Home to one of the largest museum car collections in the nation, LeMay – America's Car Museum relies on Omnicast to protect their multi-million dollar fleet and improve the visitor experience.Home to one of the largest museum car collections in the nation, LeMay – America's Car Museum relies on Omnicast to protect their multi-million dollar fleet and improve the visitor experience.
Named in honor of the late Harold E. LeMay, a mid-century Tacoma-based businessman, whose passion for cars amassed a private collection of over 3000 vehicles, LeMay - America's Car Museum(ACM) opened its doors in June 2012. Not short of impressive, the ACM features a nine-acre campus, with a four-story museum as the centerpiece which houses just under 300 vehicles at any given time. With 165,000 square feet of interior space, a massive three acre show field for outdoor events, and a multi-million dollar car collection comprised of rare and diverse automobiles, ACM's security team has its plate full.
When funding for the new facility was secured by the museum's board of directors, and plans went into motion for the construction, ACM entrusted a local Certified Genetec Integrator, Robblee's Total Security Inc., to oversee the installation of their security system, cabling and infrastructure.
"It was clear with the size of the building that having a network based-system like Omnicast was going to be best for them. The ability to choose the cameras, leverage the network, and minimize cabling costs, gave us the flexibility to design a powerful system within the framework of their budget," said Jim Patterson, President at Robblee's Total Security, Inc.
Omnicast is part of the Genetec unified security platform, Security Center, which offers advanced functionality like an intuitive mobile client, a map-based interface and more capabilities.
Keeping an eye on the crowds with Omnicast
ACM's entire video management system today includes over 90 cameras, where just under 10 of those are Vicon V961-WD, 2MP outdoor fixed dome cameras, pointing in the direction of the main entry points, the show field and the parking facilities. The Vicon cameras offer ACM a true day/night camera with heightened video quality so operators can zoom into details when needed. Inside, all IP fixed dome cameras come from Axis Communications with the AXIS M3202, which according to Patterson: "Give a higher resolution than alternate cameras and still fit within their budget constraints."
"The design of the building is such that we have perimeter ramps that circle the exterior of each floor allowing both the movement of vehicles from floor to floor and the display of cars on the ramps in galleries. The cameras mainly target the collection, giving us clear visibility down each ramp to see our visitors and the line of cars," explained Paul E. Miller, Vice President and COO at ACM.
The Omnicast video surveillance system enables onsite security to monitor the facility around the clock from an open six-monitor station located just beyond ticketing. As visitors begin their tour, they become aware they are in a secure facility monitored by security staff.
"We have had visitors enter our vehicles without permission. The fact that we are able to monitor and dispatch officers for response has been instrumental in keeping the vehicles from being damaged," explained Jeff Gordner, Facilities Manager at ACM.
Genetec storage partner, Pivot 3, provided ACM with a total of 12TB of storage that allows the museum to hold up to four weeks of recorded video. In case of incidents, ACM security can do a quick search, review and export video, and save it on a DVD for long-term documentation.
"Easy retrieval of video has been very helpful in the instances of medical emergencies or guest accidents," said Miller. "Not only can our team respond to an event and bookmark it right away if they catch it on the live feed, but we also have a record of the occurrence for liability or future records if need be."
Discovering the impact on operational improvements
Apart from keeping the cars safe, ACM has coincidently found a host of other benefits that have stemmed from the new video surveillance system, including improving guest services and better managing internal relationships.
"Although the video system was intended to watch the collection, we have also found that it has really been helpful in managing operations. Differing opinions of events or interactions can be easily resolved. Using the video surveillance system, we are able to see what happened, how events unfolded, and address the situation appropriately," claimed Gordner.
ACM has also been able to use the Omnicast video surveillance system to respond to vendors after hours like caterers, dispatching the right contact to greet them at the rear entrance. Similarly, ACM also uses the video system to improve its guest experience, monitoring traffic in the gift store, ticketing booths or café, and assigning more cashiers if these areas appear to be overcrowded.
Driving into the future
Although ACM is just beginning to scratch the surface of the Omnicast capabilities, its look forward to possibly implementing other features from the Genetec unified security platform, Security Center, such as Mobile, which will give their officers video access and alarms response to their mobile devices from anywhere in the museum. Another key Omnicast feature that was important in the selection is the ability to program motion detection alarms. When the trigger goes off from the Axis network cameras, the video would be automatically launched to the screen and operators could assess if someone is leaning in, touching or opening the door of a car, and address the situation when appropriate.
Camera expansion is also on the ACM's to-do, but the team is also considering upgrading devices with PTZ functionality or higher resolutions to get even better vantage points from their investments. Miller concluded saying: "Omnicast has met all of our needs, including being a future-proof solution. It gives us the opportunity to integrate low and high resolution devices, and upgrade to new technology over time, as more funding becomes available."