Download PDF version Contact company
 

The Dahl Auto Plaza in Winona, Minnesota is part of an auto dynasty that first began in 1911, when Andrew H. Dahl began selling Ford Model T’s out of his general store in Westby, Wisconsin. The company is in its fifth generation of Dahl family ownership with over a century of growth behind it.

Today Dahl operates three dealership campuses throughout the Midwestern United States that are home to Subaru, Hyundai, Mazda, Toyota, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ford, and Lincoln automobile franchises. During the construction of the Dahl Auto Plaza in Winona, the installation of a video surveillance system was a required part of the planning. AV Costar became the go-to manufacturer for all the dealership’s surveillance cameras.

Video surveillance system challenge

Winona’s Dahl is home to three different dealerships on a single campus — Chevy, Toyota, and the Dahl Used Car Express Service Centre. The company needed a comprehensive video surveillance system to monitor its parking lots and service bays for traffic, customer flow, vehicle flow, vandalism, and theft. With a desired 15-16 camera limit to cover such a large amount of space, cameras with high image quality and flexibility were essential to the surveillance system’s success.

No other camera manufacturer could compete with the price and performance of the AV Costar Omni series

AV Costar Try-and-Buy programme 

The implementation of AV Costar megapixel cameras at Dahl Winona began with the use of AV Costar’s Try-and-Buy programme at the recommendation of Russ Neitzke, President and Founder of systems integrator Digicom, Inc. Cameras selected for a Try-and-Buy trial can be returned by the systems integrator for a full refund of the purchase price if the customer is unsatisfied.

SurroundVideo Omni unique design

The only cameras considered for the Dahl video surveillance system were AV Costar SurroundVideo Omni models after they were tested. “No other camera manufacturer could compete with the price and performance of the AV Costar Omni series,” Mr. Neitzke said. “As a result, no other surveillance camera manufacturers were recommended by Digicom, Inc. or would be able to so effectively cover the 15 acres of new and used vehicle display, public access, and vehicle service areas at the new Dahl Auto Plaza.”

The SurroundVideo Omni series features a unique, patented 360o track design. Each camera includes four individual megapixel (MP) sensors mounted in multi-axis gimbals that can be independently placed and aimed in nearly any configuration, allowing coverage to be highly customised to specific project requirements.

With features like remote focus in the SurroundVideo Omni G2, interchangeable lenses and high-resolution capabilities (12 and 20MP) in both G1 and G2 series models, the versatility of this camera family is unmatched.

For large open spaces such as those found at the Dahl campus, the SurroundVideo Omni series provides high resolution, omni-directional video in a rugged, low profile enclosure suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The cameras are IK-10 impact resistant and IP66 environmental rated against dust and water, making them ideal for Dahl’s requirements.

Reduced need for multiple cameras

Most critical for Dahl were the SurroundVideo Omni series benefits of low maintenance, high video resolution, and the ability to reduce the number of cameras required for full situational awareness throughout the campus. The SurroundVideo Omni 12MP models selected include Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology, which aids in producing high quality, clear images even in challenging light situations.

the implementation of Arecont Vision megapixel cameras at Dahl Winona began with the use of Arecont Vision's try-and-buy program
The SurroundVideo Omni reduces the need for multiple cameras to cover open spaces, saving the customer money

The SurroundVideo Omni reduces the need for multiple cameras to cover open spaces, saving the customer money on both camera cost and installation requirements. Without the need for the constantly moving parts of a legacy Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera, there are no parts, gears, belts, or motors to wear out and to require maintenance in the SurroundVideo Omni series. This reduces ongoing operational costs.

With Digicom Inc. designing the surveillance and installation plans, Dahl was in good hands. Dahl selected the SurroundVideo Omni series, reaping the significant benefit of reduced installation time. Each sensor gimbal in a SurroundVideo Omni is magnetically set in place around the 70+ placement-point omnidirectional track and then quickly locked down during installation.

This makes it easy for the installer to arrange an ideal coverage layout. Another significant selling point for Dahl was that each SurroundVideo Omni camera requires only a single IP category 5 PoE (Power over Ethernet) cable, which reduces both complexity and installation cost.

ExacqVision VMS

Dahl can monitor the surveillance system locally, corporate-wide, and on various smartphones and tablets. AV Costar Technology Partner Program member ExacqVision is utilised for the video management system (VMS). A single ExacqVision VMS licence is required for each SurroundVideo Omni camera, while providing four high-definition video views.

AV Costar cameras are certified with ExacqVision and the VMS is installed in the AV Costar MegaLab™ to enable ongoing collaboration between the two companies and to ensure the best possible integration and support for customers. 

Dahl can monitor the surveillance system locally, corporate-wide, and on various smartphones and tablets

Arecont success at Dahl

The AV Costar SurroundVideo Omni cameras at Dahl have been a great success, with high customer satisfaction. “Basically,” Mr. Neitzke stated, “The coverage that you get with the SurroundVideo Omni is really like buying four cameras in one.” Being able to effectively cover Dahl’s range of campus requirements with fewer cameras and lower purchase, installation, and operational costs meant that AV Costar has hit all the required marks for this project, according to Mr. Neitzke.

The system has performed incredibly well, with few issues from the end-user. On the rare occasion when an issue has popped up, the AV Costar team has been responsive to the customer’s needs, providing technical support, advanced replacements, or any other kind of assistance Dahl has needed for the surveillance system.

Future projects

AV Costar and Dahl are now planning a second, even larger project at Dahl’s campus in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dahl plans on upgrading this campus with a new surveillance system for indoor and outdoor spaces with AV Costar cameras. Digicom, Inc. and the AV Costar Field Application Engineering groups are developing a campus-wide plan for this next project.

SurroundVideo Omni will be ready to be deployed yet again whenever Dahl needs it.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses
Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses

Imagine a world where video cameras are not just watching and reporting for security, but have an even wider positive impact on our lives. Imagine that cameras control street and building lights, as people come and go, that traffic jams are predicted and vehicles are automatically rerouted, and more tills are opened, just before a queue starts to form. Cameras with AI capabilities Cameras in stores can show us how we might look in the latest outfit as we browse. That’s the vision from Panasonic about current and future uses for their cameras that provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the edge. Panasonic feels that these types of intelligent camera applications are also the basis for automation and introduction of Industry 4.0, in which processes are automated, monitored and controlled by AI-driven systems. 4K network security cameras The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications Panasonic’s 4K network security cameras have built-in AI capabilities suitable for this next generation of intelligent applications in business and society. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications. The AI engine is directly embedded into the camera, thus reducing costs and Panasonic’s image quality ensures the accuracy of the analytics outcome. FacePRO facial recognition technology Panasonic began advancing AI technology on the server side with FacePRO, the in-house facial recognition application, which uses AI deep learning capabilities. Moving ahead, they transitioned their knowledge of AI from the server side to the edge, introducing i-PRO security cameras with built-in AI capabilities last summer, alongside their own in-house analytics. Moreover, in line with the Panasonic approach to focus more on collaboration with specialist AI software developers, a partnership with Italian software company, A.I. Tech followed in September, with a range of intelligent applications, partially based on deep learning. Additional collaborations are already in place with more than 10 other developers, across the European Union, working on more future applications. i-PRO AI-capable security cameras Open systems are an important part of Panasonic’s current approach. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable cameras are an open platform and designed for third-party application development, therefore, applications can be built or tailored to the needs of an individual customer. Panasonic use to be a company that developed everything in-house, including all the analytics and applications. “However, now we have turned around our strategy by making our i-PRO security cameras open to integrate applications and analytics from third-party companies,” says Gerard Figols, Head of Security Solutions at Panasonic Business Europe. Flexible and adapting to specific customer needs This new approach allows the company to be more flexible and adaptable to customers’ needs. “At the same time, we can be quicker and much more tailored to the market trend,” said Gerard Figols. He adds, “For example, in the retail space, enabling retailers to enhance the customer experience, in smart cities for traffic monitoring and smart parking, and by event organisers and transport hubs to monitor and ensure safety.” Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems Edge-based analytics Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems. On one hand, there are monetary benefits - a cost reduction results from the decreased amount of more powerful hardware required on the server side to process the data, on top of reduction in the infrastructure costs, as not all the full video stream needs to be sent for analysis, we can work solely with the metadata. On the other hand, there are also advantages of flexibility, as well as reliability. Each camera can have its own individual analytic setup and in case of any issue on the communication or server side, the camera can keep running the analysis at the edge, thereby making sure the CCTV system is still fully operational. Most importantly, systems can keep the same high level of accuracy. Explosion of AI camera applications We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications" “We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications,” said Gerard Figols, adding “However, it doesn’t mean the hardware is not important anymore, as I believe it’s more important than ever. Working with poor picture quality or if the hardware is not reliable, and works 24/7, software cannot run or deliver the outcome it has been designed for.” As hardware specialists, Figols believes that Panasonic seeks to focus on what they do best - Building long-lasting, open network cameras, which are capable of capturing the highest quality images that are required for the latest AI applications, while software developers can concentrate on bringing specialist applications to the market. Same as for smartphones, AI applications will proliferate based on market demand and succeed or fail, based on the value that they deliver. Facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line technologies Panasonic has been in the forefront in developing essential AI applications for CCTV, such as facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line. However, with the market developing so rapidly and the potential applications of AI-driven camera systems being so varied and widespread, Panasonic quickly realised that the future of their network cameras was going to be in open systems, which allow specialist developers and their customers to use their sector expertise to develop their own applications for specific vertical market applications, while using i-PRO hardware. Metadata for detection and recognition Regarding privacy, consider that the use of AI in cameras is about generating metadata for the detection and recognition of patterns, rather than identifying individual identities. “However, there are legitimate privacy concerns, but I firmly believe that attitudes will change quickly when people see the incredible benefits that this technology can deliver,” said Gerard Figols, adding “I hope that we will be able to redefine our view of cameras and AI, not just as insurance, but as life advancing and enhancing.” i-PRO AI Privacy Guard One of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard Seeking to understand and appreciate privacy concerns, one of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard that generates data without capturing individual identities, following European privacy regulations that are among the strictest in the world. Gerard Fogils said, “The combination of artificial intelligence and the latest generation open camera technology will change the world’s perceptions from Big Brother to Big Benefits. New applications will emerge as the existing generation of cameras is updated to the new open and intelligent next generation devices, and the existing role of the security camera will also continue.” Future scope of AI and cameras He adds, “Not just relying on the security cameras for evidence when things have gone wrong, end users will increasingly be able to use AI and the cameras with much higher accuracy to prevent false alarms and in a proactive way to prevent incidents." Gerard Fogils concludes, “That could be monitoring and alerting when health and safety guidelines are being breached or spotting and flagging patterns of suspicious behaviour before incidents occur.”

What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?
What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?

Serving customer needs is the goal of most commerce in the physical security market. Understanding those needs requires communication and nuance, and there are sometimes surprises along the way. But in every surprising revelation – and in every customer interaction – there is opportunity to learn something valuable that can help to serve the next customer’s needs more effectively. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what was the best lesson you ever learned from a security end user customer?

What is the impact of remote working on security?
What is the impact of remote working on security?

During the coronavirus lockdown, employees worked from home in record numbers. But the growing trend came with a new set of security challenges. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of the transition to remote working/home offices on the security market?