Lake Forest High Installs Megapixel Cameras

New video surveillance system has helped school officials address security and administrative challenges.

CHICAGO—Lake Forest High School serves the residents of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood, Ill., and is located 30 miles north of Chicago. Originally built in 1935, the facilities have had substantial and continual renovation. The school now boasts state of the art science labs, a studio theater, an auditorium theater, a complete array of special education facilities, computer labs, a student publication center, photography lab, a television studio with a collection of 5,500 curriculum-related videotapes, a computerized library with CD-ROM information retrieval, a new field house, a climbing wall and Olympic size swimming pool with diving well.

To protect all of these assets, as well as the students and staff who attend and work at the high school, campus officials determined they needed a new video surveillance system. The top priority was image quality. With the school’s old system, there were often times when a satisfactory video “clip” was not available when required by school administrators or local authorities. Additionally, Lake Forest High School has continued to expand and wanted to enhance administrators’ ability to effectively monitor the entire facility.

To address these issues, the campus installed 89 Arecont Vision cameras, including an assortment of 1.3-megapixel and 3-megapixel single sensor cameras as well as 8- megapixel panoramic cameras. The cameras send digital video signals across the school’s IT infrastructure to two servers running network video recorder (NVR) software supplied by Exacq Technologies.
The collaboration between Arecont Vision and Exacq Technologies ensures interoperability of Arecont Vision’s megapixel cameras with the Exacq Vision NVR platform. Video images at the school are stored on two 15-terabyte servers.

The Arecont Vision AV1300 1.3 Megapixel Camera with a 1/2” CMOS sensor provides 1280 x1024-pixel video at 32 frames-per-second. Features include image cropping, region-of-interest viewing and the ability to zoom into an image after it is recorded to see details. Built with Arecont Vision’s MegaVideo technology, the camera provides image processing at six billion operations per second and light sensitivity to 0.1lux at f1.4.

For situations needing higher resolution images, Lake Forest High School utilizes the Arecont Vision AV3100 3 megapixel camera offering 2048×1536-pixel images and light sensitivity to 0.2 lux at f1.4.

Lake Forest High School also uses the 180-degree panoramic Arecont Vision AV8180

8 megapixel camera. The AV8180 can be used to view large coverage areas with extreme detail providing coverage equivalent to as many as 24 conventional cameras. The AV8180 employs four 2-megapixel sensors and provides up to 6400×1200-pixel images at 5.5 fps, or can be set for lower resolutions at higher frame speeds. The AV8180 also provides image cropping and up to four regions of interest.

Mark Lesmeister of Video and Sound Service, Co. along with David Owen of Ocom sales opened school officials’ eyes to the benefits of the solution.

“The addition of Arecont Vision’s megapixel camera solutions allowed us to get better picture quality from cameras that cost less than competing VGA cameras,” says Brad Balonick, information technology systems coordinator at Lake Forest High School. “Since superior image quality could be purchased for less than some standard IP cameras, we opted to upgrade their system with Arecont Vision megapixel cameras, and we got a great system. It has great picture quality, works easily and is reliable.”

Lake Forest High School’s megapixel camera system has resolved many security issues at the school – from theft to vandalism – and has assisted with various non-security issues. For example, megapixel video helps administrators monitor and adjust traffic patterns as parents and buses arrive and depart from the campus.

Now when administration calls for a particular video, the IT department can successfully deliver high quality images. “The picture quality is much better than any camera we have used before,” says Balonick.

Word about the system’s success at Lake Forest High School is getting around, and Owen has had officials from three other school systems visit or speak to Bolnick this year to discuss the system. Of those inquiries, one system was sold, one is in the design phase and the other is being budgeted.

“The education market can benefit from the performance advantages and cost-efficiencies inherent with megapixel cameras,” said Wayne Ridinger, central regional sales manager for Arecont Vision. “Covering larger areas with fewer cameras contributes to ROI at a time when education budgets are stretched to the limit.” 

Article by Keira Kordowski, an assistant account executive for in|fusion LLC, a public relations firm. Photo courtesy Arecont Vision.

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