| Illustra 610 day/night cameras perform in low-light conditions and are cost effective
Together, the County of Maui and its integrator company, Security Resources, enlisted the help of Don Coker, president of Seevide Inc., and decided on American Dynamics Illustra 610 day/night cameras.
There are eight main islands that make up Hawaii and four of those islands are a part of the County of Maui: Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. Together, the islands encompass approximately 2,400 square miles and house a population of 154,000 residents. Recently, the County implemented an initiative to migrate toward one centralised system for all security, including access control, biometrics and surveillance on its three populated islands, excluding Kahoolawe, which does not have any residents or County buildings.
With 2,500 employees and myriad buildings on the three islands, including business offices, police stations, fire stations, prosecuting attorney offices, water department facilities, golf courses and maintenance yards, integrating a countywide security system was no small feat. With just the surveillance system alone, County officials have more than 125 cameras to maintain and manage on their network.
Initially, the countywide system was installed to protect critical infrastructure, including five County Administration buildings, the Maui Police Department and the Maui Water Department. After the County realised the value of one centralised system, it began looking at ways to expand its security reach and protect other areas of the County.
"In addition, the higher resolution allows for better coverage from a single camera position, allowing us to protect more areas with fewer cameras”
“Our goal was to integrate all of our departments onto a single platform that allows us to control all of the security subsystems,” explained Dennis Schwind, security coordinator and executive assistant to the managing director for the County of Maui.
One of the challenges the County of Maui needed to tackle was expanding its surveillance system to include cameras that could protect facilities, parking areas, and hundreds of County vehicles after hours. “We have millions of dollars worth of vehicles parked outside and, in the past, we’ve had vehicles, tires and gasoline stolen,” Schwind said. In addition, after a Tsunami hit Hawaii in 2011, the County decided that it needed to expand its surveillance even further to reach beaches and main highways for emergency monitoring purposes.
The County had been using analogue fixed cameras and domes, but was unhappy with the picture quality and performance. County officials also were looking for day/night cameras that could be managed from a network. Due to the expanse of the system, PoE cameras would cut down on cabling costs and make for a more efficient installation. Initially, megapixel cameras were installed at two locations to test their abilities, but County officials did not like the pictures they were getting in low-light conditions, according to Schwind.
A Bright Solution
Together, the County of Maui and its integrator company, Security Resources, enlisted the help of Don Coker, president of Seevid Inc., a manufacturers’ rep company that helped the organisation try out different products and determine which cameras and systems would best fit the County’s needs. “They really helped us work out the deal with the manufacturers to put together trial systems. It’s important to be able to try out these products,” said Patrick O’Brien, chief executive officer at Security Resources.
Ultimately, the County of Maui decided on American Dynamics Illustra 610 day/night cameras from Tyco Security Products because of their performance in low-light conditions and their cost effectiveness. “The decision was motivated by the ability to record and reproduce video with substantially better resolution than we had previously. In addition, the higher resolution allows for better coverage from a single camera position, allowing us to protect more areas with fewer cameras,” Schwind explained. The high-definition megapixel cameras also feature built-in face detection capabilities, which the County plans to leverage in the future, according to Schwind.
“Our new cameras provide a crystal clear image that can help us identify a person in a situation like this”
Security Resources had the task of integrating the County’s surveillance, access control and other systems onto one networked platform. The total scope of the project cost around $1.5 million. Homeland Security grant money was used for the first phase of the project, which included the day/night camera installations, as well as for part of subsequent phases of the project.
“One of the key factors of the whole system is having everything communicate. That started with looking at the original system and looking at new technology to tie everything all together,” O’Brien said. In addition to being able to control security from a centralised location, the County also wanted to be able to provide the Mayor’s office with a video snapshot of what was happening across the County, which a networked platform is helping to achieve.
O’Brien said that, from an economic standpoint, the American Dynamics cameras fit into the overall system well because of their PoE capabilities to decrease cabling costs and their ability to be tweaked and upgraded right from the network. Auto-zoom and focus features also allow County of Maui security personnel to adjust a camera’s field of view right from the computer, without having to go up and down a ladder.
“The County, like most customers, needed the best products and technology to meet their requirements at the best price,” said O’Brien. “The County can protect an area with fewer cameras and with fixed megapixel cameras, where they might have utilised analogue PTZ cameras in the past.”
No Longer in the Dark
Prior to installing the day/night cameras, security personnel were not able to see suspicious activity after dark. “We had one incident where a golf cart was being stolen in the dark, and our old cameras showed only the headlights. We couldn’t tell who was on the cart or whether it was a man or a woman,” Schwind said. One of the benefits County officials realised with the American Dynamics cameras was their anti-reflection technology, which—along with the low-light capabilities—kept security officials from seeing blurred out pictures because of headlights or street lamps.
“Our new cameras provide a crystal clear image that can help us identify a person in a situation like this,” said Schwind. Since the installation, the County of Maui has been able to put its cameras to the test. One of the County’s parking facilities was experiencing a number of vandalism incidents to its vehicles. The high-resolution video allowed County security to be able to identify the suspect vandalising the vehicles. “This would not have been possible with the previous cameras we had deployed,” Schwind said.
In the first phase of the project, 12 Illustra 610 cameras were installed as part of the initial system outside of municipal offices, police stations, fire departments, water department facilities and golf courses. The County is now in the process of upgrading to high-definition megapixel cameras at other County facilities such as the liquor department, fire department headquarters and new County construction projects, according to Schwind.
“There is no sense in having a camera if you can’t view the image and determine who is in the video,” Schwind explained. “For our needs, a day/night camera was the only way to go to ensure proper surveillance of the exterior of our buildings and our vehicle storage areas.”