Download PDF version Contact company

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a rich history of innovation. Since its founding in 1984, the facility has become one of the world’s leading public aquariums and ocean conservation organisations.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium has produced significant insights into the life history of sharks, sea otters, and bluefin tuna. The aquarium also was the first to exhibit a living kelp forest, and in 2004 it was the first to successfully exhibit and return to the wild a young great white shark.

It is therefore no surprise that the Monterey Bay Aquarium desired the most innovative and state-of-the-art cameras as a key component for its security system, and AV Costar was able to deliver what they required.

Until recently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium relied upon up to 60 analogue cameras for its video security needs

Constant surveillance and monitoring

The aquarium has a huge campus, with multiple separate properties and an average annual visitation of two million people. Until recently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium relied upon up to 60 analogue cameras for its video security needs. With such a large area to cover and with so many people to monitor, this type of system proved increasingly unreliable and insufficient to its growing security needs.

The aquarium’s security staff also found it a major inconvenience that accessories and other parts for the system were exclusive to the original provider, limiting the security team’s options both technically and financially.

The footage from the analogue cameras was monitored on monochrome screens and useful viewing of surveillance video was quite difficult at times. The quality of the images was low, and the inflexible nature of the cameras resulted in a number of blind spots throughout the aquarium’s large campus.

Difficult lighting conditions

The aquarium also has some very challenging lighting situations, requiring more specialised, versatile cameras in order to properly capture images.

 “We have some very difficult light levels here. The reflections of the water tanks can make certain areas lighter on camera than they are in person, or vice-versa,” stated Thomas Uretsky, Director of Security and Emergency Management for the facility.

The security team reached the point where they knew they needed to upgrade. “The system needed more flexibility, multiple views on one camera, the works,” Mr. Uretsky said. “Blind spots needed to be eliminated, and we wanted as close to a 360-degree view as possible.

After thorough research, San Jose, California-based security integrator NSI Systems recommended AV Costar for the camera solution.

 The aquarium also has some very challenging lighting situations, requiring more specialised, versatile cameras in order to properly capture images.
The aquarium has a huge campus, with an average annual visitation of two million people

AV Costar surveillance expertise

Mr. Uretsky and the team at Monterey Bay Aquarium collaborated with AV Costar regarding what they were looking for, where coverage was needed, and how to best fit in into their budget. Monterey Bay Aquarium chose ExacqVision as their video management system, another solid partner to help upgrade their prior surveillance system.

A range of different AV Costar cameras were ultimately deployed to serve the aquarium’s varying needs. AV Costar MicroDome cameras were ideal for the ticketing area and customer lines.

The series includes Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) models, which can achieve clear images across extreme lighting conditions, such as those found in some of the indoor spaces at the aquarium. MicroDome cameras have an extremely low profile and only a 4” diameter, making them ideal for discrete security surveillance.

When asked for his thoughts about the MicroDome camera, Mr. Uretsky responded, “They are small and nearly invisible to anyone who doesn’t know what they’re looking for. The fact that they have such a small footprint makes them ideal for us in the ticketing and front entrance areas.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium now has the unique and flexible camera solution it required, utilising 360-degree video

Another favourite at Monterey Bay Aquarium were AV Costar SurroundVideo Omni G1 and G2 adjustable-view cameras. The SurroundVideo Omni series utilises a patented 360º track where each of its four-megapixel sensors can be moved to cover virtually any angle. Remote motorised focus simplified installation with the Omni G2.

Combined with the ability to interchange lenses, the Monterey Bay Aquarium now has the unique and flexible camera solution it required. The customisable features of the camera also simplify future changes that may occur at the aquarium, saving time and money if construction or remodelling were to occur.

“The SurroundVideo Omni cameras are some of our favourites because we are getting four cameras in one. They have the most flexibility,” said Kevin Wright, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s security manager. “Our blind spots are much more limited, and we don’t need to use nearly as many cameras as we previously had in those areas.”

Although each camera offers four separate views, only a single PoE (Power over Ethernet) cable and a single software license is required for integration with the Exacq software, further reducing costs.

Megapixel camera performance

The system has performed incredibly well to date. Not only was it installed on time, but it was completed within budget.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium monitors the system locally, 24-hours per day. The images are viewed on a dynamic video wall in the new Security Operations Center. While most footage is viewed on-site, some cameras have been enabled with the Exacq software for remote monitoring at satellite offices. For example, holding areas for rescued sea otters can be viewed remotely by a research team.

 The SurroundVideo Omni series utilises a patented 360º track where each of its four-megapixel sensors
Some cameras have been enabled with the Exacq software for remote monitoring off-site

AV Costar cameras have helped the aquarium’s security department in a variety of ways, one of which is increasingly common: addressing bicycle theft. Individuals will sometimes access a public recreational trail that runs along the aquarium’s main campus to steal unattended bikes parked by visitors or staff.

Unlike the previous analogue surveillance system, AV Costar’s megapixel cameras are able to provide the security department with good views and high-resolution images when reporting such incidents to the police department.

The project at Monterey Bay Aquarium fulfilled a vast array of surveillance requirements — indoor and outdoor scenes, large and small spaces, low- to high-lighting conditions — and AV Costar cameras addressed each of the challenges. The deployment of the new cameras made an impression on Mr. Uretsky and his team.

Making potential security solutions reality

One installation inspired ideas for another, and AV Costar helped make these potential security solutions a reality as well. The continual partnership between the aquarium, the system integrator, and AV Costar has resulted in an ongoing collaboration between the three entities.

The reason we went with AV Costar was because it has a niche where a lot of manufacturers don’t, with its multi-view cameras,” Mr. Uretsky stated. AV Costar pioneered the first multi-sensor megapixel panoramic cameras in the surveillance industry in 2006, and has continued to enhance their capabilities, introducing adjustable-view Omni cameras in 2014.

These cameras have been fundamental as we systematically replace our old cameras with newer, megapixel versions. We are always improving and always adding cameras, so each time we’ve installed them we’ve been pleased.”

Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Crossing the divide - automating security processes across physical, business and IT domains
Crossing the divide - automating security processes across physical, business and IT domains

Security is a critical requirement for all organisations. Getting security right involves the correct mix of people, processes and technology working together. However, many enterprise companies don’t look at the full mix that encompasses information security, and instead split their physical security and business continuity teams away from their IT security departments. According to research by ASIS, around half (52 per cent) of companies have converged two or three out of their physical, IT security and business continuity teams together, with the majority of those opting to bring together their continuity and physical security teams. Of those that have not brought teams together, around 70 per cent have no plans to do so. It's Important to bring all department's security together The reason for this is that cybersecurity is perceived as having a more specialist role within the business and that this prevents companies from bringing their departments together. However, while IT security has its own specialist requirements and skills, it should not be looked at alone. Businesses are looking at how to manage risk more effectively across all their operations, and they have problems when their teams are siloed and don’t have the full picture. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed its own guide to this area, based on the growth of the Internet of Things and more connected devices entering both homes and businesses, so this will continue to grow in importance. The rise of automation The pace of change that companies face today, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that more organisations are moving to digital services and automating their operations as much as they can. Security is no exception here - according to our research on security and automation, 75 percent of companies say they would need an additional three or more analysts in place to deal with all their incoming alerts in the same day, while 83 percent say their teams face ‘alert fatigue.’ IT security teams are drowning in data, but they feel unable to cope - yet at the same time, they will have to work more closely with other departments as well. Automation is necessary to deal with all these problems, but it should not be looked at in isolation. While IT security teams are keen to invest in automation using technologies like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR), these investments can be used across both physical and IT security. As IT security teams invest in automation, they can adapt and extend their approach to help risk management and security in the physical world as well. The best approach to be successful around this is to look at areas where real-world and IT security challenges cross over for businesses. To adopt this approach successfully involves understanding business processes better. Fraud detection processes Automation involves using data and analytics to improve how a process operates from beginning to end, including where IT and technology is used to support physical interactions or activities. A good example of this would be a bank’s fraud detection process, where multiple digital and physical transactions have to be monitored and investigated. Bringing together different teams - physical security, business continuity, risk management and IT security - is about how to protect the whole organisation against risk. While the most well-known area for fraud investigation would be credit card transactions, there are multiple different types of transactions to track, from national and international wire transfers to prepaid phone cards and other prepaid cards that can be used for credit purchases. Each of these will have its own workflows and requirements to investigate a transaction, This can include looking at whether transactions are false positives or need further investigation, which is based on a mix of digital documentation for online purchases and physical data from in-person transactions. At the same time, the sophisticated nature of fraud can mean there is a large IT component to any investigation. Members of the IT security team may need to be involved alongside the anti-fraud department. While this investigation is necessary, it pulls analysts away from cybersecurity tasks, which can be especially frustrating where false positives are concerned. Instead, automating the investigation process can help. Consolidating Physical, IT and risk management By consolidating processes and automating the workflow, this pulls physical, IT and risk management together in a smarter and more efficient manner. It also improves productivity for an anti-fraud team as they can remove false positives from the workflow and get automated support for IT analysis. If the team needs more human insight, they can bring this in where they need it rather than requiring it for every investigation. While anti-fraud is one example of where this kind of convergence and collaboration is required, there are other use cases. For instance, industrial control and manufacturing applications that run production lines around the clock are frequently targeted for attacks, either to steal vital data or to disrupt business operations. This crosses over from the realm of IT into the world of operational technology, where systems are very different and the systems used may have been in place for years, even decades. Bringing together different teams - physical security, business continuity, risk management and IT security - is about how to protect the whole organisation against risk. By working together, teams can be more efficient rather than working in their respective silos. This involves better use of data across those teams, which will rely on more automation to be efficient. Using SOAR, security analysts and business risk professionals can cut the amount of time needed to respond to potential problems, reducing the impact and remediating faster. At the same time, it reduces the waste associated with false positives and manual work. The emphasis here should be on how to support the business with better security - by consolidating processes and working more effectively, security teams across the organisation can achieve that goal.

Dahua Technology’s video and access control solution enhances safety in Empresa Panamena de Alimentos food company’s facilities
Dahua Technology’s video and access control solution enhances safety in Empresa Panamena de Alimentos food company’s facilities

Dahua Technology is a globally renowned video-centric smart IoT solutions and services provider. Based on technological innovations, Dahua Technology offers end-to-end security solutions, systems, and services, in order to create value for city operations, corporate management, and consumers. Dahua Technology has designed a video surveillance and control solution for a popular Panamanian Food Company - Empresa Panamena de Alimentos (EPA). Dahua’s security solution Empresa Panamena de Alimentos is a renowned company in the processed food industry in Panama, Central America. It was founded in 2012 and owns production plants and warehouses in the capital city, as well as agencies around the country. EPA’s products, including all kinds of cookies, coffee, and pasta, are already important parts of consumers’ day-to-day life. With the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic risks, EPA needed a system to sustain efficient management and operation, over their staff and facilities. Implementing multiple access controls in the facilities As a food company, the operations of the company need to be under caution, especially during the pandemic As a food company, the operations of the company need to be under caution, especially during the pandemic. It was necessary to implement multiple access controls in the facilities. With multiple plants located around the nation and accelerated growth, a centralised monitoring system for all equipment, alert management and user reports was needed. The solution, applied at EPA’s facilities, integrates various electronic security systems under a single platform and was evaluated based on the company’s needs. ANPR, AI-based cameras and access control systems “Currently, 480 Dahua devices have been arranged. Among them are different models of cameras, access control systems, and automatic number plate recognition products. AI-based cameras enhance the level of personnel protection. Everything is monitored by a DSS Express server in the main plant,” said Luis Araujo, the Manager of Infrastructure and Telecommunications of the Secutec Panama. Every day, more than 800 employees enter EPA facilities nationwide, the access control system allows a faster and safer automated entry of the staff and their cars. Access controllers and Pro Network Video Recorders Besides, three Pro Network Video Recorders (NVR5864-4KS2) were also adopted Apart from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) devices, more than 20 access controllers (ASI7213X-T1) were installed in main offices for temperature monitoring and attendance management. Besides, three Pro Network Video Recorders (NVR5864-4KS2) were also adopted. With a powerful processor, they have the capability of 4K resolution processing and high definition recording quality. Perimeter protection and access control In Dahua Technology’s security solution, perimeter protection and access control are both realised. “We have had Dahua equipment for 7 years. It is a brand that has been of great help to our safety. It has contributed to continuous and steady operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Guillermo Figueroa, EPA’s Safety and Control Manager. Javier Rodríguez, Secutec Panama’s Operations Manager, valued the quality and technology of Dahua’s solution, which has been ‘key’ for the development of their projects, the support and accompaniment to the brands that are planned to be developed. Trust in Dahua Technology’s solution “We are very proud that our teams are here for EPA and that companies, like EPA and Secutec, trust Dahua Technology. We continue to innovate to offer solutions that help companies to work in a safer and smarter way,” said Fermín Osorio, an Engineer at Dahua Technology Ltd.

Everbridge Control Center deployed by G4S to accelerate Abu Dhabi Global Market Square’s physical security digital transformation
Everbridge Control Center deployed by G4S to accelerate Abu Dhabi Global Market Square’s physical security digital transformation

The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square (ADGMS), located on Al Maryah Island, in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, is a high-profile, architecturally compelling business and hospitality hub. Many of the most globally prestigious companies inhabit the buildings, in the award-winning financial centre. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square ADGMS also hosts frequent international dignitaries and large-scale public events, including the Abu Dhabi national New Year’s fireworks display. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square was the first project in the UAE, to achieve LEED Core and Shell (LEED-CS) Gold pre-certification, by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square (ADGMS) consists of: 450,000 sq. m of office space, a lavish retail section and luxury business hotel offerings, 4 Grade-A commercial office towers with 30 floors each, 4 km waterfront promenade, Over 2,000 cameras, and Over 1,000 doors. Unconnected security systems and situational awareness gaps Because of its iconic status, the Abu Dhabi Global Market Square faces many unique challenges to security, including: Political pressure - Because of ADGMS’s status and frequent high-profile international visitors, any disruption to operations - be it natural disaster, activism, terror or other critical events, could cause issues on a national scale. Protection for VIPs - Regular visits from prestigious VIPs, such as sheikhs, the royal family, and global business leaders, elevates security risks and the need for executive protection. Unobtrusive security - ADGMS is a public space with tenanted offices, meaning that security must be robust, but unobtrusive and follow all global data, and privacy regulations. Physical location - Being situated on an island is an extra security risk, complicating the ability to enter and exit the space, during planned and unplanned critical events or emergencies. Architecture - The buildings in ADGMS are mostly glass, with many levels, making it difficult to secure. Previously, a number of systems were deployed to help with security and life safety, such as CCTV, access control, fire detection, and building management. However, these were not connected and left gaps in situational awareness, which ADGMS found unacceptable. In light of the above challenges, ADGMS building managers felt it essential to harden security, across the market square, within these buildings and in connecting areas. Risk intelligence & integrated control of physical assets Martin Grigg, Principal Consultant and Project Lead for PTS Middle East was selected to design and oversee the project Abu Dhabi Global Market Square approached PTS Middle East (PTS Consulting Group Ltd.), a multi-national security and digital transformation consultancy, which carried out the threat, risk and vulnerability assessment, designed the mitigation measures, and provided oversight of the installation and commissioning of the entire system. They were also tasked with ensuring that the system met the operational requirements and was fit for purpose, and proportional to the risks, faced by ADGMS. Martin Grigg, Principal Consultant and Project Lead for PTS Middle East was selected to design and oversee the project, right from concept to completion. Everbridge Control Center deployed Following the assessment, G4S, a British multi-national risk consultancy company, headquartered in the United Kingdom, was selected to deliver the project, based on its experience in helping secure many of the region’s most prestigious locations. G4S is also a global partner with Everbridge, and together, they have secured people, assets and infrastructure for numerous organisations. G4S selected Everbridge Control Center to integrate and manage all the technology, which is coming into their Security Command Centre (SCC). Everbridge Risk Center was also deployed to provide real-time threat intelligence to ADGMS. Critical issues solved by Everbridge technology: Consolidation of four control rooms into one, reducing the office space needed for security - This premium space is now free and able to be re-purposed as rentable office space, Reduction of man guarding costs, as fewer resources are needed to secure the facility, Real-time situational awareness allows for reduced risk, accelerated response times and keeps stakeholders informed, Everbridge Control Center provides event driven, unified interface and automated SOP presentation, Everbridge technology provides flexibility to adapt, as requirements change, Reduction in time taken to identify a security incident and resolve it, Intelligence from the facial recognition systems is proactively used to welcome friends and identify known criminals, Risk intelligence to identify events, such as sandstorms, allows ADGMS to act faster, enabling them to reduce the risk to people and operations, and Automated reporting capabilities save huge amounts of time and resources - A report that took 20 minutes can now be automated in seconds.