University of Vermont’s Switch to Qognify VMS Improves Police Dispatch Emergency Response

Qognify VMS gives UVM's Police Dispatch team the ability to create and conduct "virtual" patrols.
Published: April 16, 2023

Qognify has announced the University of Vermont (UVM) has transitioned to Qognify VMS, the company’s next-generation enterprise-class video management system (VMS). The VMS has been deployed to improve how the university’s Police Dispatch team manages real-time emergency events, as well as its post-incident investigation and daily on-campus surveillance.

As with many schools, colleges and universities, UVM relies on its video management system as the hub of its surveillance operations. However, as UVM looked to the future, it began investigating how taking an integrated approach to managing its campus-wide security plans could benefit the school.

Taking Advantage of VMS Advances

An extensive and expanding CCTV camera network positioned in and around the buildings and grounds owned or controlled by UVM make up a cornerstone of the university’s safety and security operations. This infrastructure is relied upon by the university’ Police Dispatch Team, a group of on-site officers who monitor live camera feeds, coordinate the response to an incident and use footage to conduct investigations. The operation relies on the performance of the school’s VMS.

UVM initially deployed its open-platform IP video surveillance solution, NiceVision, before migrating to Qognify’s VisionHub in 2017, taking advantage of advances in VMS technology. As a result, its estate of almost 500 cameras (predominantly IP cameras from AXIS) and CBORD CS access control system were integrated, with cameras mapped to entry and exit points around the campus.

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When Qognify announced the launch of its next-generation enterprise-class VMS – Qognify VMS — in 2022, UVM was excited about its capabilities to improve how its Police Dispatch team managed real-time emergency events, as well as for post-incident investigation and daily on-campus surveillance. It’s why UVM was one of the first organizations to make the transition to Qognify VMS.

Creating and Conducting ‘Virtual Patrols’ on Campus

The University of Vermont opted for an on-premise deployment, transferring UVM’s entire camera estate onto Qognify VMS. During the rollout, it was vital that the duties of the Police Dispatch team would be uninterrupted.

“The university is required by the police to keep 30-days of recorded camera footage so that they can review it if an incident is reported,” says Harlan Howard, equipment technician at UVM’s CATcard Service Center. “Together with Qognify, we took the decision to run VisionHub and QVMS side by during the deployment. The transition took place over 60 days and was very smooth. In fact, throughout the process the Police Dispatch team was already using Qognify VMS as its sole interface for accessing video.”

A major benefit for the Police Dispatch team that Qognify VMS delivers, says Qognify: the ability to quickly create and conduct ‘virtual’ patrols. A route around the campus is designed and the relevant cameras are selected. Live feeds from these cameras are then automatically cycled and displayed on one of the monitors.

“The feedback we have from the police is that this is one of their favorite features of Qognify VMS,” says Harlan. “In essence, this proactive monitoring has given them an extra patrol, which has resulted in them being able to catch more people in the act.”

Another advantage is the ease with which video footage can be exported for evidence purposes, says Harlan: “It was quick before, but Qognify VMS makes it much easier for officers to share video regardless of their technical skill level.”

In addition, the new system is making life easier for UVM’s CATcard Service Center to manage its expanding camera network. “It is now a much more streamlined process,” says Harlan. “It may take half an hour to physically install a camera, but it’s just a few minutes to add it to the network via Qognify VMS.”

UVM’s Fleming Museum of Art Touts 30+ Cameras

UVM’s Fleming Museum of Art houses more than 30 cameras with live monitoring through Qognify VMS. (Photo: UVM)

This speed of install and camera management has helped UVM as it grows the number of cameras in use around the campus. Just one example of this is the University’s Fleming Museum of Art, which houses Vermont’s most comprehensive collection of art and anthropological artifacts. During the pandemic, the previous VMS enabled administrative staff to monitor live camera feeds remotely. Now, with its doors open to visitors, the number of cameras has increased to more than 30, and the live monitoring through Qognify VMS helps provide peace of mind to exhibiting artists that their work is being kept safe.

Cameras are also being used to monitor transaction points at unattended dining facilities around the campus, where students can purchase food using their CATcard (identification and debit card). Again, connected to the network and managed by Qognify VMS.

Looking to the near future, the university is looking to take advantage of a Homeland Security Grant to increase and improve camera coverage across the campus.

“The positive experience of the Police Dispatch team in using Qognify VMS is driving the initiative to expand our surveillance operations,” says Harlan. “They recognize that more cameras integrated into the system will lead to them dealing with more incidents quicker and more effectively. For us in the CATcard Service Center, Qognify VMS means we can provide better support to the police and be far more efficient in how we manage and maintain our core security systems.”

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