"With our new system, we want a single solution for all video surveillance used throughout the campus," Rice says. "We will be using the VMS and IP cameras we select to set our standard."
Another obvious advantage to the IP migration was the ability to deploy high-resolution cameras in key areas. "We wanted to have the availability to capture megapixel images when needed, and that is very difficult to provide in a DVR environment," Rice says.
Finally, a key consideration was the IP surveillance system's ability to integrate with the University's existing GE (Casi-Rusco) access control system. By doing so, the campus would be able to start creating a total, integrated surveillance solution that brings together disparate hardware left over from legacy systems and lets all the pieces communicate, not only together, but with other security systems. Ultimately, in addition to surveillance and access control, it could be integrated with other systems, including fire and intrusion and building systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
For example, once smoke is detected cameras start rolling, doors unlock, digital video recorders record in high resolution and security managers are alerted via PCs, PDAs, pagers or text messages on their cell phones.
"We're trying to move into a true, open-platform program - one that is favorable to our IT department, integrates all brands of cameras on campus into a single best-in-class solution and does not limit us to one manufacturer," Rice says. "With such a system, we will be better able to help provide increased safety for our students and staff and provide a better return on our surveillance system investment, both now and in the future."
The migration process is being done in stages. Upon selection of the VMS, Rice and his team will build a platform, create storage areas and launch the software.
To standardize surveillance equipment throughout the campus, an important attribute of the VMS and all other components in the new IP system is that it integrates with university police clients. "We do not want a variety of DVRs, each with its own operating software program," Rice says. "That creates problems for the university police system. Admittedly, during migration, we will be running two systems; however, that is a big difference from running 10. In all cases, the system that is running will be transparent to the police on the ground."