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Dallastown Area School District moves security to head of the class

Published on 11 March, 2008
Bosch FlexiDome IP cameraStudents in the Dallastown Area School District near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, are learning their actions speak louder than words.  The district's IT department recently installed video surveillance technology from Bosch Security Systems in the area's high school and middle school.  Now, more than 70 Bosch FlexiDome IP cameras monitor the hallways and cafeterias, and the school district plans to add 50 more cameras to the facilities by the end of the 2007-2008 school year.
Using the Bosch VIDOS Video Management Software Suite, administrative staff and the high school's resource officer can easily search and playback recorded video to review any event that occurs in the buildings.
"The system helps our administrators more quickly identify which students were involved in incidents that happen in the schools," said Brian Arnold, network manager, Dallastown Area School District.  "The students are more likely to be truthful about the role they played, when they see themselves on recorded video."
With decoders that transform the digital camera signals to analogue, school secretaries can also view video of the entranceways from their monitors, allowing them to see a person requesting access to the school Bosch VIDOS Video Management Software Suitebefore unlocking the door.
For recording video, the cameras stream signals across the district's separate security IP network for storage on five RAID arrays.  Bosch's Video Recording Manager (VRM) divides the total capacity of the storage area network (SAN) into one Gigabyte blocks and allocates storage for video recording to each of the IP cameras as needed.
With cameras that stream to a SAN, the district avoids using PC-based network video recorders (NVRs) - equipment that would have required extra time and funds to support over the life of the system.  The district's streamlined system design along with the use of VRM software made installation easier.  For example, recording settings were programmed in less than a day compared to the five days that would be required for a similar-sized NVR-based system.
The district also benefits from Power over Ethernet technology, which enables them to use Ethernet cables to power the cameras.  "By eliminating power supplies for the cameras, our wiring closets are less cluttered and troubleshooting potential cabling issues will be easier," explained Arnold.
The IT department also plans to install Bosch AutoDome modular IP cameras around the exterior of the school buildings.  Adding cameras will require additional storage.
"The district already has five rack-mounted disk array chassis to which they can add hard drives as more storage is required.  Since the VRM software makes the video surveillance system extremely flexible, the IT staff can simply click a button, and the software will recognise the added storage and make it available to all of the system's cameras," said Dr. Bob Banerjee, product marketing manager, Bosch Security Systems, Inc.
Bosch AutoDome modular IP camerasFurther demonstrating the flexibility of the system, the IT department was easily able to increase the resolution of certain cameras in areas of the school with high activity after the initial installation and set-up.  These changes were made without stopping the system from recording.  
The district's future plans include the installation of more than 60 cameras at the elementary schools in the district as well as the implementation of a wireless hotspot outside the high school.  This hotspot would allow police to review video inside the school and assess the situation before entering, if a serious security incident were to occur.
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