City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, the nation's second largest city, has more than 900 government buildings and facilities spread out over hundreds of square miles. These facilities range in size and function from city-sponsored day care centers to City Hall to the Los Angeles Zoo.
Prior to 9/11, the City of LA maintained an uncoordinated, rather antiquated system of video surveillance for its buildings and facilities. The events of 9/11 set in motion plans to fundamentally change the city's security strategy and practices.
Several different city agencies maintained separate security systems and staff with little or no standardization or coordination. The 2001 tragedy cast in stark relief the need to integrate all the city's security systems and response protocols and bring them under one roof to enhance control and overall effectiveness.
Los Angeles maintained a very robust fiber network, and this infrastructure resource could serve as the starting point for creating a new city-wide security system that would need to comprise an wide array of buildings and facilities-spread out over considerable area with security needs ranging from minimal to very high security. In addition to integrating new security systems, Los Angeles to coordinate unconnected agencies and personnel to effectively coordinate procedures and response.
Starting in 2002, city officials - with Security Technical Director Dwayne Healy in the lead, began researching what technologies were available to assist in their ambitious security overhaul. Healy knew early on that video would be central to their plans, and the choice of video management system would set the tone and direction for the entire project. From the first time the LA team saw the DVTel intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) platform in action, they were impressed with the performance and the possibilities. Building upon the existing city network, the DVTel iSOC is the central management tool for what will eventually number well over 1000 cameras, covering anywhere from 35 to as many as 50 of the city's buildings and facilities.
The iSOC is a full-featured, enterprise-wide intelligent security platform which comprises a traditional DVR, matrix switch, and multiplexer in a single software-based product. The iSOC is based on a distributed architecture, so the end user can leverage existing analog products and networking, computer and storage infrastructure. It is a rules-based platform that makes real the concept of total Multi-source Intelligent Management by giving the end user the power to acquire information in video, audio and/or data format, administer and analyze this information; and then take appropriate, timely action.
Through completion of Phase II, the city has approximately 300 cameras monitoring 10 buildings and facilities. Camera output is monitored and managed at the new Command and Control Center. Select larger-scale facilities house remote monitoring and control stations, which function during regular business hours. Healy commented, "This redundancy has significantly increased the effectiveness of our video operations."
Upon project completion, more than 1000 cameras and various sensor data-fire alarms, intrusion alarms, and access control information-from hundreds of building and facilities will be monitored by and the appropriate response dispatched from the Command Center.
In the first few months of operation, the DVTel system enabled security staff to capture a number of incidents. In one instance the new system and its administrators were recognized by the City Council for the effectiveness of their vigilance and response.
Program administrators have seen clear evidence of cost savings, productivity increases, and the potential to reduce city payouts for liability incidents. As Healy puts it, "Our personnel deployment and effectiveness has gone through the roof."
The City of LA installation demonstrates the power of the DVTel platform-superior functionality coupled with the scalability and flexibility to add just one camera or hundreds. The iSOC can integrate across many different systems, and it offers continued system improvement through new software innovations that make cameras smarter and operators more efficient and effective. LA has a system that will grow with their needs and ambitious future plans.
The system's effectiveness and ease of use is best exemplified by the fact the Command and Control Center is staffed by only two dispatchers and one security staff member. The Center operates 24 hours a day, providing redundant monitoring and management for remote management stations during regular work hours and switching over to primary responder when security personnel are not present and for all locations without local security.
Similar to the system integration made possible by the iSOC platform, the city has followed suit by bringing all agencies and personnel involved with security into a new Office of Public Safety.
The new OPS will provide centralized, standardized response to all events at more than 900 locations. The city's goals are as simple as they are ambitious: unified training, unified protocols, and uniform response.
The DVTel iSOC is emerging as a standard for the City of Los Angeles, with the Office of Public Safety employing it, as well as the LA Sheriff's Department, and possibly the LAPD.
Because the system is networked-based, anyone with the proper authentication can monitor from a local PC, eliminating the need for dedicated consoles and additional manpower. This appealed to Healy and his team, who were interested in a simple, highly functional Command Center.