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With thousands of commuters every day, Washington, D.C. metro police had a difficult challenge - monitor and secure the stops, and subway cars, on the city's public transportation system.
So the department recently invested in several security upgrades including a new Security Operations Control Center where they can monitor video surveillance cameras, radio communications, security alarms, fire alarms, and chemical detection systems all in one location.
The difference having a centralized security headquarters made as evident almost immediately. Chief Ron Pavlik says that in 2015 alone they've made "over 500 adult arrests, over 200 cases are closed, and over 100 cases were unfounded." During that time they had over 6,200 requests for video.
Watching security video in real time helps you spot suspicious activity as it happens, increasing response time and decreasing crimes and other activity. Surveillance cameras also increase the effectiveness of security forces - instead of being limited by what they can see around them, the person monitoring cameras can watch multiple feeds at once and direct security to the areas that need it.
School safety continues to be a top concern, and a video surveillance system can be an important part of a school's security system. Video surveillance systems help you monitor activities around campus and spot trouble as it is happening.
The most common use of a school video surveillance system is to increase student and staff safety. Prominently placed cameras warn students and staff that they may be monitored, which can deter bad behavior.
Cameras can also catch thieves, vandals, and bullies in the act, allowing the school and police to positively identify all parties involved and see exactly what happened.
Video surveillance systems are also useful tools when creating your visitor management system. Cameras can be placed at all building entrances to alert office staff when a visitor arrives.
You may also want to use the cameras to monitor all visitors to ensure they check in with the office, register at the front desk, follow school rules about contact with students while in the building, and leave once their visit is complete.
One of the largest benefits of modern IP video surveillance systems is the ease of camera monitoring - your systems is accessible through live monitoring by security officers at your school, along with remote and mobile viewing even when you're not on site!
The convenience of a wireless system is tempting when you are purchasing a video surveillance system -you have more flexibility in where you install cameras, and can limit the number of cables you need to run by connecting to the cameras using wifi internet. But do you know how this technology works, and what situations it is best suited for?
When it comes to wireless surveillance systems, you are really talking about two different types of technology: wifi cameras, and point-to-point wireless linking.
All-in-one wifi cameras are popular with homeowners and small businesses. These cameras are small, affordable, and easy to use. They should only be used in small systems though, because having too many wifi cameras on one network could overwhelm your bandwidth.
These cameras will have basic features, so if you need a specific feature or advanced functionality your options will be limited. It should also be noted that very few cameras are battery operated - even a wifi camera still needs to be plugged in to get power.
If you need to install multiple cameras over a large area, and require specific or advanced features, a wireless point-to-point system is a much better option. This type of system allows you to turn an IP system into a wireless system by linking cameras with wireless antennas.
These systems use powerful antennas to connect over large distances (although they should have line of sight ideally), such as connecting surveillance systems in multiple buildings on a college campus or a retail store and its parking garage. The wireless antenna connected to the cameras will communicate with the base station, connecting it to your NVR or VMS.
The cameras in these systems also require power, and are not batter operated.
One of the most important benefits of modern IP video surveillance systems is the flexibility in video management - using the power of the internet you can log into your system and see surveillance video at any time whether you are at work or not.
Remote monitoring allows you to monitor and manage your surveillance system from a computer anywhere with an internet connection using port forwarding (learn how to set up port forwarding). A mobile app, on the other hand, allows you to log into your system using a smart phone.
While specific features will vary between remote and mobile applications and manufacturer, in general you will be able to view live and recorded video and manage alerts. This gives managers and security staff greatly increased flexibility in how and when they respond to issues back at work if they are off-site for other projects, get notifications late at night or on the weekends, or on vacation.
The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in New England is a premier concert venue with regular crowds on over 8,000 for shows all summer long. With large crowds comes the need for an improved video surveillance system, so Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion upgraded to an HD IP video surveillance system. By replacing their old CCTV system the security staff has drastically cut the response time to crowd incidents and increased the number of investigations by local law enforcement.
The area covered by the new surveillance system is large, but by monitoring live cameras in the control room, security personnel can monitor all areas at once:
- Multiple parking lots
- Overnight camping spots
- VIP lounges
- Tailgating areas
- Vendor/merchandise areas
- Two concert stages
The largest benefit of the new surveillance system is how easy it is to identify and export video if an incident happens. With the old CCTV system the security crew had to physically access each camera to download video which could take hours. Their new system takes just minutes to export files onto a USB stick to hand over to law enforcement.
Between the easier system management and the upgrade to high definition video, an essential part of identifying suspicious people in the videos, within six months the police had already launched a dozen investigations with more pending.
If you saw the extremely popular movie The Martian this fall, did you happen to spot the cameos by Mobotix cameras?
The Martian follows astronaut Mark Watney as he attempts to survive being left behind on Mars by working with the supplies he has and a background as a botanist, along with mission control at NASA and his fellow crewmembers onboard the Hermes spaceship.
These surveillance cameras allow crewmembers and mission control to monitor actives on the spaceship and spot issues as soon as they happen. Down here on Earth both of these cameras are just as useful - with IP66-rated outdoor housing and HD resolution, Mobotix cameras are used by businesses in every industry.
The newest whitepaper is now available from VideoSurveillance.com - introducing Solutions by Role: A Quick Guide to Increased Security. This comprehensive overview looks into video surveillance system management from the perspective of five positions within an organization:
- Small business owner
- IT director
- General manager
- Security director
- Construction project manager
Each section looks at the security challenges faced by businesses, the ways in which modern video surveillance systems can help improve security and business operations, and a list of frequently asked questions.
License plate recognition, or LPR, is an incredibly useful software feature that allows you to track traffic, control entry into your business, find stolen vehicles, and much more. But do you know how LPR works and when to use it?
License plate recognition software is based on a database - your camera captures video of the license plate numbers and then either stores it for later use, or compares it to an existing database. For example:
- Secured & gated entrances, such as military bases or permit-based parking garages, will automatically compare each approaching vehicle's license plate to a database of authorized personnel, and only open the gates if that license plate number is on the list
- Parking enforcement officials can record cars as they enter and park, giving them a video to refer to if cars go over the time limit or attempt in and out parking
- Police and other law officials can review local traffic videos to search for the license plates of stolen vehicles or suspected cars in other crimes
To record these videos, however, you'll need a specialized system and camera setup. This includes:
- Video management software with advanced options for license plate recognition
- Cameras installed in locations that are at the right height to record license plates
- Low speed limits for oncoming traffic, so the camera has long enough to focus on each car as it approaches
- Proper lighting, either external or built-in IRs, to combat harsh overhead lighting in parking garages or dark shadows in underground structures
LPR is available on a wide range of video management software, including industry leading Milestone. Their Milestone XProtect LPR software includes database searching, filtering, and sorting, along with alarms if your system detects an unknown or blacklisted license plate.
Construction sites face a wide range of challenges, from heavy machinery that needs to be handled carefully to material loss from theft and vandalism. As Construction Project Manager you'll need to secure your employees, materials, and site - and VideoSurveilalnce.com is here to help.
Why should you consider installing or upgrading a site surveillance system?
- Video can be used to increase worker safety & reduce injuries
- Surveillance can deter equipment & material theft
- Prevent vandalism & trespassing
- Reduce liability for your company by increasing safety
When it comes to the surveillance systems themselves, you will have many choices. Modern IP-based systems are flexible and easily customized, so you can create a system that is best suited for your site. You should look for:
- HD resolution
- Wireless systems
- Mobile & remote monitoring
One solution that is popular with construction sites are temporary security towers. These mobile systems come with all the equipment you need, and the cameras and lights come attached to towers so you can install them without modifying your existing structures.
Are you a construction project manager looking to learn more? Read our full page on video surveillance systems for construction.
High definition resolution is quickly becoming the go-to standard in video surveillance systems; HD cameras record larger, more detailed videos compared to non-HD models, allowing you to more easily recognize suspicious activity.
But HD won't matter if your system has other problems that render HD irrelevant. Some reasons your system might be struggling:
- Extreme top-down angle - Your camera may have great resolution, but an extreme top-down angle won't allow you to recognize anyone
- Field of view too wide - HD cameras are great at capturing details, but a field of view that's too wide wont' allow you to focus in on the important areas
- Insects & dirt on the camera - IR lights allow you to record at night, but they also attract bugs that can block your view.
Do any of these problems seem familiar? Right now we're offering a free 20 minute system evaluation, performed by our surveillance experts, to help you identify problems and solutions.