The challenge

In light of increasing violence at schools across the country, Onondaga Central School District decided to put a preventative security strategy in place to help protect its school property, 1,000 students and 180 faculty. The school’s administration knew there were many security products and systems available, each proclaiming to be the best in its own right, and wanted to be sure they selected the right approach. Robert Sauro, Director of Technology for Onondaga Central School District, said, “One of our strategic planning goals was to have a safe and secure environment on school property. We had no security survelliance systems on school grounds and we wanted to remedy this without realizing a significant increase in costs.”

Fortuitously, in March 2009, at the same time Onondaga Central School District administration was determining what approach they would take, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was making approximately $16 million available in grants to help improve school security. Superintendent Joseph Rotella learned of the program and successfully secured a grant to cover 50 percent of the total cost of implementing a security system across the district’s three elementary schools.

Sauro recalls, "When Superintendent Rotella obtained the grant, it quickly put our school district on the right track. The district decided to purchase security cameras for the schools. However, our next challenge was to find the best cameras for us — we wanted something that provided proactive protection but they did not require a lot of overhead. We wanted to be alerted to potential security threats before they happened, yet didn’t want a complex system with multiple parts that require specialists to implement and maintain. And we wanted something that worked with our existing network infrastructure but would not be a burden for our small IT staff.”  

The solution

After evaluating a number of video surveillance solutions, the Onondaga Central School District ultimately chose the VideoIQ iCVR, the world’s first and only video surveillance camera with a built-in DVR. The VideoIQ iCVR combines automated event detection, a built-in DVR and integrated video management into a single solution — all driven by next-generation analytics.

Sauro said, “We chose the iCVR because of its ease of implementation but also because of its analytic capabilities that identify and pinpoint security threats. When the iCVR detects a possible security issue, it automatically sends a video clip to designated administrators’ e-mail or cell phones so that we can evaluate and respond to the situation. The fact that we can proactively curtail any potential problems, before something serious happens, is invaluable to us.”

There are currently 24 iCVR cameras installed across the three schools, and the district is already considering expansion

Other features of the iCVR that were evaluated included the product’s built-in DVR. Unlike other video cameras that require the separate purchase of a DVR, the iCVR comes complete with one already built-in. Additionally, the iCVR’s ability to store all video at the edge and intelligently control storage resolution based on what it sees requires minimal bandwidth upgrades — saving time, energy and money. Up to two months worth of video can be stored.

“We were also impressed by how easy the system is to use, including the free software that comes with the camera. Once the camera is installed, it automatically calibrates and gets smarter with each object it detects. Its ability to identify when someone is loitering or crosses onto school grounds is critical to ensuring the safety of our property and students. The Object Search capability is a great feature — we can search through recorded video and find a car or person in seconds all with the click of a mouse.” 

The result

There are currently 24 iCVR cameras installed across the three schools, and the district is already considering expansion. “We are always planning ahead to make improvements to our schools,” said Sauro. Most importantly, Onondaga Central School District now has the means to monitor for and record any incidents that occur on its property. The iCVR’s capability to search through recorded video and find a person of interest within seconds can speed investigations exponentially. “Having a secure environment for our students and staff is always our top priority and the VideoIQ iCVR helps ensure this.”

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