Megapixel Video Protects Texas’ Most Vulnerable Patients
New video surveillance solution ensures the safety and security of residents of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services’ 12 campuses.
Illustration: Ron Rennells
In June 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 643, requiring video surveillance equipment be installed in all Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) facilities for the purpose of detecting and preventing the exploitation or abuse of residents and clients.
DADS issued a Request for Offer, and Texas-based Knight Security Systems was selected by the institution to install more than 3,200 cameras in 336 buildings on 12 campuses throughout Texas. Not only did the project span the state, it would be completed in one year’s time. Additionally, during the project, a wide array of interested parties monitored the installation to verify that the advanced technology would ensure the state was, indeed, providing adequate protection for some of its most vulnerable citizens.
All-Megapixel Solution Wins the Bid
Knight and IQinVision won this high-profile contract by offering a scalable solution using new technology that achieved DADS’ security goals while saving the state money in terms of number of cameras needed and in installation and long-term maintenance costs.
Chris Hugman, Knight Security vice president and the company’s executive project manager, recalled the bid process: “We were not the lowest bid, but we received high marks on our management approach and our overall project design,” he says. “Also, I’m fairly certain we were unique in offering an all-megapixel solution. We were convinced that megapixel quality images were essential to DADS accomplishing their objectives to carefully monitor the quality of care for their residents. With the IQeye cameras you can zoom in to get the details of the activity anywhere in a room. That’s the capability they truly needed.”
The installation commenced in January 2010 and utilizes IQinVision HD megapixel cameras, OnSSI Ocularis video management software, Zyxel network switches and Dell Servers to provide the interactive video-monitoring interface. It is comprised of more than 3,200 H.264 HD megapixel cameras and includes IQeye Alliance-pro and 4-Series dome cameras, and an end-to-end network infrastructure with 35 miles of fiber optic cable to connect all the buildings on each campus.
“The timing of the project allowed us to do a couple of interesting things that yielded significant benefits to the state,” said Hugman. “Image quality is critical to this customer, so we used IQeye megapixel resolution cameras throughout. Secondly, we were able to incorporate the latest H.264 Main Profile video encoding, which gives better bandwidth and storage efficiency. The result has been superior quality images with manageable network and storage requirements — the customer has been very pleased with the clarity and performance. Had the project been six months earlier, the technology would not have been on the market to support our approach.”
By installing HD megapixel cameras, DADS was able to use fewer cameras when compared to standard definition cameras and still cover more area in each building. By using H.264 compression, Knight was able to put more cameras on a single gigabit link, and the state is able to maintain an extended video archive without paying for exorbitant storage capacity. Each of the 12 DADS campuses has between six and 62 buildings, and the number of cameras in each building ranges from one to more than 70.
Security Officers Monitor Video 24/7
The video surveillance solution installed monitors mainly the common areas of each building and/or where activities are performed — common rooms, task areas and work centers. The charge was to provide coverage in all public areas but no residents’ rooms, bathrooms or treatment rooms.
Each campus has its own independent video surveillance system with a central monitoring room. This necessitated a system architecture that was very scalable to meet the requirements at each campus. Live monitoring is done at all 12 campuses; in fact, live monitoring is key to ensuring that all care is under constant observation to prevent any abuse or neglect.
At least two people monitor video 24/7/365 at a bank of monitors at each location. The Ocularis video management software enables security staff to display up to 12 camera views on each monitor. The software includes mapping capability to enable staff to drill down by clicking on icons. Knight trained the more than 150 security employees on the most efficient and effective use of the video monitoring software.
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