U. of Miami Centralizes Video Surveillance With 350 IP Cameras

By Ashley Willis

MIAMI — In an effort to centralize its legacy analog video surveillance systems, the University of Miami (UM) installed more than 350 IQinVision high definition (HD) megapixel cameras throughout its main campus.

The university placed IQeye Sentinel and Alliance Series cameras in areas with a high density of students, such as parking lots and dormitories and high crime areas. OnSSI video management software (VMS) also helps the UM Police Department view images from all installed cameras. Additionally, each department can review surveillance footage only from the cameras placed in its vicinity.

“The system is a fantastic way of viewing multiple cameras simultaneously,” UM Executive Director of IT Security Jose Ruano tells SSI. “It’s designed to allow police to look at a bunch of different cameras and follow a suspect from the point of entry to the point of exit and everything in between. They can replay the scene over again just the way it happens.”

Before settling on IQinVision cameras, UM’s IT security department thoroughly researched the type of system to deploy at the school. Having already maintained an analog system for many years, the team determined it was more cost effective to run the cameras over an IP network. Impressed during a demonstration at an ISC West tradeshow, the IT department picked IQinVision to protect its campus.

“We chose IQinVision because of the camera and picture quality,” UM Senior Security Engineer Steve Weatherly tells SSI. “We hadn’t gone into IP that much before, but we noticed it was much better than a regular analog camera.”

Staffed by engineers, the IT department decided to install the solution itself, rather than relying on an outside contractor, as another way to reduce costs. “It’s a little easier for our engineers to understand the technology and be able to implement it,” says Ruano.

Bryan Stephens, regional sales manager, IQinVision, who works closely with UM suggested the engineers attend the company’s IQ University (IQU) training. The one-day certification course covers installation, operation and optimization of IQeye cameras. Students take a proficiency test at the end of the course. If they earn a passing score of 70 or higher, they receive certification, which is good for a year. To renew the certification, students must attend a Webinar training course, Stephens tells SSI.

“We like to see large users attend the training,” he says. “But Jose was a little apprehensive when I approached him about the training. He said, ‘My guys are degree engineers. I don’t think there is anything that you can really teach them.’”

Eventually, a six-person team attended the training, including a member of the UMPD. As it turns out, the engineers enjoyed the course. “It’s actually a good idea for integrators to take the training so they can understand what goes on in these cameras,” says Weatherly. “We learned the best practice of how to pick the right cameras for the right locations. It’s also beneficial for anybody who is only familiar with regular analog cameras.”

Pleased with the ease of installation, the university plans to add more cameras within the next three years, Ruano says. He notes that one of the biggest challenges the university faces is storage space since megapixel cameras require more video storage than analog cameras. Currently data stores on a server for 28 days. While the OnSSI system is helping address the problem, the IT team continue to research better solutions.

Weatherly is also researching monitoring the system through mobile devices and iPads. Facial recognition and license plate recognition are also high on the list of technologies the university would like to try in the future.

Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

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