What they gained by waiting for the technology that best fits their needs was the ability to have truly user-friendly documentation and the ability to quickly access the video information they need.
"We've had incidents where oversized vehicles have entered the parking garage and knocked the video out of the ceiling," Germundson says. "We can now locate that vehicle, and when the person comes back, they get a notice that they owe X amount for damages. Finding and using video evidence on VCRs is difficult. You can't share information as easily. It's a lot more cumbersome. It's not usually worth the time, so people would avoid doing it."
The System in Use
The system today features 800 plus fixed or pan-tilt-zoom cameras. Live and recorded video is available on a network of fifty-four (54) DVRs where camera views can be pulled up by authorized personnel, in a prioritized manner.
All these components work together to make up a cohesive system that meets the unique needs of MSP Airport. In 2003, the airport served 33.2 million passengers making them the 7th busiest airport in the world. In the same year, J.D. Powers & Associates rated MSP as the third best airport in the world.
"If we are looking for an individual, we can quickly gain access to the video information," Germundson says. "We also have a graphical user interface. We can easily find the right camera to use if an individual went down a specific concourse. We can see an incident to determine what happened. If there is damage to property, we can locate the video and see what caused it."
Of course, no system is perfect, and almost no installation goes off without a hitch. Over the years, there have been desired improvements, some of which could only be remedied as technology itself advanced. The Kollector Elites are a prime example.
The original DVRs had a 440 Gigabyte hard drive. "The ones we had originally had too little storage for our needs," Germundson says. "They did not give us enough recording time. We weren't really able to fix it except as time moved on and Vicon provided larger storage capacities." The current DVRs contain a 1.2 Terabyte hard drive.
Going forward, MSP has plans to continue the expansion of their system. "We are possibly looking at things like perimeter detection, maybe incorporating software-enhanced video, which we could set up so if a person crossed a certain location in a certain direction, it would trigger an alarm," Germundson says. They are also talking to Vicon about adding additional storage capacity to some of the older Kollector Elites they have.
"The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has had the benefit of a powerful camera security system that has incorporated new innovations as they have become available as a result of progressive efforts by many people over time," Hagen says. "There is a team of people involved that have had the vision to stay ahead of the curve. That is what it takes."