Augusta Public Schools Deploys Video Insight VMS Solution to Effeciently Improve Its Outdated System
Located in eastern Maine, Cony High School is part of the City of Augusta Maine Department of Public Schools. Just two years into a new building, Cony High School administrators realized their 16-camera analog surveillance system was lacking. Without coverage in crucial areas – stairwells and parking lots – and dead spots in the cafeteria and hallways, they realized they needed a better system to provide comprehensive video security for the 950-student, grades 9-12 campus.
New School Building Outgrows Existing Technology
Working through the requisite RFP (request for proposal) process, a committee of Cony administrators, security officers and technology personnel based their selection of an upgraded video security solution on two factors: cost/features and ease of use.
Augusta City Schools Network Administrator Fred Kahl said the system had to be sophisticated, yet technically straightforward enough for school administrators to grasp quickly.
Cony found the system they were seeking – and more – in a partnership with systems integrator NAVCO and Video Insight IP Surveillance Software.
Axis Communications Cameras
Video Insight Enterprise VMS
NAVCO and Video Insight
NAVCO – the largest privately held national security system integrator in North America that counts JP Morgan Chase and Whataburger among clients – chose Video Insight IP Video Surveillance software for the Cony High School upgrade.
Video Insight software allows users the ability to use map and floor plan-based navigation to view live and recorded video from anywhere on the internet, network, monitoring station or even smart phone. Video Insight software has been installed on over 4,500 high school and college campuses and supports 400 camera models from 40 major camera manufacturers.
NAVCO National Account Manager, Skip Cole, recommended Video Insight software for the exact reasons Cony administrators specified in their RFP selection.
“Video Insight software is easier to use than the more expensive systems,” said Cole. “But what really got our customer’s attention was that you could get the same functionality that usually comes with much more expensive software platforms. It came standard with Video Insight for a lot less money.”
Along with the Video Insight software, NAVCO installed 25 IP Axis Communications 2616FD cameras for the school interior areas providing comprehensive coverage in the hallways, food court and other commons areas.
For exterior school campus areas, including the parking lot and building perimeter, NAVCO installed IQeye megapixel cameras from IQinVision. Kahl said they chose different cameras for the exterior because outside they needed a camera that would cover a wider area, enabling them to zoom in (on license plates, for example) from a wider field.
Administrators and security officers access the system on a regular basis via the monitoring station or through web access, burning their own DVD’s when a copy of an event is needed. The system has proven to be “very easy” to use, said Kahl.
Kahl said he was initially concerned with how much bandwidth IP cameras would use on their network, but was pleased to discover that they had more than enough capability to run the system efficiently. In fact, since Cony shares a fiber network with all of the Augusta school and city buildings, Kahl said he was even able to add four cameras for the Augusta City Police Department to the network within their project. Additionally, the new system allows them to grant the police instant access to monitor the school’s cameras and stored video in the event of an emergency. Since Cony administrators retrieve recorded video often (for discipline, vandalism and other security related investigations), Kahl said he increased his network storage from 3.5 TBS to 11 TBS so they can recover video from up to 10 weeks prior to an event.
“The ability to go back several weeks has really been beneficial for our campus, especially since oftentimes events don’t get reported right away,” Kahl said.
With their new, sophisticated video surveillance solution, administrators felt comfortable expanding the Cony High School campus to include middle school grades 7-8, boosting their student membership from 950 to 1,300.
Traditionally, there is “a lot of concern about putting middle school students in the same facility as high school students, but since we can monitor our students better with our new video system, it has enabled us to make the most efficient use of our new building by bringing in the 7th and 8th graders,” said Kahl.
The areas which are shared by both the upper and lower grade levels – art, music, and family and consumer sciences – are covered extensively by cameras, offering the added level of comfort to administrators.
“Traditionally, there is a lot of concern about putting middle school students in the same facility as high school students, but since we can monitor our students better with our new Video Insight solution, it has enabled us to make the most efficient use of our new building by bringing in the seventh and eighth graders” Fred Kahl - Augusta City Public Schools Network Administrator
Kahl said with Video Insight the Cony campus got “what we wanted and needed and much more.”
Echoing Kahl’s sentiments, NAVCO’s Cole said that is why they often select Video Insight for a video solution.
“Video Insight is tremendous,” said Cole. “Its product has all of the functionality and quality as the top contenders while being less expensive. And the support is exceptional - from the very top of management to the very responsive technical support division. We highly recommend Video Insight because we know that it is in line with NAVCO’s highest of standards.”