Manitoba migrates its security system to an integrated platform.
Manitoba Lotteries Corporation (MLC) is a key player within the province of Manitoba’s gaming industry. MLC’s net revenue — more than $296 million between 2007 and 2008 — goes toward supporting provincial programmes in areas such as health care, education, and economic development. What makes MLC’s story different is the foresight the corporation showed in the decision to migrate its security system to an integrated platform. The resulting security system that protects MLC’s two casinos, corporate offices and warehouse/office facilities is not only keeping visitors and employees safe, but is also helping MLC thrive.
The first part of the project involved upgrading the casinos’ camera matrix system. In 2000, corporate security selected an analogue-based VCR management system, which automated and standardised MLC’s recording processes. The system gave MLC the ability to more easily monitor and control VCRs to record key processes without losing valuable recording data. Upgrading the casinos’ security systems onto one integrated platform enabled MLC to take a more holistic and standardised approach to security.
This approach also better accommodated expansion and prepared MLC for future growth. “Although unsophisticated by today’s standards, the system was a big advantage for us at the time,” said Karl Bergmann, senior manager, Security Systems. “It was our first step to standardising, and it put us in a good position when digital started to gain prominence.”
The 2000 upgrade also extended the security system to MLC’s warehouse/shop/office, its corporate offices made up of three buildings and three warehouse/office buildings in other towns.
“We needed a system that we could tailor to fit our size at the time and expand in the future,” Bergmann said. “We have locations spread across a wide distance with varying security and surveillance requirements. Scalability, flexibility and ease of integration were primary factors in our system choice.”
Honeywell’s enterprise network video recorder (NVR) video management system provided configurable digital video technology with the scalability and flexibility MLC sought. The digital system provided myriad benefits including enhanced recording quality. MLC could more easily manage cameras and alarms across its locations, as well as obtain instant access to video recordings and simultaneously view, record and play back video and synchronised audio streams
“The primary responsibility of MLC Corporate Security is to protect MLC assets, guests and employees, so we always seek the most comprehensive security measures available,” said Dan Sanscartier, associate vice president, corporate security and surveillance. “Our approach to casino security ensures that our security division employs the most effective security measures and tools available.”
MLC’s holistic approach to security also incorporated components beyond standard video and access. The Enterprise NVR system integrates with Honeywell’s IDM (integrated data manager), a system that synchronises surveillance video with slot and point-of-sale terminals to provide analysis of valuable data. In both casinos, for example, cameras monitor the restaurants and are tied to a POS interface, which pulls transactional data from slots and POS points throughout the locations.
Also helping to improve efficiency at MLC is Honeywell’s VideoBloX matrix system. The system integrates with other technology components, including access control and intrusion alarms, so operators are constantly updated and aware of all casino activity. MLC has PTZ fixed cameras throughout its casinos, restaurants, warehouses and corporate offices, which all tie back to the central system to provide an enterprise-wide view of operations.
Digital surveillance technology has freed up a significant amount of time previously spent reviewing tapes, affording operators more time to monitor areas and activity. MLC surveillance technicians are able to work more efficiently, which provides an even more secure environment for MLC patrons and employees.
“Our surveillance technicians can now perform much quicker reviews,” Sanscartier said. “Reviewing videotapes took three times as long. Digital has certainly made us more efficient so we can immediately locate footage and pinpoint incidents.”
MLC can generate realtime reports from the IDM system, including exception reports, which can quickly identify suspicious activity. The system has helped MLC curb theft. “Any time our staff gains efficiencies, whether it’s through reporting, monitoring or locating a specific event, the payoff is exponential,” Sanscartier said.
“The cameras and flexible digital integration give us extra ‘eyes’ in areas where we do not always have staff on site 24 hours a day,” Bergmann said. “As a result, we are able to do our jobs better and conduct all the activities we are concerned with – guest, employee and asset protection.”
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