Medstar Harbor Hospital upgrades to Sony IP Cameras

MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, has upgraded its analog video surveillance system to an HD IP system utilizing  Sony SNC-DH280, SNC-DH120 and SNC-RH164 HD IP cameras, as well as Sony encoders to convert some of the facilities’ legacy analog cameras. OnSSI Ocularis video management software serves as the head end for the system. The upgrade went into operation is 2012 and has proven itself effective during the past year.

“These improvements to our security system help us make better use of our resources so we can provide a quality, caring experience for our patients, our communities, and those who serve them,” said Jill Donaldson, vice president of operations, MedStar Harbor Hospital. “Adopting such innovative technologies is in keeping with one of our core values that we embrace change and work to improve all we do in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Kipp Visual Systems, a Sony Security Preferred Reseller (SSPR) and integrator based in Baltimore, designed and implemented the HD IP upgrade. Roland L. Catterton, director of sales/security engineer, says that Sony cameras combine features, image quality and value that appeal to his customers before and after a sale.

“Sony’s extensive camera lineup gives us the building blocks to create the right solutions to match our client’s needs. They have the technology and performance needed to have a safe and manageable environment,” said Catterton.

For Mark Collett, GM, Sony Security Systems Division, pacesetting features like View-DR dynamic range enhancement overcome challenges that leave blind areas in coverage with lower-performance cameras to get the job done.

“MedStar Harbor, like any hospital, has unique needs. The SNC-DH280’s wide dynamic range functionality is essential. View-DR cuts through the glare of strongly backlit areas to show details that other technologies cannot. These fit in well alongside the SNC-RH164 PTZ high resolution and zoom capabilities. The SNC-DH120 cameras round out this solution by combining quality and value


Catching the Action in Challenging Scenarios

According to Ray McDonald, chief of security at MedStar Harbor, the Sony IPELA upgrades deliver a fundamental improvement to the legacy analog equipment. 

“This goes beyond the upgrade to HD resolution. The overall image quality allows us to have a much better grasp of what’s happening where.  We work in a challenging environment, surrounded on three sides by parking lots.  We regularly look out to places that are brightly backlit where the glare can blind us. Now we can look through that to pick out facial features that had been a shadow,” said McDonald.

For McDonald, the Sony camera’s capabilities enhance safety and also day-to-day operations. The clarity of the images provided by the new system serves as a force extender that makes better use of staff.  This allows security personnel to clearly see situations, and when necessary, dispatch personnel to take care of them.

The system also aids with typical management issues. For example, guests on the campus occasionally park in fire lanes and block ambulance entrances. This is a safety and a quality concern for the hospital.

“We regularly check who is parked where.  It had been hard to recognize drivers because of the glare.  Now we cut through that and see their faces. When someone puts their car in the wrong place, we can recognize them and handle the situation quickly,” he said.

McDonald, a 15-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, says that the success of the Sony IP cameras also makes MedStar Harbor Hospital better prepared should a catastrophic event strike the region.

“Our emergency planning protocol includes a centralized command and control center where crisis managers must have a grasp of what’s going on outside. If our courtyard becomes a triage facility, the managers need to be on top of the situation moment-to-moment. How many are seeking help?  How many ambulances are rolling in? Where should we deploy our resources to put them to best use?” said McDonald.

“These upgrades to our surveillance system give us across-the-board improvements every day, and make us better prepared for worst-case scenarios. This investment fosters a sense of safety, saves us costs and can protect lives in a catastrophe,” McDonald said.