Vicon Valerus Powers Responsive Statewide Surveillance Solution
Vicon’s Valerus VMS was chosen for its affordable licensing, web-based, thin-client interface, range of features and true open standards to update a Mexican state’s surveillance solution.
CULIACAN, Mexico — Upgrading a surveillance system isn’t always the easiest job. Combining a disparate citywide surveillance system into one statewide platform? Now that sounds like a daunting task.
The Mexican state of Sinaloa has surveillance solutions in all of its major cities. However, the state recognized the need for a more secure, responsive environment capable of providing a single-seat view of their entire security domain.
Sinaloa’s Secretary of Innovation M.C. Jose de Jesus Galvez wanted to create the state’s first unified security solution that he hopes can become a model for all of Mexico.
The new statewide initiative combines these disparate citywide systems within a single platform, allowing for greater coordination between all municipalities and their law enforcement agencies.
The solution, made possible through the combined effort of Vicon´s technical team and value-added-resellers in Sinaloa, is built upon Vicon’s new 100% web-based and true open standards video management solution, Valerus.
Finding an Affordable Solution
A major hurdle facing the state was overcoming a lack in financial resources to pay for a new solution. Galvez says that Vicon’s Valerus was able to provide a centralized system with localized control and operation that was flexible enough to work with much of the equipment that was already in place in each city.
Valerus offered the state a completely web-based, thin-client interface, system-wide health monitoring capabilities and true open standards. The cost to purchase and install Valerus was also less than for other video management systems, providing long-term, recurring savings that can be invested in additional equipment and system expansion over time.
Culiacan, the state’s capital and largest city, has its fair share of challenges when it comes to keeping cameras up and running due to criminals regularly trying to disable or remove them.
“We actually had a situation where a camera was installed at a traffic intersection, and by the time we got back to the command center to connect it to the video management system, it was already gone!” says Vicon’s technical team.
Valerus has a built-in health dashboard to keep track of the status of all cameras, even in an installation of this size. It also provides performance data for all NVRs, the application server and transmission network.
“The monitoring dashboard helps us to identify bottlenecks, communication issues between cameras and NVRs and, most importantly, how much bandwidth we are consuming,” say Galvez.
He also explains how the system can aid in disputes with insurance companies: “When a camera is taken out due to vandalism, we can prove to the insurance carrier that it was fully functional just prior to the incident. This makes it possible to get the camera replaced immediately.”
Galvez says Vicon’s thin client provides tremendous value. “In the past, every time an upgrade was released, we spent a lot of time and money bringing all of the system’s PCs up to speed. With the Valerus thin client, all of that has been eliminated. The only hardware that requires a software upgrade is the application server. The monitoring stations are always current and require no maintenance whatsoever.”
Valerus also does not require any annual relicensing of cameras. Considering the amount of cameras deployed in the state, this makes a huge impact on its bottom line. Culiacan, alone, has over 1000 surveillance cameras in place.
Integration and Control
Being built upon open standards, Valerus allows for integration with a wide range of software that provides additional layers to surveillance operation, for example, license plate recognition (LPR).
Culiacan has over 800 specialty cameras connected to its LPR system. Vicon engineers custom-designed and manufactured these cameras for the city in order to meet the specifications of the LPR software already in place, made by Spain’s Neural Labs.
The city is now looking into facial recognition technology, as well as gunshot detection and panic buttons throughout the community that can automate emergency response procedures and summon assistance from law enforcement.
At a brand new, state-of-the-art control center, video footage from cameras is received over a citywide, high-speed fiber optic network displayed at full 30 frame-per-second video.
The Valerus system makes it possible to share video across departments, facilitating more collaborative and successful response efforts.
For example, operators within the city’s equivalent of a “911” call center, although a separate division from the city police, can request access to cameras located within the vicinity of an emergency call, so as to share video with ambulance teams and other first responders being sent to the scene.
With about 1800 cameras currently in place throughout Culiacan made up of surveillance and LPR systems, the city is on its way to its vision of approximately 4800 total cameras.
Work has also begun in Mazatlan and Los Mochis, two other Sinaloa cities that will eventually be part of the statewide network.
“This is a very ambitious project for us,” says Galvez. “We hope to use every function of Valerus to help lower the crime rate and better protect the citizens of Sinaloa. We understand that video isn’t the only way we will achieve this, but it’s a very important part and can help us bring other systems together to be more effective. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
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