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Academy of Santa Cecilia Preserves Italian Heritage with Milestone Video Software
Source: Milestone Systems 2009/10/30

Historical landmark of Italian musical culture protects national treasures in Rome.Historical landmark of Italian musical culture protects national treasures in Rome.

Milestone open platform IP video management software is the future-proof technology for security surveillance of historical treasures from Italian culture and music at the renowned Academy of Santa Cecilia. The system proved its scalability and flexibility when these were moved to a new location at the Parco della Musica Auditorium.

“Our situation is unique, considering the quality and quantity of the assets we are required to preserve and this video surveillance system fulfils all of our requirements. The features we appreciate most include integration with other systems in the building and scalability that is essential for rapid response to new demands that develop,” said Angelo De Santis, Logistics Superintendent at the Academy of Santa Cecilia.

The Challenge of Protecting Musical Treasures
As the crown jewel of the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Rome, the Academy of Santa Cecilia is one of the oldest and most important musical institutions in the world. Founded in 1585, it is internationally known today both as a venue for symphony orchestra concerts and as the custodian of a heritage of inestimable value, which makes it a landmark for academics and music lovers.

Unique and irreplaceable pieces in the collection consist of 120,000 volumes with 7,000 manuscripts, 3,000 librettos, 850 editions from before the 19th century, concert programs and brochures. They also have 25,000 tapes, disks and videos, more than 20,000 photographs and 290 instruments, including a priceless Stradivarius violin known as “Il Toscano.”

The academy had to transfer these treasures to the Parco della Musica Auditorium, the multi-functional complex designed by Renzo Piano as a “City of Music” that includes Santa Cecilia Square with shops, bars, restaurants and apartments. They decided on a new system to guarantee the security of the historical items while also making them accessible to the public in the new Book and Media Library that opened in 2003.

The academy installed a Milestone software-based IP video surveillance system to protect all of the academy premises, both the new ones at the Auditorium della Musica and those remaining at the original site in Via Vittoria. During the critical period of transfer to the auditorium, exhibits were monitored during placements on the shelves of the library, along with the equipment in the new offices adjacent to the library.

The IP Solution: cost efficient use of IT infrastructure, future scalability
“When the Academy awarded us the project, we did a feasibility study to show the positive cost/benefit ratio of implementing an IP software-based system that takes advantage of the IT infrastructure of the auditorium. Although the building project dated back to the 1980s, the designers of the Auditorium complex had anticipated the possibility of installing IP video cameras by laying Category 6 structured cabling at video camera height. We also proposed using the Power Over Ethernet protocol to supply the video cameras, using the same cable as those used for the network data transfer, thereby achieving further savings in the implementation costs,” said Gianmarco Acbano of e-Jam, the system integrator who designed and installed the video surveillance system.

The partner e-Jam chose Axis network video cameras and Milestone XProtect Professional video management software with an open platform and the ability to manage different video camera models from a central server that can also be accessed remotely. In practice, it has been proven that the new generation technology can be used without requiring large investments to implement an efficient and effective system that, above all, looks to the future.

De Santis explained: “It allowed us to use the existing arrangement of Ethernet cabling in the new premises and to access an innovative technology without additional costs. The IP-based solution also guaranteed important advantages: the ability to gradually scale up the system as the new spaces and offices were occupied, and to establish centralized management of our video surveillance, even at the remote location connected to the principal site via VPN.”

The most appreciated feature of the Milestone software is the flexibility it gives the academy in managing the system with the utmost freedom. All of the Axis video cameras are set up to record on motion detection with the Milestone-customizable schedule that is variable from camera to camera, activated at different times according to area-specific requirements.

All of the video images stream into a control center where they can be accessed only at the request of a judicial authority or are overwritten with a pre-determined frequency. In addition, the Book and Media Library contains a station where the images captured by the cameras can be viewed live.

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