JVC Provides a Safe Learning Environment for Texas Schools

JVC Provides a Safe Learning Environment for Texas Schools
Using funding from public bond initiatives, a handful of schools in the Plano Independent School District (ISD) in Collin County, Texas, are renovated every few years. For the most recent round of renovations, which began in summer 2009, the district upgraded its analog surveillance systems with JVC 16-channel NVRs and a variety of JVC IP-based cameras.

The Plano ISD serves residents in the northern portions of Dallas and Richardson, as well as the city of Plano and parts of two other cities in southwest Collin County. It includes 70 schools, from preschools to senior high schools as well as two special program centers, with more than 55,000 students and 6,800 employees.

“13 campuses have already upgraded to JVC NVRs and six sites have been completely renovated with JVC cameras and NVRs. In addition, McMillen High School, a new facility located in Murphy, will feature JVC security systems when it opens for the 2011 to 2012 school year,” said Kris Gentz, Systems Manager, Plano ISD Security Police Services.

Each school is equipped with 100 to 150 cameras monitoring interior and exterior common areas of campus, according to Gentz. The majority of new JVC cameras are the network camera that features a 1/4-inch progressive scan CCD, day/night surveillance and built-in motion detection. However, the district has also installed some HD JVC cameras, which include a 1.3-megapixel progressive scan CCD, to keep watch over parking lots.

“After researching many security camera brands, we chose JVC,” Gentz said. “They seemed to be reliable and are easy to install. The feedback from the campuses has been favorable.”

Specifically, Gentz said the JVC cameras provide better images in low light than other cameras he tested. The picture quality of the recorded video has improved, unlike analog cameras, which require encoding and decoding of the video signal through a digital network, the signal from IP-based cameras stays digital throughout the process.

Each school has its own surveillance network based, which features a VCR-like front panel control panel for easy operation. Some sites have as many as nine NVRs networked together to accommodate the numerous surveillance cameras. Gentz said the NVR's remote access is an important time-saving feature, because it allows him and other authorized personnel to remotely monitor footage and control cameras from all sites without driving to each campus in the district.

Plano ISD also favored the idea of using local NVRs for each campus. The use of local NVRs was a big benefit for the district's network, as it requires far less bandwidth to monitor specific footage from one location than it does to transmit all the footage from hundreds of cameras and dozens of locations to be recorded.

Schools remain one of the largest markets for JVC security equipment. With no license fee for each camera, districts like Plano ISD save thousands of dollars annually. Plus, network installation is simplified with built-in drivers for a number of cameras from JVC and other manufacturers. The NVR's remote access is another important selling point for many school districts.

Several distributors and integrators have been part of Plano's recent surveillance upgrades, with Anixter serving as the main distributor for the project. The Ascend Group, which is based in Addison, Texas, is JVC's manufacturer representative firm for the state.

“Plano wanted an appliance-based system that was similar in architecture to their existing analog system. The IT department liked the fact that they did not have to build servers, because it was an out-of-the-box, enterprise-class machine with everything embedded,” said Craig Yates at the Ascend Group.

Gentz said the move to a digital surveillance workflow does have a learning curve, and he has appreciated the support from JVC during the installation process. “It's not like the analog camera systems, you need to be somewhat network savvy and your technology department has to be on board. Our technology department has been super.”
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