Chicago's Brookfield Zoo Turns to Milestone IP Video Surveillance

OCTOBER 2005 - The Brookfield Zoo is using the newest technology with an IP network video surveillance system, installed by Current Technology Corporation, to ensure safety and security throughout the grounds.

Crowd control, accidents, and other security-related incidences are all issues that this large metropolitan zoo manages. Widespread areas have to be covered, and an older analog surveillance system was not practical for planned expansions. That is why the Brookfield Zoo decided to use their IT network backbone to run Milestone IP-based surveillance software, which allows easy scalability and the flexibility to add or move cameras around for different exhibits and events.

The Brookfield Zoo is just outside Chicago, and has 2 million visitors yearly coming to see more than 3,000 animals. 450 employees work full-time, and another 1,000 are hired every summer to handle the upswing in attendance at that time. Special events are held throughout the year, which bring especially big crowds. A busy day can have 20-25,000 visitors on the property, which covers a total of 216 acres.

The zoo has its own police force of 20 trained and commissioned officers, who are also EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). They have a fleet of cars and golf carts for getting around the grounds quickly, including the big parking lots located by the South and North exits.

Ensuring safety and security for these large areas is now much easier with more virtual eyes from the network surveillance helping them handle incidences faster. This kind of pro-active approach to security is exactly what ensures that the zoo is a safe and enjoyable place for families, friends, students and tourists - not to mention the animals themselves.

"We were putting up new buildings at the zoo and looked at different security options. Everyone seemed to be going the network way, and Current Technologies convinced us with their expertise and flexible solution. The main selling point was the flexibility to add new cameras anywhere and be able to easily move them around. It's also good to have the recorded images for resolving any issues that could come up," says Jack Howe, Captain of Security and Emergency Medical Services at Brookfield Zoo. "We're always adding new exhibits and holding events, so the new video surveillance solution is really good for being able to grow along with us."

The zoo wants to put up cameras on different animal exhibits, which can be moved around anytime to highlight an 'Animal of the Month' and to show those images on the zoo's website. The cameras would also allow viewing of animal behavior at night: the zoo's Animal Programs Department has professional zookeepers who are interested in using the surveillance as a tool in their work to monitor animals.

Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance software is operating centrally on a standard PC running Microsoft Windows, managing Sony model SNC-DF70 network cameras, installed and fully supported by Current Technologies Corporation.

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