Mohegan Sun's digital evolution

Tracking the path of the Connecticut resort's move to digital video

"The transition from tapes to Verint hard drives in 2002 was the most significant change in our history of surveillance system operations," says Mica Millbach, Security Technology Manager and Information Security Manager with Mohegan Sun. "The 100-percent coverage afforded by the DVRs helps to eliminate dead spots we used to have with the legacy VCRs and DAT recorders. Since then, our security team has been able to perform more investigations, leveraging the same amount of personnel, which has a dramatic impact on our efficiency."

Without the need to maintain extensive tape libraries, the DVRs enabled Mohegan Sun security personnel to focus on more strategic monitoring and investigative tasks. The DVRs also reduced the need to limit video sampling rates, resulting in higher quality recordings. Security personnel could instantly refer to any segment of high-quality video that was captured, which enabled them to respond to security breaches and other incidents in a matter of moments rather than days. It also significantly improved the ability to "connect the dots" and detain perpetrators before they ever left the premises.

"The DVRs made the video data we captured more usable and actionable in real-time," Millbach says. "We can intercept criminal acts as they happen, thereby changing the course of the outcomes."

With the DVRs in place, reliability levels soared beyond the 90-percent mark. Maintenance involved simple system optimization tasks that reduced hard drive failure and ensured redundancy. Failover measures facilitated system continuity, replacing hard drives before any video was compromised. In addition, a RAID 5 storage system was added to archive video data and further increase redundancy.

Maximizing a Mix of Analog and Digital

The next upgrade to the Mohegan Sun security system came in 2006 with the addition of Verint eight-channel digital video encoders. The encoders sit on the network's edge at the point of video capture, where video quality is at its highest. Along with the Verint encoders, the security team deployed a CAT5 cable network for high-speed digital video transport.

"We're now capturing video over two different channels - coax for analog and CAT5 for digital video from the Verint edge encoders," Millbach says. "This enables significantly higher resiliency rates in the event one system goes down."

The dual network approach provides Mohegan Sun security personnel with the best of both worlds. The coax network enables security teams in the command center to instantly call up and switch between any cameras on the network without latency. The CAT5 network and edge encoders capture premium-quality video data that enables investigators to see every detail of a security event. In addition, the CAT5 network and encoders have laid a solid foundation for next-generation analytics applications and megapixel cameras at Mohegan Sun.

Looking Ahead

According to Millbach, the next evolution of the Mohegan Sun digital surveillance system will be to deploy megapixel cameras at key points throughout the casino where one camera could replace several, such as cashier windows. Megapixel technology helps reduce camera count, while increasing performance optimization.

Another opportunity facing Mohegan Sun security is how to take the vast amounts of video data being captured by its surveillance network, and analyze and apply it for business-level improvements. With the help of Verint's analytics, casino facilities can better understand their guests' activities, and in turn, help increase revenue, reduce operational costs, and gain greater insight into guest behaviors. "We continue to leverage the system to help identify trends within our casino and make operational decisions based on that hard data - and look forward to taking those capabilities to the next level," Millbach says.

Courtney Jaret is director of marketing for Verint Video Intelligence Solutions.