Mall Adores Style of Hybrid Surveillance
A local systems integrator is called in to overhaul a video surveillance system at an upscale shopping center in New Jersey. Electing to utilize the facility’s legacy equipment, the integrator provided networking appliances to build a dedicated gigabit copper/fiber network infrastructure for the interior and exterior of the facility.
It stands to reason a shopping center that is home to the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci and Chanel would invest in security that matches the prestige of its swanky tenants. Welcome to The Mall at Short Hills, located in Short Hills, N.J.
To better protect its patrons, retailers, employees and infrastructure, mall operators sought to improve upon a legacy video surveillance system during a two-year upgrade project. From the outset in 2009, the overall necessity was to implement a state-of-the-art networked video surveillance solution that would provide maximum coverage of critical areas. This included video cameras in the parking lots that would be required to provide clear images across long distances, even in low-light conditions.
Various other system features and capabilities were needed, including a command console area, remote access to video, digital zoom for forensic review, license plate identification for parking lot egress points and the ability to incorporate intelligent video analytics. Budget parameters were also a key factor, as was scalability in terms of cameras, camera locations, storage and system performance.
Notably, the mall’s parent firm, Taubman Co., desired to use the system as an architectural pilot that could serve as a blueprint for other locations. Based on its familiarity with designing and installing solutions for shopping centers, the chosen systems integrator for the project was MTS Intelligent Surveillance Solutions of Howell, N.J.
Integrator Selects Hybrid System
With more than 1.3 million square feet of leasable space, Short Hills Mall includes 160 specialty stores and restaurants anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The physical layout of the shopping center, located about 25 miles west of Manhattan, presented a weighty challenge for MTS, which was founded by Rob Merchant more than six years ago. To execute the ongoing project — system design began in 2009 with installation completed in 2011 — Merchant would leverage his previous experience with designing and developing digital media management solutions for security and intelligence organizations.
Extending video coverage across the large geographical area of the enclosed, multilevel facility raised questions about system layout and design. Should the system design be centralized or distributed? And should it be analog, purely IP-based or a combination of the two? Ultimately, although insufficient for current needs, the mall’s previous DVR-based system was still seen to have value for the end user. Therefore, MTS elected to integrate a portion of the legacy system into the project by configuring a hybrid solution.
MTS designed the mall’s network and provided project management and technology oversight of the electricians implementing the network cable. Concurrently, MTS began building the head-end servers and performing discovery of the existing implementation.
Once the cabling was in place, MTS installed the networking appliances to build a dedicated gigabit copper/fiber network infrastructure throughout the facility. Installation included a major renovation and removal of the wiring to the command center and the retermination and extension of the existing system to the newly located head-end.
160 Cameras Highlight Specs
The networked video surveillance solution at Short Hills Mall is based on an expandable, technology-agnostic architecture. Currently, the system comprises the following components:
Servers — Seven Hewlett Packard servers are in service at the mall. HP Z800 workstations with dual Intel Xeon processors and TVISS8 240 frames per second (fps) encoder boards are used for the analog (NTSC) cameras. For the IP-based cameras, MTS selected the HP ProLiant DL160 servers with 3TB of storage. Currently, there are two Z800 and four DL160 servers for video management. In addition, there is one DL160 server running Windows Server 2003 and functioning solely as an archive server.
Video management software (VMS) — Intelligent Security System’s SecurOS 6.2 VMS is the back-end application for the surveillance system. It is a hybrid system capable of supporting analog and IP cameras and remote operator workstations. The system includes an archiving function and is capable of having a license plate recognition module, a face capture module and a face recognition module, as well as other intelligent feature modules. The command center utilizes 40-inch Samsung monitors.
Storage — A total of 82TB of secondary storage includes Pivot3 RAID6 network attached storage. Pivot3’s RAIGE storage subsystem, configured as a network attached storage (NAS) array, is used for secondary storage. RAIGE Director is hosted on the archiving platform.
Power management — The entire system is powered via uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) and generator power, including cameras, network and head-end. Additionally, IP-addressable power modules enable MTS to remotely turn power on and off to selected components.
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