The Power Of An Integrated IP Camera Solution
By Brian Albright, Business Solutions magazine
This security VAR leveraged a corporate relationship to win a multifacility access control and video management contract.
When it comes to security systems, a good reputation and the right certifications can mean the difference between winning a contract or losing business. Successful installations with a Fortune 100 corporate client helped Convergint Technologies win an access control and security project, and Convergint’s use of advanced, opensource security solutions have paved the way for additional business with the client down the road.
Schaumburg, IL-based Convergint is a servicebased integrator of electronic security, fire alarm, healthcare, building automation, and communications technology. The integrator was put in contact with a customer in the oil and gas industry via the client’s parent company, whom Convergint had worked with in the past.
The company needed to deploy a new security solution in order to meet expected new Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The facility had an existing card reader system for gate access, as well as a few security cameras. The customer needed to deploy a new solution for its pumping and collection facility that sits on several hundred acres of land.
“They had a design put together by another integrator,” says Steve Smith, account executive at Convergint. “We were introduced by their corporate parent company. The design they had in mind actually used analog cameras and proprietary technology. So we suggested using IP cameras and a more open system that could be serviced by a number of different companies.”
Convergint put together a complete security package that integrates an access control solution from S2 Security Corp., XProtect video surveillance software from Milestone Systems, fence perimeter detection technology from Southwest Microwave (Intrepid II with fence-mounted sensing cable combined with microwave sensors for gate entrances), and IP security cameras from Panasonic (WV-NW964) and Sony (CH-160).
“They were really drawn to the openness of the solution,” says Tony Varco, vice president of Convergint’s electronic security division. “It was not proprietary. We also had a plan to install fiber in the ground, which would be less lightning-strike prone. We focused on making the solution easy for their personnel to use and to minimize the disruption of their day-to-day business activities.”
Varco also credits his firm’s experience working with the company’s parent corporation and Convergint’s experience in the petrochemical industry (as well as the required safety record) as advantages when proposing their solution. “Showing them the benefits of IP camera technology was also important,” Varco adds. “They were heading down an analog path, and that would have been terrible for them in the long run. You can’t transmit analog images to an Android phone, and you can’t create the type of flexibility and mobility this system offers using analog, proprietary technology.”
The solution took nearly eight months to deploy, primarily because of complications associated with having personnel from the customer site present whenever a Convergint employee was working on the installation. “Coordinating that was very difficult,” Smith says. “The original plan didn’t provide for someone working with us who wasn’t already doing something else at the facility. Often our technicians would end up waiting for their personnel to come back from their regular duties, and that’s what really made it take so long. Going forward, we’ll be making arrangements for a dedicated owner’s representative to be on-site during the installation.”
Steve Smith, account executive at Convergint
The S2 access control solution at the gate requires people to present an ID badge. A video intercom system from Mobotix is integrated with the Milestone video solution and allows personnel to match the identification with the person at the gate. “If there is a door alarm, the system tags the video associated with the alarm, so it’s easily searched later,” Smith says.
The nearly mile-long fence perimeter is divided into several dozen zones with varying degrees of camera coverage. Convergint installed dozens of security cameras at the facility. This was a combination of pan/tilt/zoom and fixed cameras as appropriate. When the fence perimeter detection solution is activated, cameras assigned to that zone will rotate to provide a view of the area. Employees monitoring the system can then see if the system was activated by an animal or an actual intruder. “One to four cameras can turn to look at a particular zone,” Smith says. “And if there was someone jumping the fence, the cameras would actually track that individual as they moved throughout the facility.”
The facility does not have dedicated security personnel monitoring the system. When there is an alert, the video application pops up on the computer screens of local operators. “There is also a mobile application from Milestone installed on their cell phones and tablet computers, and several employees can use that,” Smith says.
The solution has met the company’s CFAT requirements, and there have been no recorded break-ins since the installation. The customer plans to expand the system to additional sites, targeting facilities in high-crime areas first. “They have had a few break-ins at different facilities, so they want to prioritize those sites,” Smith says. Because the perimeter detection solution is so specialized, Smith says the customer is considering which sites will warrant this type of technology in its other facilities.
Smith says the key to making this particular installation successful was showing the client the value of using open technology and working closely with them to ensure they got the security solution that they needed. “This was really a collaborative effort between the owner and the Convergint team. The Convergint team consisted of me, David Walker (another security sales engineer), our project manager, multiple security specialists, and installation technicians,” Smith says. “We all worked closely with the customer to ensure they got the camera views they desired and the critical perimeter zones properly covered. In the end, the system was installed within budget and provided the exact results the client was looking for.”