University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Campus deploys advanced security camera system
Editor / Provider: Scallop Imaging | Updated: 3/27/2015 | Article type: Education
* Designed a state-of-the-art surveillance system
* Enhanced public safety initiatives and improved operational efficiencies
* Streamlined monitoring capabilities
* Integrated various technologies delivering a new layer of safety and security
With a population of more than 53,000 students, faculty, and staff, the University of Illinois is a “city within a city.” Like any municipality, the university works to prevent and respond to criminal activity and emergencies by offering a variety of programs that create a safer place in which to study, work and socialize.
Campus lighting improvements, emergency phones, Student Patrol and self-defense classes are just a few of the resources available to enhance student safety. The university has also invested in the technologies to support its safe campus initiatives, including access control and video security systems. At the Urbana-Champaign campus in east-central Illinois, for example, the University Police and Campus Informational Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) group have partnered to design an advanced, campus-wide security camera system, which includes Scallop Imaging cameras to better protect students, staff and assets across the 1,800-acre campus.
When the university made the decision to add more cameras to its existing system, there were two primary areas of focus: situational awareness and image identification. Scallop Imaging delivers full situational awareness with a constant 180° view and simultaneous zoom details in one standard video frame, delivering on both key requirements. “Scallop Imaging addressed our need for a camera that could deliver awareness in areas across campus where we wanted a wider view, such as hallways and open areas,” explained Uros Marjanovic, Network Service Engineer at the University of Illinois. Each department is responsible for its own security budget, so cost was also a key consideration.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus has hundreds of cameras installed in academic, athletic, cultural and student housing buildings, as well as outdoor public areas. “The Department of Public Safety takes a holistic approach towards security on campus, with the camera system being a key piece of that plan,” said Ken Felsman, Life Safety Engineer at the University of Illinois, who explained that the campus-wide system runs on Milestone Systems open platform IP video management software (VMS). The team has installed 150 Scallop Imaging cameras – about 16 percent of the total camera count – including both the D7-180 and M6-200 security cameras in areas where standard cameras were unable to perform at a high enough standard for clear identification.
The 6 MP Scallop Imaging M6-200 camera is the first distributed image panoramic camera specifically designed to provide outstanding image quality under very low-light conditions, giving the university the ability to accurately see events at any time of the day or night. “We installed the M6-200 cameras in areas that are naturally darker or not well lit and in corridors where there are exposed light switches that can be turned off,” noted Marjanovic.
As part of its mandate to provide patrol, investigation and emergency response services, the University Police have access to the campus-wide camera system 24/7. “Campus Police use the information gathered to create reports about specific events and can easily export video to share with stakeholders if necessary,” commented Felsman.
Each department requests system access for specific employees to see their departmental cameras. Those employees may use the cameras primarily for live viewing. “Someone might check the cameras to be sure the path to the parking lot is clear before leaving at the end of the day,” said Felsman. The Scallop Imaging technologies directly address the university's key requirement for complete situational awareness and detailed image quality, while meeting budget requirements. Instead of the traditional “one lens, one piece of film” box camera approach, Scallop Imaging distributes the imaging task among multiple sensors and combines their output at video rates in the camera itself to work similar to the human eye. Delivering a true 180° view without using fish-eye lenses that can distort images, Scallop Imaging can deliver exceptional image quality.
The cameras are durable, easy to install and have an extremely low failure rate. “We do all installations in-house and found it very straightforward,” affirmed Marjanovic.
One of the main reasons the university chose to install Scallop Imaging cameras was because of the cameras' sleek and discreet form factor. The fact that Scallop cameras blend in where conventional cameras do not was of particular importance because the university strives to maintain the architectural integrity of its buildings “Scallop cameras fit in better with the campus' overall design than a traditional dome camera mounted on a wall would,” commented Marjanovic. The cameras are so discreet that individuals walking by may not even know that there are cameras in the area.
From a security and safety standpoint, the university's goal is to deter criminal activity and protect students and staff from potential harm using a variety of methods and tools. “The Scallop Imaging cameras have helped achieve objectives put forth by our Department of Public Safety,” concluded Marjanovic. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus plans to add more as the need arises and funding becomes available.