Located within 10 miles of the U.S.A. - Mexico border on the southern tip of Texas, Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) serves most of the cities of Harlingen and Palm Valley, the towns of Combes and Primera, and portions of unincorporated Cameron County, including the communities of Las Palmas-Juarez and Lasana.

Over 18,000 students are enrolled in 29 schools across these communities. The school system has seventeen elementary schools, five middle schools, a ninth grade academy, two comprehensive high schools, a medical high school, an early college high school, and two alternative high schools.

Four-year IP surveillance migration plan

High-quality video is required to identify and prevent incidents, as well as to provide detailed information to law enforcement and first responders in case of an emergency. Harlingen CISD’s analogue system was unable to deliver high resolution images, leaving district schools with un-actionable video. Other deficiencies of the system included image instability, limited network accessibility across the district, and inadequate storage capacity to support additional cameras for increased coverage.

Recognising the shortcomings of its analogue system, Harlingen CISD developed a four-year migration plan to replace it with an IP surveillance system.

Arecont Vision megapixel solution

After an extensive RFP (Request for Proposals) process, Harlingen CISD contracted with Calence Physical Security Solutions, LLC, headquartered in Austin, Texas. A local Calence branch in nearby McAllen, Texas delivered the video system upgrade project. Harlingen CISD selected Arecont Vision®, which provided the best combination of high-quality video and a competitive price point for megapixel cameras. Exacq Technologies was selected as the video management system (VMS) software, network video recorder and system health monitoring provider.

The first phase of the upgrade was for two high schools, one middle school, and the ninth-grade academy. Included as well was the district’s new 15-acre agricultural farm, where students have the opportunity to learn to work with and care for animals.

“We’ve been very impressed with the quality of the video provided
by the Arecont Vision® cameras, which is a significant upgrade
"

Over 180 Arecont Vision® MegaDome® 2, MegaView®, and SurroundVideo® IP megapixel cameras were installed in these five locations. Local security officers monitor video from the cameras using the exacqVision Enterprise VMS software and exacqVision Enterprise System Manager (ESM). From ESM, school security officers can easily monitor the server and system health including camera connections. exacqVision ESM ensures video is properly recording from each Arecont Vision® camera.

The high-quality video and expanded coverage area provided by the Arecont Vision® cameras allows the district security personnel to zoom in on live and recorded images. This enables the security personnel to identify individuals involved in an incident and to review what may have precipitated the incident. These benefits can be achieved without affecting overall coverage and without sacrifices in image quality.

Remote network access

The Arecont Vision® cameras installed at Harlingen CISD can be accessed district-wide via the network. Instead of having to physically travel to a location to view video following an event, security personnel can access any Arecont Vision® camera and exacqVision Z-Series recorder on the network remotely through the exacqVision client or mobile app.

The increased storage capacity of the new system accommodates larger video archives. This allows security personnel to retrieve and view forensic video recorded by the Arecont Vision® cameras from the period before an event occurs to aid in investigations.

“We’ve been very impressed with the quality of the video provided by the Arecont Vision® cameras, which is a significant upgrade over the previous system. Their stability and ease of use further contribute to our overall satisfaction with this new system,” says Ken Lee, Administrator for District Operations, Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District.

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

BCDVideo signs OEM deal with Dell EMC: positive impact for surveillance storage
BCDVideo signs OEM deal with Dell EMC: positive impact for surveillance storage

In a significant move for the video security market, BCDVideo has announced that it is set to become Dell EMC’s OEM partner in the video surveillance space. For nearly a decade, the Chicago-based company has been known as a key OEM partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), providing storage and networking technology to security integrators on a global scale. This latest partnership will allow BCDVideo to take their offerings to the next level. BCDVideo Vice President Tom Larson spoke to SourceSecurity.com to discuss the reasoning behind the deal, and how the programme will benefit partners, integrators, and end-users alike. Expanding BCDVideo's product offering For BCDVideo, the HPE OEM programme has been widely acknowledged as a success, allowing the company to leverage a globally recognised brand and provide high-quality, reliable solutions across video networking and access control. Nevertheless, explains Larson, HPE server solutions are primarily suited to large-scale enterprise projects, and are therefore unable to accommodate for the growth in small- and medium-sized surveillance applications. The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering, building on success in the larger enterprise market to offer tailored solutions to SMEs. Our aim is to look at all best of breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships” Support for integrators By leveraging Dell EMC’s sophisticated digital storage platforms, BCDVideo will now be able to offer a more cost-effective solution to integrators, without sacrificing the resilience and IT-level service that BCDVideo is known for. With access to Dell EMC’s expansive global sales and technical teams, the company hopes to expand its reach, all-the-while providing partners with around-the-clock technical support and a five-year on-site warranty. Customers should be reassured that BCDVideo will continue to offer HPE platforms, service, and support. “Our aim is to look at all best-of-breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships,” says Larson.  “The addition of Dell EMC to our portfolio is a major win for BCDVideo, for Dell EMC, and for our integrators.” The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering Meeting surveillance market demands At the technology level, assures Larson, Dell EMC’s server offering is well suited to handle the increasing video resolution and growing camera count demanded by the surveillance industry. At the larger end of the spectrum, the company’s Isilon Scale-Out NAS solution can handle tens of petabytes of data, making it ideal for large-scale security applications such as city-wide surveillance and airport security. Dell EMC storage solutions are already proving successful at major international airports including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, each with a camera count in the 1000s.Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market” For Dell EMC, the new partnership means the ability to expand on this success in the enterprise market, leveraging BCDVideo’s surveillance expertise and high-level customer service to offer tailored solutions for lower-volume applications. Since its inception, BCDVideo has differentiated itself in the security space by providing a high level of IT service to integrators making the transition to IP systems. By combining resources, the partners will be able to service VMS and analytics companies, software vendors, and access control providers, as well as traditional business integrators. Ken Mills, General Manager Dell EMC Surveillance, explains: “Surveillance storage is not just about capacity, it is also about performance and reliability. Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market.” Accomodating for growth BCDVideo is well placed to accommodate this anticipated growth. Last year, the company opened a new 51,000-square-foot global headquarters in Illinois, home to 90 separate stations within their Innovation Center where each system is customised according to integrator needs. The new facility allows for expanding business with new and existing partners in the security market.

How to manage physical security data in compliance with EU GDPR
How to manage physical security data in compliance with EU GDPR

Until recently, data laws have differed from one country to the next. This meant that for those organisations conducting business or protecting assets abroad, they needed to localise both their infrastructure and policies dependant on the country they were operating in. However, with the impending arrival of the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which comes in to force on the 25th May this year, all of that will need to change. Data management in CCTV surveillance Surprisingly, despite the fact that much has been written about the impending EU GDPR, very little attention has been devoted to the process of ensuring compliance for the operation of video surveillance, access control and other physical security systems. The EU GDPR dictates that businesses adhere to specific governance and accountability standards with regards to the processing of all data. As this includes such a large scope of data, any public or even private organisation using CCTV to monitor publicly-accessible areas must pay attention, as monitoring the public on a large scale is by default considered a high-risk activity. This includes information that shows who a person is, where they are and any other specifics about them.We have seen organisations defining corporate standards for their physical security systems based around IT standards and technologies According to numerous market research studies, many organisations are yet to take the necessary steps in order to review the new regulations and ensure the necessary changes are made to meet these obligations. To date, we have seen organisations defining corporate standards for their physical security systems based around IT standards and technologies. With the implementation deadline of the new regulations fast approaching, these should be in a better state of readiness, with standardised processes, common organisational approach and technology. Enhancing industry awareness of compliance  What’s more, a lot of legacy systems or disparate systems are still out there, and these may still have been entirely commissioned and operated by location-specific security teams. Regardless as to where your organisation stands in terms of technology, it is important to participate in the GDPR review with a greater sense of urgency.  The EU GDPR dictates that businesses adhere to specific governance and accountability standards with regards to the processing of all data Tony Porter, the UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner, has been incredibly vocal in recent months with regards to making security system operators aware that their activities will be subject to the GDPR and to signpost them to relevant guidance from the ICO. For those actively seeking to ensure their businesses are compliant, his organisation’s independent third-party certification is a great place to start. However, with just a few months until the regulation comes into force, it is unfortunate that his organisation is not yet in a position to confirm this will be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the EU GDPR. Ensuring regulatory preparedness With this being said, there are still a number of steps organisations can take to ensure they are well-prepared when the law comes into play: Get involved in the GDPR discussion If you haven’t already, proactively initiate a GDPR discussion with your legal team and ask for their guidance. Conduct a gap analysis to identify what works and what might require improvement in accordance with the new regulation. Then engage your consultants, integrators and manufacturers who should be able to advise on appropriate solutions. In the vast majority of cases, it should be possible to upgrade the existing system rather than ‘rip out and replace’.The appropriate use of encryption and automated privacy tools is a logical step Adopt privacy by design Under the terms of the EU GDPR, data that is anonymised or pseudonymised is likely to be low-risk. The appropriate use of encryption and automated privacy tools is therefore a logical step. For example, video redaction that blurs out people’s faces in video unless there is a legitimate reason to reveal their identity can minimise the dangers of having security cameras deployed in public spaces. Seek out certified and sanctioned organisations, such as the European Privacy Seal group ‘EuroPriSe’, a professional organisation whose purpose is to ensure companies meet the ‘GDPR-ready’ privacy compliance standards. Consider cloud-based services Owners of on-premises video surveillance, access control or ANPR systems are responsible for all aspects of EU GDPR compliance, including securing access to the systems and servers storing the information. However, by working with an approved cloud provider it is possible to offload some of these responsibilities. For example, we partner with Microsoft Azure to offer these systems ‘as a service’. This pathway significantly reduces the customer’s scope of activities required to ensure compliance and is highly cost-effective. Yet it is important to realise it isn’t a full abdication of responsibility. You remain accountable for ensuring data is classified correctly and share responsibility for managing users and end-point devices.  With data laws changing around the world, businesses need to seriously consider how their security technology investments will help them manage risks in order to keep pace. With the GDPR deadline approaching, it is the ideal time to re-evaluate practices, partner with forward-thinking vendors and adopt technologies that will help meet privacy and data protection laws. This way, businesses can minimise risk, avoid costly penalties and be ready for anything.

How should your security company measure total cost of ownership (TCO)?
How should your security company measure total cost of ownership (TCO)?

How much does a security system cost? We all know that total costs associated with systems are substantially higher than the “price tag.” There are many elements, tangible and intangible, that contribute to the costs of owning and operating a system. Taking a broad view and finding ways to measure these additional costs enables integrators and users to get the most value from a system at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). However, measuring TCO can be easier said than done. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable to share the benefit of their collective expertise on the subject. Specifically, we asked: How should integrators and/or end users measure total cost of ownership (TCO) when quantifying the value of security systems?