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.
System management — All computing and networking components are managed by an agent and agentless systems management architecture that monitors the health of the hardware and software associated with the solution. This includes active polling of the system and agents that report (push) information back to the management head-end.
Archiving — The system is designed with a two-tiered archive. Short-term archive occurs as the video is captured on each server’s local hard drive. This typically holds about two to four weeks, depending on activity. Each day from midnight to 9 a.m., each server runs an archiver routine and sends the video to the Pivot3 RAIGE storage system, which is currently configured as RAID6. To extend the storage, the frame rate of the second tiered archive is lowered to 5 fps.
Outdoor p/t/z cameras connect using video over unshielded twisted pair (VUTP plus power) to an intermediate data frame (IDF). The exterior cameras can withstand the sometimes harsh New Jersey weather conditions, which can include extreme temperatures from minus 20° degrees to more than 100°, as well as high humidity and 45mph winds.
At the IDF, the video is encoded by Axis H.264 encoders. Each IDF also has Cisco and/or DLINK managed switches. There are eight IDFs connected to central head-end switches via single-mode fiber. The entire network is gigabit Ethernet. IP-addressable cameras use Cat-5e connections only to the IDF switches, taking advantage of power over Ethernet (PoE).
Megapixel IP cameras are used on the interior of the facility. There are approximately 160 cameras in all covering the mall and its surroundings. Wiring topology design called for interior cameras to be IP-based.
With only eight fiber runs to strategically located IDFs,
MTS was able to reduce overall cabling by more than 70%. Given that all components are IP addressable, MTS is able to manage and monitor the system remotely. The mall’s security team accesses video locally and centrally.
Clarity to Capture License Plates
MTS designed a solution that expands the mall’s previous system, which was based on two 16-channel DVRs and a matrix switch to manage images from 32 p/t/z and fixed dome cameras. Since the new architecture became operational, legacy cameras that failed have been replaced with Samsung p/t/z models.
Due to proven performance and value realized at other MTS locations, Samsung p/t/z cameras were an easy choice for the project. (Among the projects MTS has spec’d Samsung cameras are “Safe Community” systems for several local law enforcement departments in New Jersey, including Maplewood, Cape May and Sea Isle.)
To provide clear images of the parking lot at Short Hills Mall, Merchant selected the vendor’s high resolution 600TVL analog p/t/z cameras, which are connected to the new IP-based system using video encoders in a hybrid configuration.
“I was very impressed with the zoom capability and the image quality at night,” Merchant says.â€©The p/t/z dome cameras provide perimeter surveillance and are controlled by a 24/7 security command center facility. Encoders allow signals from the analog cameras to be transmitted along the IP network infrastructure, and also enable p/t/z control across the network without any lag. The dome cameras combine 37x optical zoom with 12x digital zoom. Wide dynamic range (WDR) and digital image stabilization are provided by Samsung’s SV-IV DSP chip.
The cameras use a 1/4-inch vertical double-density color CCD imager. Other features include auto-tracking, advanced noise reduction and advanced low-light performance.
“We needed a good WDR camera with maximum optical zoom to cover these large parking lots,” says Merchant. “The wide dynamic range of the Samsung camera keeps images clear in harsh, high-contrast lighting. The video shows clearly what is happening in both the dark and light areas of a single image. The camera also performs well under modest street lighting.”
The 37x optical zoom allows building-mounted cameras to view the far corners of the parking lots with enough clarity to allow operators to read vehicle license plates. Using a different camera to view the outlying areas of the parking lot would have required more expensive pole mounting and trenching to reduce the distance. In addition to reading license numbers, the clarity enables operators to identify a person or vehicle and to see incidents clearly. Archived video is clear enough to be used in court for forensic purposes.
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