Atlanta has a resident population of over 420,000, and it hosts more than 35 million visitors per year. Ensuring safety and security of citizens and visitors is key to the city’s success and progress. As with many large cities, Atlanta is becoming more reliant on visual intelligence to identify and resolve security incidents faster and more precisely.
Over the years, Atlanta invested in surveillance systems to provide law enforcement and security professionals with visual intelligence well before first responders had arrived. Most recently, the city upgraded aging analog cameras to digital, and moved from a leased line to wireless backhaul. In Atlanta, as it is across the country, government agencies are working to increase public-private collaboration, increasing the effectiveness of surveillance.
The most cost-effective method to increase the visual intelligence available to government agencies was to create a shared Video Integration Center (VIC). The challenge was the disparate nature of the video system, which was mainly based on both analog and IP proprietary technologies. The city also wanted to take advantage of many private cameras — adding to the complexity of bringing all systems onto a common platform.
The system needed to offer common controls for all video sources, enabling operators to seamlessly move, for example, from a camera located on a downtown street, to one located in a shopping mall, to one located in a bus station. Additionally, it was a requirement to instantly distribute and share this intelligence to all relevant stakeholders, enabling rapid response. Finally, due to the anticipated range of agencies — each with specific requirements for visual intelligence — meant a method was required to provide each with the administrative control and privileges they needed.
To aid city officials in the technology selection process they enlisted the services of Ciber Inc., which recommended Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) software, in the form of IPSecurityCenter from CNL Software. The system could provide the resilience and scalability needed to connect, manage and distribute the huge amount of data generated by the city. The system connects the diverse range of systems onto a common operating platform. The system gives the Atlanta Police the capability to integrate public and private video systems and video with computer-aided dispatch (CAD) into an integrated suite of emergency dispatch applications. Each new camera added from the private sector — such as stadiums, transit stations, malls and convention centers — increases effectiveness of the system, increases public safety and saves the city money. It is a compelling return on investment for all agencies involved.
The massive amount of video coming into the VIC would be impossible to manage without the PSIM system’s ability to intelligently catalog, map and visualize the right video at the right time. The software’s compliance workflow engine ensures the execution of standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as the city’s major incident and event management policies. Following an incident, when seconds count most, the system enables camera images to be rapidly accessed and allows PTZ control in less than 41ms. Armed with situational awareness, operators respond to incidents with greater accuracy and can ensure the most approriate response.
The system provides rapidly deployable, role-based interfaces, which can be defined by user type or workstation, providing operators and key task masters with clutter free interfaces with only the resources they need to manage events and incidents for optimal results.
Every agency has their own need for management information and reporting. The system provides an enterprise-level reporting engine, automating and delivering effective reports and statistics on overall system performance, device availability, operational effectiveness and any of the SOPs defined by the city.
As with any enterprise-level system, there is a constant need to expand the system, both in terms of the number of users, geographic coverage and new functionality. The software allows an easy migration path to incorporate new technologies such as gun shot detection systems, tracking systems and smart video such as LPR and analytics.