How the Electronic Security Industry Protected the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte

Read the inspiring story of how channel partners prioritized giving over getting to provide those less fortunate with safer passage.

Founded in 2001, local integrator ESS services more than 1,000 customers throughout the Carolinas. A member of PSA Security Network, the company’s commercial business mix is a 70% split of access control and video, with the balance coming from systems integration (20%) and intrusion detection (10%).


“We sat down with Carson, Project Manager Ann Parker and Shelter Director Pam Neal to understand their areas of concern, and resources in deploying and managing a system,” says Kottkamp. “Once we had a feel for their needs, we prepared a budget for them. I also approached our Tier One Partners and as donation commitments came in, we’d credit off that portion of the equipment. We finally provided a system that would have been in excess of $45,000 for $20,000.”

Camera System Is a Hybrid

ESS began the project in February 2015, with the majority of the installation completed in just two weeks, although the integrator’s lead technician, Howard Hunter, continued to work closely with shelter staff to complete the system’s configuration and setup. After some delays getting the project underway, it all came together in short order after ESS’ cabling infrastructure partner Connectivity LLC donated a crew to work in tandem and accelerate the installation process.

“There were several tweaks to the system design and coverage, and pricing adjustments as donations trickled in,” says Kottkamp. “We were finally awarded the project in late November. With the holidays, waiting on donated equipment and our operations team making a couple of wise design adjustments, it took us a couple of months to get started, which was probably the only negative to the project.”

ESS went with a hybrid design based on two Hikvision DVRs supporting 16 analog and 16 IP channels, accommodating around 15 analog and 15 IP Hikvision cameras. The second DVR is intended to balance the camera load, extend recording time and provide some system redundancy. Should one of the DVRs require servicing, the other can remain in service and support critical cameras. In vital outdoor areas like the patio and main entrance, 2MP cameras were installed, and cameras in the rear parking area were augmented with internal IR illuminators. Panoramic 360⁰ cameras were also placed in key internal areas, while vandal-resistant housings were selected for even interior cameras to make the system robust and durable.

“We needed to have different camera op
tions for indoor vs. outdoor functions,” says Dean. “Inside the facility there needed to be different applications for hallways vs. kitchen vs. public spaces. Outside especially needed vandal-proof cameras. The software system needed to be very easy to use for monitoring, recording and search. ESS did a great job explaining what would best suit our needs.”

The solution also entailed deployment of a new cabled infrastructure that includes a CSC dual-hinged equipment rack, 24-port PoE Hewlett Packard switch donated by BCDVideo and a Clinton Electronics LCD monitor donated by ADI. There’s also an Altronix 32-channel rack-mount power supply, and the entire head-end is backed up by a rack-mount UPS donated by ESS. (See boxes for complete lists of project equipment and donors.)

“I felt a hybrid system was the best fit because they didn’t have an extensive IT infrastructure to support the scale of the system they wanted,” says Kottkamp. “So analog cameras are used for general surveillance areas and then higher resolution IP-based cameras are used for particular.”

Industry Challenged to Contribute

Aside from the initial delay getting rolling and coordinating the equipment donors, the MSC project came off with nary a hitch or glitch. The end user was especially pleasantly surprised how smoothly the process transpired as normal operations were unimpeded. That does not happen by accident.

“I credit our operations team with outstanding planning and project implementation, so that when it actually came time to install the system, it really went very smoothly,” says Kottkamp. “Howard specifically was instrumental in the smooth delivery of the system.”

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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