Inside Minneapolis’ Intercity Ring of Protection

Find out how security integrator Pro-Tec Design and VMS specialist Milestone teamed up to facilitate a video surveillance solution for eight cities covering more than 200 square miles around greater Minneapolis.

The greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area is composed of 45 municipalities with similar citywide surveillance needs. Within that space, security integrator Pro-Tec Design identified the parallel and individual needs of each city and their various departments. For example, the police department in one city has a variety of unique applications different from the IT department of another. The widespread commonality for all cities was the need for an improved IP video management software (VMS) system to replace legacy analog systems.

Milestone XProtect VMS, with its open platform technology, allows each city to individually monitor and secure its own assets, be it a government building, transit station or city-owned business. The open platform enables each city to strategically design and install the hardware and software that meet its own needs, providing a cost-effective, flexible solution that can also be shared across locations to leverage more resources.

“We had a collective idea between numerous municipalities to centralize local systems with the same IT backbone,” says Tim Ferrian, director of sales and marketing for Pro-Tec Design. “Every city can adopt software from the Milestone platform to have its own system. But there are times administrators may want to open access to their system to solve a mutual incident, and they can get assistance from neighboring emergency services, requiring as much help as possible to solve a problem. Sharing camera feeds has been a valuable yet easy-to-integrate solution that each municipality has eagerly installed.”

The VMS solves the core needs of each municipality but offers versatile feature sets and client interfaces that address the unique needs of each department. With the success of the initial installation, Pro-Tec began expanding into additional applications, such as video integration using XProtect Transact for government-owned retail stores. The cities are saving money by efficiently deploying emergency services, knowing exactly what they are dealing with before sending out large first responder teams.

Let’s look closer at this municipal ring of protection; plus, for an additional perspective on government market business, a sidebar shows how an access control solution met the needs of an embassy in Washington, D.C.

IP Tech Comes to Minneapolis

Pro-Tec Design, a Milestone channel partner and vertical market specialist in the city surveillance and transportation markets, has been designing, installing and servicing security and surveillance solutions in the Twin Cities for decades. Minneapolis/St. Paul make up the most populous area in the state of Minnesota – a sprawling metropolis with a population of more than three million people.

About 10 years ago, when the industry began widely adopting IP technology in surveillance environments, Pro-Tec saw a huge opportunity to become a catalyst in the movement while also helping cities solve problems that arose with the use of outdated analog systems. This was not a fad to Ferrian. The shift to IP surveillance was the way he saw the world operating in the future.

“We had a strong feeling about the shift in security and surveillance to IP, and we wanted to partner with strong companies who could help us provide our clients a solution that was beyond their current expectations but could easily be installed, upgraded and expanded over time,” says Ferrian. “Milestone had the wherewithal to understand the market and IP, not only in the technology’s infancy but how it would evolve to what end users expect in the future. Milestone was the most flexible, nimble and open technology that existed at the time we were searching, and it’s delivered as a core offering for our customers ever since.”

Pro-Tec’s strong relationships with numerous cities in Minnesota developed from a foundation of card access control and video surveillance, so a transition into network-based surveillance that could integrate the two was a logical next step.

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