Integrated scholarly solution

June 2011 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Education (Industry)

Local technology makes the grade in the USA.

South African surveillance systems developer and manufacturer Cathexis Technologies has successfully integrated a surveillance solution in the Hershey School Campus in Pennsylvania. The solution includes multiple DVRs/NVRs accommodating some 700 cameras and integration with the Open Options access control system.

The Milton Hershey School is a private philanthropic boarding school founded and funded by chocolate industrialist Milton Hershey and his wife Catherine. The campus educates some 1600 underprivileged students from varied backgrounds, through pre-school, primary school and high school, and it is continuously expanding. With over six billion dollars in assets on 500 acres of land, the Milton Hershey School is one of the wealthiest schools in the world.

The school’s uniqueness lies in its 143 residences, each housing from eight to 20 students. These are designed to simulate a suburban home, complete with house parents living on the premises.

The challenge

The biggest challenge for the integrated solution was the school’s geographical characteristics and infrastructure. With multiple residences, there are many more buildings than would normally be found in a campus environment.

Requirements were for:

* Access control on all residences and strategic campus areas.

* CCTV in selected areas around the perimeter, in the main campus areas, and in strategic zones around the residences.

* Intrusion alarms on the campus building and all residences.

These requirements needed to be integrated into a single platform for monitoring with event/alarm management and event/CCTV footage association. As a further challenge, multiple clients in the form of department heads and managers required access to their own groups of cameras for viewing, reviewing, archiving and monitoring access control events with associated video data. This required a sophisticated password management and layered access control system.

The solution

Cathexis’ decade of experience with large mining sites and more recently with sprawling housing estates enabled it to design an effective, reliable solution.

The design process started with an analysis of the geographical positioning and distances between buildings. With the client requirements for the system clearly established, it was down to selecting the best products and technology to provide the solution.

The site had a well established network of analogue cameras, which ideally were to be re-used, so a hybrid solution proved most practical. The solution accommodates existing equipment and ensures scope for future expansion with IP cameras.

With the hybrid decision settled, the challenge was how to stream the video back to the central control room for effective live monitoring. Cathexis used distributed architecture to achieve this, with multiple remote equipment hubs that provided video compression and storage. These equipment hubs serve as video streaming management servers, and provide the reassurance that recording will continue even if the main Ethernet backbone suffers failure or damage.

The system needed to integrate with the Open Options access control system that the Milton Hershey School had already selected. The integration was completed via a metadata interface with transactions and video stored and associated in an SQL database. Smart filters are provided to enable easy filtering and searching for specific transactions. Access control data is monitored on-the-fly so that the system can perform responsive actions such as moving PTZ cameras and switching cameras to virtual matrix monitors upon specific selected transactions.

The Cathexis catVision software takes care of the school’s live viewing requirements, providing full virtual matrix capability, and incorporating intelligent layout-, salvo- and camera-switching. Alarm handling is provided via the catAlarm Alarm Management Server for the effective handling and management of VMD, Access control and intrusion alarms.

Cathexis has completed similar solutions at Harrisburg School district in Pennsylvania as well as several schools in New York State.

For more information contact Cathexis Africa, +27 (0)31 566 7800, gusb@cat.co.za, www.cathexis.co.za




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