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MOBOTIX enhances school security with their surveillance cameras and access control systems
Safety at school A modern video surveillance solution installed in a school can perform the crucial task of ensuring safety of staff and students. Effective detection and resolution of incidents is combined with sophisticated access control to make it the perfect tool for the job. It also works as a great deterrent against anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism or violence. Since the advent of the MOBOTIX door station, a MOBOTIX camera can make calls and send footage to an IP video phone. Dave Richards, Managing Director of Audio Alarm Vision, has unlocked this untapped potential during his upgrade of the video surveillance system at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia. Established in 1869 and one of Australia’s most prestigious private boy’s schools, the educational institute sees over 1200 pupils come through its doors, both as day students and boarders. MOBOTIX advantages The school’s analogue video surveillance system had become notorious for being unreliable and frustrating to use. “The only way to be sure of successfully retrieving footage of an incident would be to have the cameras monitored live 24/7,” Dave explains. As he explored the options to update the system, MOBOTIX IP technology seemed the best fit. The decentralised concept, with the high quality images being processed and compressed in the camera itself, combined with intelligent event-driven recording, means that neither the existing network, nor the storage facilities, are overburdened. Combined with maximum coverage for fewer cameras, this made it the ideal solution for a large site of this nature. Exploiting SIP technology "Experimenting with 3cx VoIP phone software, I managed to get a MOBOTIX camera to call one of the phones at the school" Dave worked closely with Chris Downing, Systems Engineer at the school, to design the integration, and it was decided that rather than replace the entire system, MOBOTIX cameras would be installed in new locations, as well as replacing any existing defunct analogue cameras. They were particularly intrigued by the cameras’ built-in SIP server, ever since having seen the MOBOTIX T24 (now superseded by the T25) door station connect to a Grandstream video phone. Using the SIP protocol, thanks to a functionality written into all current MOBOTIX camera firmware, any MOBOTIX camera can communicate with a phone directly over the internal PBX, or externally via VOIP. Dave became determined to reconfigure a camera to make a phone call. "A late night at home experimenting with 3cx VoIP phone soft-ware, I managed to get a MOBOTIX camera to call one of the phones at the school. When I told Chris he nearly fell off his chair!" Fully customised solution With this breakthrough, Dave was able to convince Prince Alfred’s College to combine the update to the video surveillance system with a rollout of new communication equipment. A SIP server was installed onsite, along with 180 IP-based Yealink phones, 45 MOBOTIX cameras and 3x RAID5 QNAP storage centres. The cameras were integrated into the PBX using 3cx software and configured with the MOBOTIX video management software, in a fully customised set up. Authorised members of staff can dial into any camera, as each one has been allocated its own phone number. They can then view live footage on the 7 inch HD touch screen, which also offers rudimentary PTZ functions and an intercom. Further capabilities to view and search recordings are available to authorised staff on dedicated PCs. However, retrieval and downloading of specific footage is strictly limited to security personnel, who perform this function on request and only release recordings when deemed appropriate. This implementation not only maximises the security around accessing recordings and surveillance, but it has also resulted a highly efficient, effective and reliable operation, with four times as many cameras. "Now the security officers have even more time to complete other tasks relating to their job, with surveillance taking up a much smaller proportion of their shift", Dave explains. "The quality of footage is astounding, and because it’s best in class in terms of storage and cameras, the system is finally reliable," Chris adds. As MOBOTIX technology is further enhanced and developed, the possibilities are practically endless Paradigm shift in surveillance & communication As MOBOTIX technology is further enhanced and developed, concurrently with the continuous advances in communication, the possibilities are practically endless in terms of what can be achieved. Indeed, this particular project shows a paradigm shift in thinking around surveillance and communication technology in general, something we are likely to see much more of in the future. Both Dave and Chris feel they have only scratched the surface in this area and they have plans to add further functionality, such as using the cameras in evacuation procedures to play sounds and the post-evacuation footage for analysis afterwards, or to alert staff of an event via phone and then display the footage live, where a verbose SIP header can provide additional information. Although this last feature covers the same ground as the alarm notifications built into the MOBOTIX video management software, it nevertheless demonstrates the considerable possibilities of SIP technology. The integration of phone and communication systems is set to continue evolving to both maximise effective coverage and minimise manpower requirements, thus allowing integrators to offer ever more effective customised solutions.
The MOBOTIX video camera is capable of guaranteeing high quality images that can be accessed in real time In the Biatta family, the craft of producing excellent wines is passed from generation to generation. Back in 1985, Giovanni Biatta, the forefather of the Le Marchesine operation, purchased the first three hectares in the area of Franciacorta, but the family has dedicated itself to a single passion for at least five generations: excellence in wine-making. Heir of an ancient family from Brescia, the great-grandfather of Giovanni, Camillo Biatta, was a negociant eleveur, a noble and ancient trade inherited from father to son, all the way to Giovanni. Born as a small and innovative firm in Franciacorta, Le Marchesine is today one of the most prestigious agricultural success stories in this well-endowed region of Lombardy: from the three original hectares the company has grown to cover 47 hectares of vines, all registered in the Doc and Docg, and managed directly by the heir of Giovanni, Loris, who manages the wine cellar and the vines together with son Andrea and daughter Alice. Presently production hovers around 450 thousand bottles per year, of which 230 thousand of Franciacorta Brut and Extra Brut, 40 thousand of Rose’ vintage, 40 thousand of Franciacorta Saten, 30 thousand of Vintage from only the best years, in addition to 10 thousand of Secolo Novo cru vintage, 15 thousand of Curtefranca Bianco, and 15 thousand of Curtefranca Rosso. Starting from the Fall of 2012, two new wines were added to the Le Marchesine production, the Franciacorta Brut Giovanni Biatta Secolo Novo, of which 5,700 bottles were produced, and the Franciacorta Brut Blanc de Noir with 6,700 bottles. Certified (and monitored) quality Loris Biatta, presently the owner of the farm but also a gifted entrepreneur and technology enthusiast, had long expressed the desire to showcase the beauty of the farm and the care with which the wine is produced to customers residing outside Europe, even on other continents. An ambitious and innovative idea that was not met with a positive response, in terms of feasibility, when proposed to some of the technicians in the market. The solution was provided by Informatica Lombarda, a company located in Rovato that specialises in integrating computer and technology systems. “When we were contacted by Le Marchesine we immediately accepted the challenge - according to Fulvio Baresi, the general manager of Informatica Lombarda-. This was a new idea, that would start a pilot project in the wine making sector; a project with a far reaching outlook, that would provide the opportunity to fully exploit the great potential of the technologies we are implementing”. Integrating security technology Implemented in the span of only three months, the project included the installation of a MOBOTIX video security system integrated with an open VOIP infrastructure (based on an Asterisk switchboard) and a wireless network based on antennas built by Meru Networks. The integration of the entire installation on the Asterisk switchboard provided many opportunities for development in the project, including during the implementation, both in relation to the integration of new technologies and - no less important - controlling costs. MOBOTIX provides the solution as the only video camera capable of guaranteeing high quality images that can be accessed in real time thanks to the software integrated on each device “My main objective - which has been a lifelong dream of mine - was to be able to show in live images, especially when shipping products abroad, and not just in photographs or brochures, the beauty of our land - the Franciacorta - the elegance of our wine cellars, and the care with which we produce and store the wine, which stands for quality even for less pretentious customers”, says Biatta. Providing high-quality images “But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart...”, said Saint-Exupery in the famous novel The Little Prince. In this project there is a lot of heart: The love of our land, the love for our company and the family it belongs to, the love of a craft, that when is done with the heart produces notes and flavours that preserve the taste of artisan passion and skill. When the hearts are far away, MOBOTIX provides the solution as the only video camera capable of guaranteeing high quality images that can be accessed in real time thanks to the software integrated on each device: A video security system where the hardware and software are integrated into a single product. “Thanks to MOBOTIX we were able to exploit the high quality of the images and the power of the free proprietary application, which, in our capacity as the system integrators, allowed us to develop truly state of the art projects. Not least important, thanks to the software integrated in the device, which is a unique technology in the world, the MOBOTIX decentralised system is able to provide the possibility of managing the images recorded by the video cameras remotely and in real time, when necessary, or when the client on the other side of the world has special requirements”, added Baresi. The advantages of the MOBOTIX decentralised concept are also evident in other terms. In fact, the video cameras do not leverage an external PC – or the efficiency of the connection - the analysis of the recordings and images are already scaled by the software on board. Video surveillance with light control Today there are 11 MOBOTIX eyes pointing outdoors - to the vines - and indoors - to the production facilities and the wine cellars - of the well known wine producer, not only because of security, but also and most of all within the scope of the commercial and marketing promotions of the company and its products. Wherever they may be, the business associates of Le Marchesine are able to view the images recorded by the video cameras by means of the MOBOTIX application installed on an iPad. In case of issues of lighting as a result of time zones on the other side of the globe, they are able to remotely turn on the lights directly from the video camera by selecting an icon on the application. “The saying ‘see it to believe it’ has never been more appropriate for me, in the sense that until I tried the system I did not believe that it was possible! The project also received the same positive responses from our traditional clients and potential buyers, who were often incredulous at what they were seeing thanks to MOBOTIX”, says Biatta. Video camera integration with weather station The project implemented for Le Marchesine is the feather in the cap for informatics in Lombardy Shortly, a pole will be installed in the vines, which, thanks to solar panels, will power a weather station, which will be in turn connected to a MOBOTIX video camera. The objective is to allow Le Marchesine to remotely broadcast in real time the data concerning the humidity and the level of acidity of the soil, the presence of potential bacteria, the colour of the leaves, the state of ripening of the wine, etc. Activities that until today were carried out manually by the agronomists, who will now be able to base their manual activities on precise data and measurements carried out at periodic intervals. The objective of this new system is to track both annual and multi-year statistical trends, which will allow Le Marchesine to evaluate the production of a particular type of wine in a given vintage and make predictions about the years to come. 5-megapixel MOBOTIX wireless video cameras The results obtained by Le Marchesine went well over the expectations, preserving the standards of quality and excellence the owners first of all require of their own products, providing much more than a simple video security installation. The new 5 megapixel MOBOTIX video cameras installed – 3 M15 Day&Night models for monitoring the vines, active round the clock, 3 D15 models for remotely monitoring and viewing the wine cellars, 2 Q25 models installed in the production facilities, and 1 T25 video door intercom - are integrated with the VoIP switchboard and allow authorised parties to directly connect with a complete mobile wireless solution. Moreover, the T25 video door intercom is provided with an RFID reader that manages access control for authorised personnel, an application that provides the best results especially in the harvest season, when external personnel is brought on the premises during periods of large volume. “The project implemented for Le Marchesine is the feather in the cap for informatics in Lombardy and represents the true meaning of ‘automation’, a term that is sometimes overused and often utilised in the wrong - and restrictive - manner with respect to what it really means. In order to implement true automation it is not enough to improvise, select what is available on the market, and install it. It is important to understand the technology on which each product is based and the capability to interconnect them. I am completely convinced that 70 percent of the success of a system integration project resides precisely in the evaluation and design stage before the implementation. Obviously, as in most things, it is not necessary to know everything, but to be able to discern the best; and for us in this case MOBOTIX is certainly in first place”, concluded Baresi.
MOBOTIX hemispheric technology gives wider areas of view, while reducing camera counts Laurel School District is home to more than 3,200 students and five school facilities. It is the public school district for the city of Laurel, Mississippi, an area known for oak-lined streets and turn-of-the-century architecture. Located in Southeast Mississippi, the city was founded after significant growth in the timber industry. It eventually became a large milling town, but a new industry formed in 1942 when oil was found. Today, more than 150 companies provide regional service for oil and gas drillers in the Laurel area. School security challenge Laurel School District previously installed analogue cameras to help monitor activity and enhance security across its district facilities. As the analogue cameras began reaching end of life, the school turned to local integrator All Safe Technologies to assist in the migration of its video camera network to an IP-based solution. "We were interested in moving to IP because we have more options with image clarity and functionality," said Jeff Davis, Technology Coordinator, Laurel School District. "Another driver was a renovation of one of our schools, which was built in the 1920s. We decided to install analogue devices in that school, and since it was designed as a closed-concept building with lots of corners and hidden spots, the cost of pulling and installing cable was quite high. This propelled us to look at an IP solution that could leverage our network infrastructure." The school sought out new camera technology for another important reason: Its analogue system failed to see an incident at one of the schools because it did not have visibility into a particular corner of the facility. As a result, the school district was especially interested in MOBOTIX technologies because hemispheric technology would enable it to gain wider areas of view, while reducing camera counts. "We quickly realised that one MOBOTIX camera could replace four traditional cameras, which led to significant cost savings," Immediate reduction in hardware investments "We quickly realised that one MOBOTIX camera could replace four traditional cameras, which led to significant cost savings," Davis said. "Furthermore, the video quality is far more exceptional, and we can see in four different directions with the Q25. There was no contest when we compared MOBOTIX against other cameras." Because of the immediate reduction in hardware investments, getting approval for the new system from school administrators was an easy task, Davis said. Administrators applauded the immediate and long-term cost savings as well as the enhanced image quality delivered by MOBOTIX. School officials also were focused on being proactive — adding cameras before a security breach could occur — rather than being reactive, and were willing to support the project 100 percent because of this mission. The initial installation consisted of adding 18 Q25 cameras to cover high-traffic areas such as building entrances and exits, reception areas, main foyers, halls and gyms. There is an additional high-traffic area at one of the district’s high schools: Students walk from the parking lot at the school, across the street to the field house where sports activities take place. One Q25 helps school administrators monitor traffic in this area, which sees hundreds of students walking to and from each day. It also is useful during sporting events such as football games, which are very popular in the area. "This project demonstrates that it is possible for schools of any size to leverage the capabilities of a MOBOTIX video surveillance system " The MOBOTIX camera network, which is managed through MxEasy software, delivers excellent imagery while using significantly less network bandwidth and storage than comparable devices. MxEasy allows administrators to control up to 16 cameras through an intuitive interface. In fact, the software’s inherent simplicity was a key requirement for the school. It only takes a few minutes to find footage, and users can easily view four different video scenes on one monitor. Additionally, all of the camera settings, including zoom, brightness, volume, microphone sensitivity and storage requirements, can be controlled through this powerful software package. Improving student safety and behaviour The primary goal of Laurel School District’s new surveillance solution is to improve the safety of students and staff, but it has also helped correct student behaviour. Recently, there was an incident of theft, resulting in students pointing fingers at each other. Recorded video footage was pulled from the MOBOTIX system and showed exactly what occurred, enabling officials to ensure the correct student was held accountable. In addition to the MOBOTIX camera network, the school also has installed a MOBOTIX T25, an IP video door station with an integrated 5 megapixel hemispheric camera, to help control access at one of its schools. Officials also plan to add more devices in the near future. Right now, the T25 is used to monitor access to the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program to ensure only authorized individuals and parents gain access. Now, the school district plans to add additional T25s, starting at its elementary school. Another benefit of the school’s T25 is the mobile capabilities delivered by the MOBOTIX App. Security officers can leverage their mobile devices to open the door for visitors, see live video of those trying to gain access and access alarm information. "The installation at Laurel School District is a great example of the cost efficiencies derived from the MOBOTIX approach to surveillance, which highlights the benefits of on-board storage, hemispheric technology, mobile capabilities and ease-of-use," said Tommy James, Security Consultant, All Safe Technologies. "This project demonstrates that it is possible for schools of any size to leverage the capabilities of a MOBOTIX video surveillance system while meeting budget requirements. Additionally, the system provides the school district with the foundation that can grow as it grows."
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