Smaller cities thinking big surveillance

September 14, 2012 Francis Lachance

Most of us have read about London, Chicago, Toronto and recently, New York implementing massive city-wide platforms. But what I find interesting is that more and more smaller cities are beginning to disprove common misconceptions that implementing city-wide surveillance requires the backing of massive budgets or large homeland security grants. With recent advances in computing power and IP/telecommunications technology, it is becoming easier for the suburban, less-populated municipalities to deploy cost-effective and reliable crime-fighting platforms.

Smaller cities thinking big surveillance

And the benefits are the same; advanced city-wide surveillance solutions have been proven to help deter crime, improve information sharing between multiple agencies like law enforcement, fire stations, and emergency response crews, enhance response time to incidents and keep citizens safe.

But big or small, it’s a major decision and a long-term investment. So choosing the right IP video management platform contributes to greater cost and operational efficiency. Selecting a platform that provides distributed archiving and central monitoring (also known as a federated system), advanced failover and reliability features and bandwidth-optimizing capabilities is pivotal. [more]

The latter is especially true in city-wide deployments where the network is shared amongst many different agencies, applications, or in cases where there are a larger number of cameras. Cutting-edge bandwidth management features such as multicasting, multistreaming, support for the latest compression formats like H.264 and advanced video routing management can help municipalities reduce bandwidth requirements, optimize the network, and cut storage costs. (Read more about these features in our whitepaper titled: Three Simple Ways to Optimize Your Bandwidth Management in Video Surveillance).

Omnicast's user-friendly interface helps limit training time required to bring new operators up to speed.Other bandwidth-saving features are the use of Video Trickling and edge-recording, where video can be recorded onto a camera’s SD card or directly to a NAS (Network Attached Storage), and transferred to the Archiver only when needed. And the list of features that help make city-wide deployment plausible and efficient continues with mobile capabilities, a user-friendly interface, unification, open architecture and more. 

We invite you to read the case study on Footscray, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, that recently implemented a highly-efficient and reliable city-wide platform with our Omnicast video surveillance system, Axis Communications network cameras, a Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh network and Dell storage. Although Footscray PD chose to deploy a dedicated mesh wireless network to achieve greater redundancy and flexibility, other municipalities are already managing their own private wide area networks (WAN) which are setup to provide high-speed connectivity across government facilities. Using these same networks to support communication between edge devices and the management platform, is a simple and cost-effective way for smaller cities to begin building a city-wide surveillance system.

What are your thoughts on city-wide deployments for smaller cities? What feature would you say is the most valuable in these applications?

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