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The city of Locarno, Switzerland is safer with IP video surveillance; the new system helps the police to handle crime

Locarno reacts to the problems of vandalism with Video-Over-IP solution using Milestone Systems software and Panasonic network cameras.  In addition to many technical benefits, the surveillance provides a feeling of personal safety without being obtrusive.

"Acts of vandalism no longer have any place in our town, thanks to leading-edge technology, which provides the requisite deterrence with the utmost discretion," says Clemente Gramigna, Ing. Dipl. EPFL/SIA, Centro Informatico Comunale di Locarno.

Situation escalating

A town cannot just stand by and watch as vandalism and crime figures steadily rise - especially when the town depends on tourism and a welcoming image.  This was the realization of sunny Locarno, Switzerland, when increasing crime also included popular areas of town as a focus of vandalism.  This development undermined the feeling of personal safety for tourists and citizens alike.  The image of the town also began to suffer from these attacks.  An additional problem arose at the town's four waste depots: unauthorized refuse was being dumped on a regular basis, resulting in escalating costs.  For the town's administration, these were reasons enough to enter into cooperation with Ticino County's Information Technology Centre, the Police Department, and the Technical and Law offices, to draw up specifications for a public invitation to tender for a new security system.

Vision defined

The specification focused on safeguarding three strategic zones: the waste disposal area, high-traffic areas and the so-called ‘hot zones', which cover the historical parts of the town.  The idea was to get a surveillance system to act as a deterrent, but not to give any ‘Big Brother' feeling to the respectable citizens and visitors that could have a negative effect on the picturesque image of the Old Town.

Decision made

A dozen providers were invited to the first round of presentations for a solution.  After an assessment of the proposals, three remained on the selection list, including John Lay Electronics, part of Gruppo Sicurezza SA, with their ‘Panasonic/Milestone' solution - who were ultimately awarded the contract.  One of the key reasons was the highly professional presentation by John Lay Electronics.

The excellent picture quality of the Panasonic industrial video cameras, the simple operation of the Milestone software solution, and the professional storage solution from EMC were also decisive factors, not to mention the good price/performance ratio.  The system is scalable for the future, too, enabling easy integration of additional surveillance cameras.

Objectives met

The goals of the video surveillance system were clearly defined and fulfilled: for example, in the refuse zone, a total overview of the depot includes the integration of car license numbers of the customers, and installed in such a way that the individual cameras are vandal-proof.

Since the whole system is based 100% on Video-Over-IP, operational reliability was a major consideration when selecting the PC components; requirements that have been met without compromise by the professional storage solutions from EMC, thanks to an excellent RAID concept.

Camera and image management is handled by XProtect Enterprise from Milestone Systems, world-leading IP video surveillance software.  The unique, intuitive user interface enables the operators of the system to use it in just a few minutes with minimum training, and to find the right sequences from the constant flow of pictures in just seconds.

Setting new standards

This project marks the first time a town surveillance system completely based on IP technology has been installed in Switzerland.

"In this project, the advantages were all on our side right from the start," reports William Zatti, Area Sales Manager for John Lay Electronics.  "Firstly, because we have the know-how and the products to plan and realize a solution of such major importance; secondly, because our Panasonic network cameras set us apart from our competitors on one essential issue: They were developed and designed explicitly for industrial application."

Technical components

  • 20 Panasonic WV-NW470 Fix-Dome cameras
  • 4 Panasonic WV-CW860 Dome cameras
  • 4 Axis 2415 video servers
  • 1 Panasonic WV-NP472 stationary camera
  • 1 EMC CLARiiON AX100 storage system, 2.25 terabytes
  • 1 HP Pro Liant ML380R server rack
  • 1 Compaq dx6100 client server
  • 4 View Sonic VP201B 20" monitors
  • Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance management software
  • Milestone XProtect Remote Client for viewing live and recorded images remotely

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