Milestone Systems, an open platform company for IP video management software (VMS), is the technology that Alaska’s Anchorage School District has implemented for a district-wide, networked security monitoring system to address rising vandalism such as broken windows and recurring playground fires at elementary schools.
Monitoring previously unseen areas
“After we installed the first set of network cameras, the system quickly received a lot of positive use, and we started getting requests for expanded capabilities,” said Kelly Kass, Project Manager, Anchorage School District. “With the video, people could monitor areas of the schools they were not able to see before.”
Serving the South/central Alaska communities of Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak and Girdwood, Anchorage School District encompasses almost 2,000 square miles. With more than 48,500 students across 130 schools and programmes, it is also among the largest and most geographically dispersed districts in the United States.
Vandalism decreased; overview gained
With the very first installations the district saw a reduction in vandalism, and they recorded some incidents that helped with suspect identification. However, it was the overall increased situational awareness that deemed the initial operations a success. Administrators decided to install more cameras and build a more capable video management system overall.
The Milestone platform was selected based on a range of factors including ease of use, number of devices supported, expert technical support, reliable performance and cost evaluation. By the end of 2016 the district had installed 50 Milestone systems. As funding becomes available, they continue to upgrade and progress in more schools.
“The old DVR system was very cumbersome, but the Milestone VMS is intuitive - it’s easy to access the video,” said Kass.
|With the very first installations the district saw a reduction in vandalism, and they recorded some incidents that helped with suspect identification|
To address bandwidth issues, the systems are leveraging Milestone Federated Architecture for the school servers, keeping all of the recorded video on site but allowing administrators to access the connected systems from a single, central location, no matter where they are on the network.
Over the last three years, the district has deployed 1,270 Milestone device licences with a total projected scope targeted at 2,700 cameras in the future. The district’s policy is to keep recorded video for 30 days with individual schools archiving events as needed.
High school graduates to IP
The A.J. Dimond High School is one of eight comprehensive high schools in the Anchorage School District, home to approximately 1,750 students and over 150 faculty and staff. After an extensive upgrade and facility expansion, administrators and integrators took advantage of the school’s updated infrastructure and pathways to install the Milestone IP video security system.
Officer Mark Wells is the School Resource Officer for A.J. Dimond High School, who works on-site to reduce juvenile crime through law enforcement, education, and prevention programmes. He uses Milestone video surveillance at the school on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Officer Wells has a great deal of appreciation for the system’s ease of use.
“I monitor several different systems, but from a usability perspective, they’re all pretty close to the same,” said Wells. “The systems are all Milestone-based, so I'm very comfortable going to each school, accessing their video, navigating the system, and researching events. The system is intuitive enough that I can navigate and use each system.”
Wells added that the system’s easy search mode saves all the administrators a great deal of time. From locating missing equipment to errant students, the video surveillance system has become an invaluable tool.