East Carolina University Adopts IP Surveillance

Oct. 27, 2008
System enables easier monitoring and network management

East Carolina University is making the complicated task of monitoring a college campus more manageable through the use of IPELA networked IP security cameras from Sony. The university has installed a network of hundreds of Sony security cameras, including the SNC-DF70N and SNC-RX550N models. The video is recorded onto the university’s numerous NSR-100 network surveillance recorders.

According to Charles Peele, technology consultant with the Student Affairs Office of Technology Services, the school’s conversion from analog to IP has enabled easier monitoring and more intuitive network management. “Previously, we had a lot of analog cameras and DVRs all running on an independent fiber network,” Peele says. “They were run over fiber back to our campus police department and into a matrix switcher. So really the only people who could monitor them were the PD. We did not have the ability to load a client onto someone’s machine and let them monitor the cameras in their area.”

According to Peele, ECU’s goal was to implement monitoring and surveillance capabilities across the campus, in very specific locations. For example, residence halls were a priority, to keep track of visitors and residents, as well as administrative and classroom areas.

With the cameras now in place, Peele and his team can now feed signals back to campus security, but, as he described, depending on where they’re located — to the cashier’s or registrar’s office, or admissions.
“We still have the campus police department monitoring the cameras, but when you have more and more cameras, one or two people cannot effectively watch them,” Peele says. “The more eyes that can watch the cameras, the better your chances of either catching something in the act or preventing something from happening.”

The IP technology has enabled the school to leverage its current network infrastructure. “It’s more cost-effective to use our campus network as opposed to running a separate fiber network,” Peele says.
Additionally, the IP technology can be more easily deployed and repaired. “With analog cameras deployed over a large campus, when something stopped working you would have multiple components to test and troubleshoot between the camera and the viewing station,” Peele says. “There were just so many things to check, with costs for any one of these components running into the thousands. Now, for just the cost of the cameras, they plug into a port on our existing network and it is transmitted along with everything else.”