All-Star Security: St. Louis Cards’ Hybrid System
This year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game provided a high-profile test for Busch Stadium’s network video security system, which has been a steady surveillance slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As detailed in an exclusive case study by SSI magazine three years ago, integrator Will Electronics installed the system during the construction of the new Busch Stadium. Since then, the system’s scope has been expanded and it has exceeded the team’s goals, Hosei Maruyama, the stadium operations systems administrator, tells SSI.
“It’s been a very useful tool for us,” Maruyama said. “Our system is doing a great job with what our needs are.”
The system has provided the team higher quality footage of crowds at stadium events that can be viewed at 30 frames per second in real-time, and has helped the team reduce internal theft, according to Maruyama.
Installed in 2006, the hybrid analog-IP system has been expanded from its initial 114-camera configuration. Additional cameras have been added to the administrative offices, team store, escalators, ticket office and other areas to eliminate security blind spots.
No cameras were added for the July 14 All-Star game, but the system provided an easy way for the FBI to gain remote access to cameras that would watch President Obama throw out the first pitch and monitor the event. The team set up a virtual private network (VPN) with unique passwords that allowed agents to monitor the action from a mobile command center one mile away.
When SSI profiled the project in April 2006, the team estimated it spent $500,000 in equipment, which included 10 network video recorders (NVRs), 10 expansion units and eight 16-channel DVRs.
To keep the system in the same brand family, additional equipment has also carried the Panasonic logo. The team added approximately 30 more dome cameras and expanded the system’s network storage in 2007 and 2008.
The hard drives that store the surveillance footage were replaced to add capacity rather than because they weren’t dependable, according to the integrator. About 21 days of footage is available.
“They [Panasonic] put them through some very heavy stress testing,” says Brad Witte, vice president of operations for Will Electronics. “They return a lot of drives to their vendors. Their hard-drive reliability is second to none.”
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