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Arecont Vision network megapixel cameras secure non-profit organisation Heifer International

Published on 24 April, 2012
Arecont Vision's favor was the cameras' compatibility with leading network video recorder (NVR) platforms
The new Arecont Vision IP cameras at Heifer International provides surveillance for three buildings


Heifer International in Little Rock, Arkansas, works with communities globally to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. Heifer provides gifts of livestock and training to help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. The non-profit organisation refers to the animals as "living loans" because, in exchange for their livestock and training, each family agrees to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need. Heifer's impressive World Headquarters facility in Little Rock blends art and eco-friendly innovation and serves as a testament to its purpose and desire to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. The layout of the building allows natural light in, and sensors adjust lighting for overcast days and night. Heifer's headquarters maintains the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Heifer International was expanding its campus and needed a surveillance system in a new warehouse. When designing the system, it was impossible to ignore the flaws of the existing system. The previous analogue system had been problematic and expensive to maintain as well as poorly designed and implemented. The customer sought a solution based on better technology to address surveillance needs both in the new construction and to upgrade the existing system. Four weeks of additional consulting and design were invested to ensure the new system would be effective.

Megapixel solution:

When choosing IP-based cameras, the end-user and integrator considered multiple well-known suppliers of image technology before deciding on Arecont Vision to provide megapixel cameras for the new surveillance system. Especially attractive were Arecont Vision's image quality and panoramic view functionality as well as the well-designed camera software. Another point in Arecont Vision's favour was the cameras' compatibility with leading network video recorder (NVR) platforms, which provided flexibility to meet the customer's needs.“Analog solutions are not in our arsenal,” said Zachary Wirges, President, Genesis Datacom LLC, the integrator. “In today's world, IT professionals are making the decisions for security in their environments. We want to make sure we provide a solution that is IT-friendly, and rich with features that make sense to IT staffers.”

“Arecont Vision provided the most robust features, and the panoramic options are beyond impressive,” said Mr. Wirges

Genesis Datacom is a new player in the structured cabling arena, but the company's staff members average 15 years of experience as reflected in their certifications and impressive portfolios. The company emphasises stellar service to clients – no shortcuts allowed – and seeks to be the premier integrator of structured cabling systems and IP technology in the state of Arkansas. The company's focus does not stop at the “jack” but extends to providing solid, applicable IP solutions, including Arecont Vision megapixel cameras that are “edge devices” on the network.

The new system at Heifer International provides surveillance for three buildings, and cameras are monitored by a central guard station. The IP-based system also makes it possible for multiple departments to monitor their areas, according to Tom Spinnato, Facilities/IT Specialist, Heifer International.

“Arecont Vision provided the most robust features, and the panoramic options are beyond impressive,” said Mr. Wirges. “The customer easily perceived the quality of the product, which allowed performance and versatility to be the focus of the design rather than price.” Mr. Wirges and Neil Jones designed the video system and performed the installation.

At Heifer International, three Arecont Vision AV8185DN SurroundVideo Day/Night 8-megapixel H.264 cameras are now being used. The cost-effective cameras are designed for applications where mechanical pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) devices might otherwise be used or where multiple cameras would be needed to view expansive areas. Each SurroundVideo camera incorporates surface-mount and in-ceiling mounting options, an IP66-rated environmental chassis and a 5.5 inch polycarbonate dome that needs no external housing.

Arecont Vision Model AV8185DN is an 8 megapixel, 180-degree panoramic H.264 IP camera that incorporates four 2 megapixel CMOS image sensors that can be switched between day and night manually or automatically to provide 6400 x 1200-pixel panoramic images at 5.5 frames-per-second (fps). The panoramic view can also be set at lower resolutions to provide faster frame rates, such as 1600 x 1200-pixel images at 22 fps or 800 x 600-pixel images at 88 fps. Low-light sensitivity is 0.2 lux at F2.0. The 180-degree panoramic camera can substitute for up to 24 analogue cameras. Features include image cropping and up to four regions of interest.

In addition, Heifer International uses an Arecont Vision AV365DN camera, which is a SurroundVideo Day/Night 8-megapixel H.264 camera providing 360-degree panoramic views. Other features are similar to the AV8185DN.

The picture quality and digital zoom capabilities of Arecont Vision cameras far exceed analogue technology and allow Heifer International to retrieve usable video

Also used at Heifer is the Arecont Vision AV2825IR camera, a full-HD mode, 1080p H.264 MegaView IP camera that includes an IR illuminator. The megapixel camera is enclosed in an all-in-one IP66 (environmentally rated) and vandal-resistant cylindrical (bullet-style) housing. The camera also includes a 4.5-10mm IR-corrected vari-focal lens, and the IR illuminator has 48 infrared LEDs for a 25-meter (82-foot) IR distance. The camera provides up to 24 frames-per-second in 1080p mode, and has an embedded heater and blower.

Other Arecont Vision cameras incorporated into the Heifer International system include two Arecont Vision AV3155DN cameras, each a 3-megapixel H.264 network (IP) MegaDome integrated camera, lens and IP66-rated dome providing 2048 x 1536-pixel images at 15 fps and 0.2 lux light sensitivity at F1.4. Features of the all-in-one integrated camera, lens and housing include a 1/2” CMOS sensor and Arecont Vision's MegaVideo image processing at 80 billion operations per second. The camera employs H.264 (MPEG 4, Part 10) compression to minimise bandwidth and storage requirements while maintaining real-time image resolution. The day/night model (DN) features a motorised IR cut filter.

Finally, four Arecont Vision AV1355 H.264 MegaDome IP cameras provide 1.3 megapixel (1280 x 1024-pixel) images at 32 frames per second in an integrated all-in-one camera, lens and dome. The cameras have features similar to the other models. Light sensitivity of 0.1 lux at F1.4 enables low-light viewing and recording.

The cameras all use power-over-Ethernet (PoE), and there are fibre connections between network switches. Two Gateway GW-500 systems by Next Level Security Systems provide analytics and network video recording.

Megapixel benefits:

The increased image quality of megapixel video played the largest role in solving surveillance system issues at Heifer International. Expanded coverage areas and day/night options of Arecont Vision cameras also contribute to a successful and effective new system.

Image detail at the forensic level gives Heifer International the confidence in their surveillance system they previously lacked. “We can now see areas of the campus that were not previously addressed and acquire the necessary information to address whatever event occurs,” said Mr. Wirges. “The system can clearly deliver faces, license plates, vehicle details, physical details and even capture video in low light.”

The picture quality and digital zoom capabilities of Arecont Vision cameras far exceed analogue technology and allow Heifer International to retrieve usable video. Combined with recent cost reductions in NVR storage and network switches, the use of fewer cameras allows Heifer to transition to high-quality video at a minimum cost.

Megapixel imaging represents a significant upgrade in system functionality compared to standard-resolution cameras

Megapixel imaging represents a significant upgrade in system functionality compared to standard-resolution cameras. In addition to lower bandwidth and storage requirements, megapixel cameras can dramatically decrease costs related to other elements of a system, such as fewer software licenses, fewer lenses, and a decrease in man-hours needed to install the system.

Arecont Vision collaborates with various NVR suppliers such as Next Level Security Systems to ensure smooth integration of systems using Arecont Vision megapixel cameras. Arecont Vision also works with technology partners for tighter integration with complementary products, including servers, storage and other systems, which makes the integrator's job even easier.

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