Indeed, with so many openings to contend with, the constant activity and a great deal of supplies and stock going in and out on a routine basis, logistics and flexibility weighed heavily in developing the best solution.
“The original idea was to install certain cameras in certain locations, then as you go through the process you realize that wasn’t necessarily the right spot for the camera; the wall just moved; the bakery just got bigger; now there’s a wall in front. We have a wall that’s made out of glass, so move the cameras. Now they opened windows. Maybe we need to use different cameras, different technology,” says Mellos.
Among the products selected for the warehouse were TruVision IP video, IFS transmission and NetworX intrusion detection. Over several phases of the project, more than 100 TruVision 1.3-megapixel cameras, 15 TruVision DVR 60 hybrid recorders, several IFS 24-port PoE switches, three NX8 Series intrusion panels and a multitude of sensors were installed at the facility.
“We chose to go with the TruVision IP solution because we believe they were a great fit for this project in terms of clarity, cost, functionality and scalability. They had everything Buddy was looking for from the remote access to the scalability of the system,” says Fernandez. “The support across the board was tremendous. With the help of Leo Minervini guiding us, we stayed on track with Buddy’s vision. To have a company in your corner such as Interlogix on a project this big was exceptional.”
Each DVR features 12TB of storage, and the entire surveillance system is centrally managed by TruVision Navigator video management software. Ultimately, the design of the surveillance system struck a balance between image definition and bandwidth.
“You want to have significant resolution on the cameras, without going overboard,” says Mellos. “So we chose a megapixel technology that could be transmitted without bringing the network down or affecting other things. We used the IFS switching gear and subnetted the systems across the environment to avoid a massive amount of data traveling back and forth. We tried to be smart about it.”
One of the more unique functions of the surveillance system is using cameras in the refrigeration units where they house the cakes. Valastro and his associates can actually look in on these specialty cakes, some of which fetch thousands of dollars, to make sure no harm comes to them.
Preparation Pays Off
Thanks to all the thorough planning, precision coordination and meticulous execution, any problems encountered during the project were minimal. Still, there were a couple of challenges in particular that stood out: cabling and lighting. The scale of the job called for in excess of five miles of Category-6e cable.
“We had to route over 80 runs for the cameras and future drops of Cat-6e from various locations throughout the facility, and then merge them together back to the head-end,” says Fernandez. “By the time we had everything back to the head-end, the diameter of all the cabling was slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It looked like a giant Anaconda, and boy was it heavy!”
To help ease the pain, Fernandez and his team relegated much of the cable laying to the evening hours when there were few to no other people onsite and they could have run of the entire building to themselves. They also worked closely with 360 Media Innovations; the A/V contractor ran its own cabling to ensure the lines were not placed in proximity such that interference would later become an issue.
“I must say it was a pivotal moment for us to have finally finished that phase and have the cable there ready to punch down on our patch panels, and then watch everything else fall into place,” says Fernandez. All told, Security Cam Depot would log more than 160 man-hours’ worth of labor. “This is one of those projects that you become married to because of the fine-tuning after the fact along with regular service maintenance and expansions.”
The lighting issue surfaced in the rear of the warehouse where, instead of typical lights installed in drop ceilings, there were enormous industrial-style fixtures encased in clear dome housings. It was not immediately apparent that those lights were the source of a prism effect that resulted in pulsing on several of the cameras.
“The biggest surprise was the way the IP cameras interacted with the bell lighting we had in the back of the factory,” says Valastro. “The images were picking up frequency interference. The image looked wavy, rippled by the light. We had to exchange all of those cameras for ones that would interpret the light frequency more appropriately.”
Ironically, it became moot a few weeks later when it was decided to remove the light fixtures and put in a drop ceiling after all. One further surprise Valastro notes was discovering the pillars of the building were completely impenetrable. “There were a lot of bolts lost attempting to mount cameras to the pillars,” he says.
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