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Network / IP - Case Studies

Fluidmesh’s wireless transmission system assists lifeguards in beach surveillance

Wireless surveillance solution from Fluidmesh assists in beach security
Imperial beach now has PTZ cameras and wireless infrastructure installed

Lifeguards at Imperial Beach in San Diego, California were facing failing analogue telephone lines and escalating lease line charges on their critical tower telecommunications system. In addition, they were hard pressed to adequately monitor a 50-yard-long section of shoreline after a portable tower was removed from the area during an improvement project in 2009. That section of the beach, although vulnerable to dangerous riptides, draws a large crowd. The blind spot that resulted for lifeguards when the tower was removed presented a safety concern as swimmers could easily go undetected into that stretch of beach and be overcome by the currents.


Installing a high speed, wireless infrastructure to support VoIP communications and video backhauls provided a cost-effective, high performance foundation for solving all of the issues. VoIP telephone links provided high quality, secure voice communication between the dispatch supervisor and the individual lifeguards, eliminating lease line costs being spent for the lifeguard towers every month as well as hundreds of man hours of annual line maintenance time. A high-definition, video camera for the area of the beach that was out of eye's view alleviated the safety concern and extended the ability of the lifeguards to fulfil their mission.

The dispatch tower is situated in the middle of the pier and looks back to the beach providing the lifeguards with a good bird's eye view of all the swimmers in the water. This new method of dispatch allows them to communicate situations such as swimmers in riptide, riptides moving up and down coast, stingray attacks and all types of events they need to be aware of to perform their jobs effectively.

Project description at a glance:

Imperial Beach has six portable and two permanent lifeguard towers covering about one mile of beach. The city's four full-time and 50 part-time lifeguards made 960 rescues in 2009.

After a bidding and review process, the project was awarded and started in April 2010. The integrator selected was TemeCom, Inc. Based in Temecula, California, TemeCom provides customised products and services focused on telecommunications, dispatch, and wireless voice and monitoring applications.
Fluidmesh’s wireless transmission system assists lifeguards in ensuring safety of beach lovers
The Wireless Lifeguard Tower Station at Imperial Beach was successfully activated and put into operation in June

TemeCom integrators note that: "The site lent itself beautifully to a wireless solution. Everything is situated within a one mile stretch of beach with an unobstructed line of sight."

Making use of the southern California sun, the tower systems are 100% solar powered. The wireless system allows Imperial Beach to get rid of their old copper lines that were tethered to the towers. Now they have the flexibility to move the towers as required without having to trench and lay new cable.

The wireless system is a combination of point-to-multipoint and point-to-point networks. It provides the data stream for TemeCom's LTS (Lifeguard Telecommunications System) with integrated VoIP, Video, and digital dispatch technology. The major equipment utilised on this project includes the Fluidmesh 2200 Endo, Fluidmesh 2100 Endo, Fluidmesh 1100, FluidThrottle, an IP-based, high-definition PTZ camera, and the TemeCom LTS.

The Wireless Lifeguard Tower Station at Imperial Beach was successfully activated and put into operation in June. This represents a major effort by Temecom in conjunction with Fluidmesh to demonstrate the reliability, ease of maintenance and flexibility of a wireless infrastructure in an active Lifeguard Dispatch operation and is the first of its kind on the West coast.

"Fluidmesh provided the optimum performance over price ratio with their selectable bandwidth option," TemeCom co-founders Chris Smith and Kirk Williams concur.

"We could keep the per tower cost to a minimum by choosing a lower bandwidth for the VoIP communications and at the same time provide the high speed video link and bridge backhaul where needed."

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