to a 'forklift' upgrade of the analog system. "It's amazing: I saved a significant amount of money because the system ties in everything on one common platform."

In the clouds and virtualization

Cost savings and the ability to grow in the future are top of mind for most cities and municipalities. For the third largest metropolitan area in New York State, the city of Rochester reduced crime by some 80 percent, attributing the drop to its new citywide surveillance system. The drop in crime is also helping to revitalize local businesses.
Rochester deployed Pivot3 Serverless Computing as part of its 100-plus camera system. It leverages six Pivot3 CloudBanks running Genetec's Omnicast video management software.

"The city required a solution with a high level of reliability so that component or server failures wouldn't interrupt the capture of video or access to recorded video," said Paul Zucker, chief technology officer of Avrio RMS, the integrator on the project. "We heard about Pivot3 storage with embedded virtual servers from other municipalities and were convinced that applying virtualization to this environment would provide the high availability and simple expansion the city needed while staying within budget." Avrio RMS Group has protected several U.S. cities with its solutions and also events such as the presidential inauguration and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. It has offices in Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Easton, Md.

Todd McCormack, Rochester Police Department officer, said video surveillance is a top priority for the city. "We have experienced tremendous success and continue to look at expanding the project. We require a storage solution that can easily and dynamically grow over time, enabling the addition of more cameras and extended retention times as video capacity evolves."

The challenges are diverse and growing as cities morph into mega centers. Demographic research points to continued growth in densities in most U.S. cities. By 2040, the population of the U.S. will be 400 million, with 80 percent of the growth in the next 30 years coming from these urban centers.