SimplexGrinnell was called upon to design and specify a camera system for Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs, at parking lot, but the project presented some specific challenges. Among them are harsh wind and cold-weather conditions, power problems, and coming up with a way to get network to the cameras.
The cameras needed to be mounted on existing light poles located within the parking lot. But all the lights were running on a photo cell, so only high-voltage power was being supplied to the lights between dusk and dawn. Consequently, each pole, which ranged anywhere from 480 Volts to 180, had to be stepped down. And, because the campus is set on a very hilly terrain, many of the buildings were presenting blockage problems. The cost to hammer up concrete and install conduits/cable was not within the budget and the downtime to do so was not feasible, so SimplexGrinnell had to install the system from start to finish without hindering the school faculty and students from their daily activities.
Knowing there was no existing way of getting network to the cameras, SimplexGrinnell met with Fluidmesh, did extensive testing and review of the products and technology, and chose to use Fluidmesh in the project design.
Fluidmesh Networks is the provider of wireless systems for security, industrial, and mission-critical applications. Its range of solutions covers point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and mesh networks with an unparalleled level of reliability, flexibility and ease of use. Such a technology offers an alternative to fiber and trenching in campus environments by creating a robust and safe wireless network which is owned 100 percent by the college and has no recurring monthly or yearly fees. Common applications are video surveillance, emergency phones, extensions of office LAN and WAN. This technology, due to its ease of installation, flexibility and cost is chosen more and more often by many campuses instead of regular network setups such as fiber.
To solve the power issue, SimplexGrinnell worked with SunWize and designed a power system to supply the Fluidmesh technology, cameras and step-down transformers to achieve the low voltage needed.
After assessing and addressing the specific challenges inherent to this installation, Robert Oldham, integrator on the project for SimplexGrinnell, set out to create a system that would provide high-connectivity and plenty of bandwidth for the network PTZ cameras.
“We used Panasonic network PTZ cameras and set the onboard auto tracking features to come on during the evening low activity hours,” Oldham said. This camera is also rated to function in extremely cold conditions. The Panasonic camera was also selected because of the SD card slot which allows it to record onboard if an event signal is lost. Once signal is returned, the camera auto-updates the NVR.
Oldham went with SunWize to rectify the power issues because its system is designed to charge a bank of batteries during the evening hours while the parking lights are on, and, during the off time, the batteries supply power to the Fluidmesh network and cameras.
System reliability was a key concern. “We needed a system that, once installed and set-up, would work reliably, perform well in harsh conditions, and require little maintenance,” Oldham said. “Rock Springs is famous for constant high-winds and extremely cold winters. Because the nearest SimplexGrinnell office is in Salt Lake City Utah, it's a three-hour drive each way to service the customer.”
Mark Padilla, Security Director for Western Wyoming Community College, is pleased with the success of the system. “In planning for our parking lots, we had several physical obstacles to overcome to provide sufficient coverage and reach project goals,” he said. “This technology helped resolve many of our concerns to provide the best possible coverage without driving up our costs.”
Fluidmesh technology will also keep future costs down, as well. “The college expressed a desire to expand the system by adding future locations and complying with budget restrictions. We liked what Fluidmesh offered because we can add and grow with ease,” Oldham said. “Expandability was something we looked at seriously and Fluidmesh fits the need. And, we wanted to provide our customer with the best possible product and solution, and Fluidmesh worked with us to design the system and supply every needed part right down to the nuts and bolts. Fluidmesh met the customer's goals and provided us with real-time support in the final programming,” he added. “Our service techs didn't need to make return trips to troubleshoot.”
Paul Ross, Building Operator System Specialist for Western Wyoming Community College, is thrilled with the results. “Utilizing the new Fluidmesh technology for our surveillance camera system eliminated significant cost and allowed us to maintain quality and satisfaction with our campus' security system”.
The IP mesh system allows campus security, campus managers and the local police department to easily access cameras, which provides a much safer campus to the students, staff and property. It also enables Security Services to be more effective on their patrols and the local police are now more responsive and better prepared when they dispatch.