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In the mid 1990s, the University of Maryland recognized the need to address campus crime and implemented a video surveillance system to help keep the Terrapin student body secure. Campus officials reached out to Pelco™ by Schneider Electric™ representative firm 1Volt Associates, based in the mid-Atlantic, and a two-decade relationship began.The initial 23-camera installation has now grown to include 350 actively monitored cameras, plus 250 cameras connected to remote recorders in many different locations. Most recently, the ongoing opportunity for growth was accelerated with the expansion and relocation of the campus’ main police station.
Transitioning locations with no downtime
In 2001, the Security Operations Center moved from a room in the basement of the existing police station to the Pocomoke building, which had previously been the campus fire station. In June 2012, renovations to the Pocomoke building meant another temporary move for the center, this time to a location two miles off campus to the Severn building, formerly the Washington Post newspaper printing facility.
The move off campus presented many challenges: no campus infrastructure, lack of a fiber network, and a different electrical system. Ken Fowler, coordinator with the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety, reconnected with 1Volt to design and implement a fully-functional operations center.
What began as a project to set up a temporary space while renovations of Pocomoke took place, quickly revealed that a redesign of the Severn building was necessary to meet the needs of the new security station.
Making an investment in the Severn building created the opportunity to keep that space as a redundant location following the Pocomoke completion. With the demand for the redesign of the Severn building, it made sense to keep the existing Pocomoke system operational and install a new solution at Severn.
The university switched to a network-based system, adding encoders and swapping some analog cameras for state-of-the-art IP cameras.
During the move, the operations center split its staff of 50 for two weeks, with no lapse in coverage.
Mission-critical surveillance now in session
The university converted the first 20 cameras from a System 9780 matrix to an Endura™ IP video management platform for mission-critical surveillance. The process was fluid from start to finish with operations beginning in the Severn building in early August, just in time for the start of the school year.
“Pelco and 1Volt did some pretty incredible stuff to get the equipment rushed, which got us back on schedule,” Fowler said.
The move to Severn gained redundant fiber lines, redundant power stations, a fully functional generator, and a properly designed and cooled data center. All recording is distributed to the four hubs on campus in shared IT spaces designed with proper power and cooling. This solution eliminated all single points of failure.
Completion of the Pocomoke building was in October 2013 when information systems, 911 Center, and the operations center were relocated. The result is a secondary operations center in the Severn building that can also function as a backup 911 center and emergency operations center.
“The University of Maryland is highly impressed with the ease of working with 1Volt and Pelco for a solution,” said Mark McGuigan, coordinator with the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety. “The fluid migration path, existing equipment compatibility, one-time licensing fee, and overall one-time expense, paired with the aesthetic appeal of the Endura keyboard made for an overall great project.”