IndigoVision'sdistributed IP video solution is at the heart of a revolutionary surveillance system that has had a major impact on the policing of the City of Lansing, Michigan's State Capital. Embracing IP video technology has allowed the police department to develop a fully integrated public video surveillance system (PVS) that has a vast reach across the city.
The system was jointly designed and installed by IndigoVision's authorized partner Vidcom Solutions, the City of Lansing's Electronic Equipment Maintenance Unit, and ACD.net has enabled the city to integrate a number of existing analog camera systems as well as deploy numerous new cameras. Both 911 dispatchers and police vehicles use Control Center, IndigoVision's security management software, to access live and recorded video. The police department's 60 vehicles each have a laptop with high speed broadband 3-G technology that allows officers to view and control any camera in the system.
"We're always looking for ways to free up patrol time for our officers, we decided that we were going to take an aggressive approach and get the equipment out there to our officers so they can be more effective and efficient," said Lansing Police Chief, Mark Alley.
Having access to live video is a major benefit for the 911 emergency dispatchers, allowing them to respond more effectively to incidents. For example, following a call about a fight, the dispatcher can view the nearest camera and see how many people are involved and whether weapons are being used. This allows the response to be more tailored to the incident. Police officers in the two precinct headquarters also have access to the video using Control Center workstations.
The City of Lansing Police Department has 250 sworn officers and more than 90 civilians serving a community of 120,000 residents across an area of 33 square miles. As with many urban areas, Lansing faces a tough policing environment, with crime reduction and public safety at the forefront. The decision to deploy city-wide video surveillance in 2007 was driven by the need to clean up a number of known crime areas.
The final IP video solution was chosen following a side-by-side comparison, at full frame rate, of systems from different vendors. Commenting on the outcome of these tests, Jeff Kludy, Chief Technology Administrator for the City of Lansing said, "With so many varying network conditions throughout our system, achieving optimal video quality and compression at 30 fps were key to us choosing IndigoVision over other IP video solutions. Another critical factor was having a distributed architecture that didn't allow for a single point of failure. This was a significant advantage over other systems that rely on a single centralized server to run all of the cameras and recorders."
IndigoVision's compression technology is behind much of what Lansing has achieved with its surveillance operation. The ability to deliver very high quality video with low bandwidth requirement allows camera footage to be efficiently streamed across various network technologies including ShDSL's, fiber, mesh wireless and mobile 3-G broadband. IndigoVision's licensing has also delivered huge cost benefits for the city. Control Center software is licensed on an unrestricted basis within the cost of IndigoVision's hardware. This has allowed the Police Department to deploy numerous copies of the software, both in Police buildings and in their vehicles, for no additional cost.
The distributed architecture of the IP video system has provided immense flexibility and integrated capability. A number of existing analog installations across the city have been interfaced to the PVS including public schools and cameras from the Capital Area Transportation Authority. IndigoVision's authorized partner Data Consultants has also just won the contract to convert the 60-camera system in the city's correctional facility from a traditional analog/DVR to IP video using all IndigoVision network cameras and the new NVRs.
This flexibility means that a camera can be added anywhere on the network allowing the Police to target particular areas. This was used to good effect when a camera was installed to monitor a particular nightclub that was known to cause problems with drunkenness and disorder around the local area. Police and dispatchers can now proactively monitor the area which has resulted in a more effective police response as well as a reduction in the amount of incidents.