Park ‘n’ Ride Made Easy … and Safe

Fiber Runs, Mounts and Extra Eyes

Seven analog cameras, mounted in and around the ticket office and train station platform, were already in use when ADT commenced work at the parking structure. The specification called for the cameras to remain in operation to supplement the new solution, which features an IP-based video management system head-end by DVTel of Ridgefield Park, N.J. To accommodate the existing cameras, an encoder was installed to convert the analog signal to IP.

“All the existing cameras run to an IDF [intermediate distribution frame] room,” says Williams. “All we did is add an encoder to that existing rack, unplug them from the original DVR and plug them into the encoder.”

More than 40 IP cameras, a combination of fixed and p/t/z models also by DVTel, were installed throughout the four-level garage and its exterior. An individual camera is trained on each of the 16 Code Blue emergency call stations, which are placed at stairwells throughout the garage. These particular cameras are set to record at seven frames per second (fps) in normal mode; upon activation of the Code Blue unit, the cameras begin recording at 15 fps.

Pulling cable throughout each level of the garage was made mostly uncomplicated thanks to construction plans that included conduit runs integrated into the building structure specifically for camera mount positions.

“The conduit was there but it wasn’t always in the right place, so there was conduit extension work to do at each camera to get the right shot,” says Randy Jara, general manager of Redrock Security & Cabling.

Because the specification called for a fiber backbone each camera mount location includes a media converter/transceiver and a power supply, both of which are housed in a standard NEMA metal enclosure.  

All the cameras that were within 330 feet of the network switch – located in the main distribution frame (MDF) room on the ground level – were connected with Category-5e cable. “Wherever we had to go more than 330 feet, we used fiber from the network switch and then converted it at the media converter back to Cat-5e in order to plug in the IP camera,” Jara explains.

In the end, about 60 percent of the cameras were connected via fiber-optic cable. The normal TCP/IP limitations with runs longer that 330 feet dictated the remainder of the cameras be connected via Cat-5e.

During the project, an increasing number of skateboarders gave cause for a change order to be written for two additional cameras. Enticed by 6,700 square feet of retail space n
earing completion adjacent to the parking structure, word quickly spread the outdoor layout was a prime hotspot for ‘boarders.

Security guards, who were kept busy chasing off the offending recreationalists, began to reference the site as the Irvine Skate Park. A remedy came in the form of an extra set of electronic eyes: one fi xed camera and one p/t/z camera now offer a deterrence factor and the ability to watch the area more readily.

 

VIDEO ANALYTICS RECEIVE FINE-TUNING

In the early going, even before the preconstruction planning process had been completed, ADT spotted a potential technical issue in the specifi cation’s use of video analytics at the train station platform. As specifi ed, four existing Pelco analog p/t/z cameras that had been converted to a fi xed position would be used for server- based analytics to detect persons or objects that crossed or had fallen onto the train tracks.

 

In question was the viewing angle of the four cameras, which were mounted near the track platform. “Specifying those cameras for analytics would have worked fi ne, but the location was not optimal,” Williams says. “Until the experts, in this case the analytics manufacturer, actually tells you where the cameras should be mounted, it can really be sort of guesswork to a certain extent.”

ADT brought in a systems engineer from the video analytics provider, Agent VI, to offer technical advice on the ramifi cations should the city go forward with the original specification and how best to mitigate any design flaws.

A field walk confi rmed the viewing angles posed a few issues. Namely, when a person is standing on the platform their upper torso would fall within the analytic’s “area of interest,” generating a false alert or false positive. Some areas of the platform would not be covered at all, while others were obscured. A west-facing camera would also be subject to shadows from trees and poles during the late afternoon; saturation from the sun could obscure the view.

The recommended modifications called for mounting four new cameras underneath an existing walkway bridge that connects either side of the platform. Two cameras would view the westbound track; one camera for the eastbound track; and one camera would view straight down to the tracks below. Nearby, the four existing cameras in the original specifi cation would continue to be utilized but for standard video surveillance purposes.

Slaman decided to make a Powerpoint presentation to the city, methodically detailing each issue and its resolution, to prevent any hint of impropriety and maintain a high level of customer service. It’s not uncommon, he says, for an installing security contractor to pursue thousands of extra dollars in additional work to make up for lost margins on a low bid.

“Senior project-level management with large municipalities and college districts know this nonsense goes on,” he says. “They are hypersensitive to it.”

The city proceeded with the design changes as advised and the project continued on course to beat the contractual 55-day deadline.

But not before a considerable impediment was dealt with. Work on mounting the four additional cameras underneath the platform bridge proved especially challenging, bearing in mind costs associated for missing the deadline would amount to $2,500 per day.

“Every time a train was approaching work had to stop immediately,” Jara says. “If we were on a lift, we had to get the lift back down. There were a lot of interruptions that weren’t part of a standard installation.”

On average the crew worked fi tfully in 30-minute increments: The contract called for hiring an attendant who blew a whistle signaling each successive work stoppage. Thirty minutes on the job was followed by 10-15 minutes of downtime, continuously, until the work was completed.

“If we fell behind on something, we strategized how we were going to resolve the issue and keep moving forward,” Jara says. “It takes everyone’s willingness to make that happen.”

The entire installation was finished on time with about one week to spare.

ADT could have formally requested more days to complete the work because of the issues outside of their control but chose to decline the option.

The project’s success led to OCTA inviting ADT to present at a symposium attended by representatives from six Orange County cities linked by a transit corridor. OCTA is studying the potential for connecting six transportation centers, including Irvine’s, with an integrated security solution.

“We were managing for the customer’s expectations on this project and wanted to make sure that we had a plan that was cohesive enough to come in below the deadline,” Slaman says. “That was completely the focus point.”

Rodney Bosch is Managing Editor for SECURITYSALES & INTEGRATION. He Can be reached at (310)533-2426 or rodney.bosch@securitysales.com.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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