Las Vegas (ISC WEST, Sony Booth # 22025, OnSSI Booth # 21049) March 28, 2012 – The Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) in Bakersfield, California, is nearing completion of an enterprise-wide video surveillance upgrade standardizing on Sony IPELA network surveillance cameras deployed in an easy-to-use system built on OnSSI's Ocularis video management software (VMS) platform. The installation covers 41 school sites over a 158 square mile area with approximately 28,500 students enrolled at the Junior High School, Middle School and Elementary School campuses. The District's 41 schools comprise the largest elementary district in California. Altogether, over 2,000 Sony cameras will be installed at completion including fixed-angle, PTZ and mini-dome models. OnSSI's Ocularis CS video management software provides user-friendly access to video views in a system that is easy to operate despite its scale.
BCSD's network administration staff has handled primary installation and integration tasks. While carrying out most of the hands-on work, the BCSD staff has relied on support from Bassett Sales Corporation, Sony's Southern California-based manufacturer's representative firm, and XIT Solutions, a local Value Added Reseller that helped with the initial layout of the project.
"Bakersfield City School District is a textbook case of how Sony network cameras deliver an exceptional performance and value to schools," said Mark Collett, General Manager, Sony Electronics' Security Systems Division. "Our cameras working alongside OnSSI's Ocularis system, for command and control in an investment for BCSD that delivers safety as well as savings."
While the primary function of the Sony surveillance video is to ensure the safety and security of the student body, the benefits extend far beyond this. In addition to helping to solve campus conflicts and theft, the system has also significantly reduced facility maintenance costs related to vandalism.
"We are definitely seeing a drop in the number of problems experienced at our facilities as a result of the surveillance systems we have installed," said Steve McClain, Chief Business Official, BCSD. "Fewer problems translate to fewer dollars having to be spent fixing or replacing equipment and that is a great thing."
Moving Forward from Analog to Network-Based Security
The new video surveillance system replaced a largely uncoordinated analog system that was installed to address ad-hoc issues on individual campuses. With the arrival of pointto- point fiber optic interconnects between campuses, the ability to create an end-to-end network-based system running over the district-wide network became practical.
"While we had some legacy analog surveillance installations, we now have what is essentially a ground-up IP-based system," said Jeff Minor, Network Administrator, BCSD. "We needed the flexibility that IP-based systems offer so we could manage the system properly according to our changing needs through the school year."
The decision to standardize on Sony IPELA surveillance cameras was based largely on the company's reputation for reliability today and tomorrow as well as the ease of maintenance provided by working with a single vendor for this key aspect of the new system.
After coming to closure on the equipment, the task of rolling-out the system district-wide has taken place over several phases. Initially, standard-definition cameras were specified. Now, High Definition Sony IPELA is the standard. Particular models, including the SNC-DH160 vandal-resistant HD mini-dome camera, are an excellent combination of value and performance. The DH160's built-in infrared illuminators have proven invaluable to providing nighttime visibility. Meanwhile, overall system-wide improvements like upgrading the network to take advantage of the camera's power over Ethernet capabilities have gone forward.
"Working with a long-established, reputable vendor gives us a great deal of confidence that we will be well taken care of as we maintain the system and add improvements over the years ahead," said Minor.
Centralized or Decentralized Management as Needed
One of the key factors in opting for a network-based video surveillance system at BCSD was the flexibility it provides. The operation of the system caters to the changing demands throughout the school year. With OnSSI's Ocularis, the multitude of campuses are under local watch when school is in regular session, and centralized management from the district office provides immediate access to any camera view, which is especially helpful in the summer when many of the campuses are not in use. On each campus, principals, deans and/or campus supervisors can access video using the Ocularis Client software, which is intuitive and easy to use. Ocularis also simplifies review of archived video for investigations or just to clarify what happened in a questionable incident. Such flexibility means that the physical plant remains secure while reducing staff time needed to operate the system.
"Being able to operate the system from the district offices is a tremendous advantage for us. Obviously, being able to reduce staff to a minimum during downtime is essential, and this gives us the tools needed to not sacrifice security during those periods," Minor said.