Published on 27 January, 2015
|UMass Boston installed Scallop imaging surveillance cameras in the Atrium Café seating area
With a strong reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston offers its diverse, 17,000-student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. As the “front door” of the university, the student Campus Centre welcomes students, faculty, staff, and visitors to this scenic waterfront campus. A 330,000-square-foot, $80 million facility built in 2004, the Campus Centre is a gathering place that builds and encourages community interaction. As part of its effort to create and maintain a safe environment for the community, the UMass Boston Public Safety Department installed Scallop Imaging 180° surveillance cameras in key areas throughout the Centre to best protect students, staff, and assets from theft, vandalism, and harm.
The UMass Boston Department of Public Safety has invested in a campus-wide surveillance system to prevent unlawful activity, prevent student mischief, and solve crimes as quickly as possible. However, some areas of the Campus Centre, which present physical challenges due to size, location, and activity levels, required technology that could more effectively capture a wide-angle view. “We looked at several options, but chose the Scallop Imaging vision system because it is cost-effective, delivers complete situational awareness, and is manufactured locally,” said Peter Bonitatibus, Director of Information Systems and Technology, for the Division of Student Affairs at UMass Boston.
UMass Boston installed Scallop Imaging surveillance cameras in the Atrium Café seating area, a 120-feet wide and 35-feet deep student meeting area on the upper level of the Campus Centre, and in the main lobby, a large, open space that is heavily used. The Scallop Imaging cameras provide a wide-angle view of each space combined with four separate and focused views, including the cash register and dining tables in the shop and the information desk, main entrance, and elevator in the lobby. The cameras were easily integrated into the campus-wide security system, which runs on the Genetec unified security platform. UMass Boston Public Safety Communications Centre staff monitor the system live, 24x7. “We don’t monitor all our cameras around the clock, but because the Scallop Imaging solution covers such a wide area and provides such useful footage, they get the most usage,” commented Bonitatibus.
The UMass Boston Department of Public Safety has invested in a campus-wide surveillance system to prevent unlawful activity, prevent student mischief, and solve crimes as quickly as possible
Installation was quick and easy. “The IT department pulled the wires, and after verifying the correct angles, we mounted the cameras and turned the system on – that’s how easy it was,” explained Bonitatibus. In the year and a half since the first camera was installed, UMass Boston’s maintenance needs have been limited. “We haven’t had to touch the cameras – we are very impressed with their performance.” The university has been so impressed, in fact, that it plans to add more Scallop Imaging cameras as budget allows.
The fact that the Scallop Imaging system delivers a true, undistorted, and constant 180° view was a key selling feature for Bonitatibus. “Scallop Imaging offers an outstanding panoramic view in one video frame,” stated Bonitatibus. At the same time, the cameras deliver simultaneous zoom details of up to four distinct views of each space. “I call the Scallop Imaging vision system a ‘four in one’ solution,” added Bonitatibus. “And I believe this is the future of video surveillance.”
According to Bonitatibus, the added benefit of a Scallop surveillance solution is that he can watch the entire area and capture the detail he needs with just one camera, which means only one point of failure should a problem occur. “All I would have to do is replace one camera – it’s as simple as that,” stated Bonitatibus.
Another standout feature of the Scallop Imaging system is the way it stitches multiple images with overlapping fields-of-view to produce a real panoramic image. “Because the video is made from a series of individual cameras stitched into a single, live view, images flow naturally without any breaks or lines,” explained Bonitatibus. Scallop Imaging uses distributed imaging to act like the human eye, and because all pixels are combined in one image, people or objects don’t disappear as they move across the image. UMass Boston detectives have been very pleased with the systems near human view. “Everyone loves it.”
"Scallop Imaging technologies play a critical role in our efforts to monitor and protect the busiest places on campus"
The cameras’ sleek and discreet form factor is also a noteworthy feature. “Unlike most surveillance systems, Scallop Imaging cameras are designed with a small form factor and inconspicuous appearance that provide the flexibility to customise the solution to meet specific architectural requirements,” said Bonitatibus.
The fact that Scallop Imaging is a local company that manufactures its products in the United States was another key factor. “I was concerned about manufacturing schedules and wanted to ensure that I would receive the cameras as quickly as possible,” said Bonitatibus. And by manufacturing products in the USA, Scallop Imaging can maintain the high quality and low failure rates that they are known for. As a local company, UMass Boston’s integrator BCS Controls was also familiar with Scallop Imaging, which further expedited installation. “The fact that Scallop Imaging is a local company was a huge consideration for the university.”
During the procurement process, it became clear to Bonitatibus that the Scallop Imaging surveillance platform was less expensive than competing solutions and would deliver a greater return on investment in the long run. “If I can purchase a camera for $2,500 versus $4,000, I will choose the more cost-effective option every time,” stated Bonitatibus. “And because I only need one camera instead of six to cover the same area, Scallop Imaging delivers a much stronger price: performance ratio.” The university saves networking costs as well, because fewer wires and switches are required and less power is consumed. “Scallop Imaging cameras deliver a 5:1 ratio — five views for only one wire — that’s a substantial savings,” Bonitatibus added.
The UMass Boston Campus Centre serves as the “living room” of the university — a comfortable place for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to gather. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, relaxing lounges and stunning views of the Boston Harbour, the Campus Centre is the perfect place to nurture student life and build a strong sense of community. “The UMass Boston Public Safety team works diligently 24 hours a day to create and maintain the safest and most comfortable student environment possible,” concluded Bonitatibus. “Scallop Imaging technologies play a critical role in our efforts to monitor and protect the busiest places on campus.”