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Campuses continues on successful path with Panasonic security

Campuses continues on successful path with Panasonic security
The Onslow County School System in Jacksonville, N.C., has long been an advocate for innovative video surveillance technology. Over the past 10-plus years, the county has consistently employed Panasonic cameras throughout its campuses and counted on video to bring accountability, security and safety to its network of 37 schools. But realizing an IP-based surveillance system was the only way to accomplish their future goals, the school district turned to systems integrator North Carolina Sound, Pikeville, N.C., for their expertise in developing a cost effective migration path toward IP-based surveillance.

North Carolina Sound has provided a solid migration path with Panasonic products to the school district as it continues to move to high-resolution IP video and as it currently navigates a hybrid environment with analog encoders and IP video mix. Currently the school district uses surveillance primarily at entrances, exits, hallways, cafeterias, libraries, gymnasiums, parking lots and other public areas.

The city of Jacksonville is home to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, a 246-square-mile United States military training facility. With a majority of the children on base attending Onslow County Schools, there is a higher level of safety awareness by local military parents, says Lester Peele, North Carolina Sound Director of Business Development.

"It's a priority for the school district to be proactive in protecting all of its students, but the active military parents in particular ask about the safeguards that are in place," Peele explains. North Carolina Sound also recently installed one of the first all-digital, integrated crisis lockdown systems – the first in the state – in one of the high schools and continues to move all the older cameras on the school campuses to Panasonic high-definition video surveillance. A range of Panasonic models have been deployed throughout the district, including the WV-SF332 and SF336 H.264 Fixed Dome Network Camera; WV-SW155 MEGA Super Dynamic HD Vandal-Resistant Compact Dome Network Camera; WV-SFV311 i-PRO Smart HD Outdoor Vandal Resistant Network Camera; and WV-SW458 360 degree Vandal-Resistant Dome Network Camera with Full HD 1080p.

With the safety of staff and students of paramount importance to the district, the technology overhaul has been a key priority for Dusty Rhodes, director of safety & security for Onslow County Schools. After evaluating several manufacturers, the district chose to standardize on Panasonic due to the standout image quality of its cameras and ease-of-use of its recorders and WV-ASM200 video management software, according to Rhodes. The upgrade from its original legacy analog CCTV technology to the latest high-definition IP cameras continues across all elementary, middle, high schools as well as the alternative learning facility in the district.

Peele says the transition to Panasonic is ongoing, and currently the school district has an 1100-plus hybrid camera system in place. About 60 to 70 percent of the surveillance infrastructure is now IP (some with encoding technology).

"Our main goal is the protection of students and staff and then to protect property," says Rhodes. "We are actively engaged with our surveillance system every day and use it to review any events or activity that happens during off-hours as well," he says. The school district's cameras are integrated into the Panasonic ASM200 video management software application and viewed from a central control area in Rhodes' offices. Onslow County Police and Public Safety Departments can request access to live and recorded video.

"We brought our concerns regarding effective migration to North Carolina Sound along with the challenge to encode our current base of analog cameras so we could move forward to IP as we were financially able," Rhodes continues. "Peele and North Carolina Sound Technician Joe Glover pitched Panasonic to us and we tested the solution as well as other products. We immediately fell in love with the products for their image clarity and overall ease of use. Even on some of the current analog cameras outfitted with the Panasonic encoders and new network video recorders, the immediate difference was night and day. It's changed the way we look at and approach security. Panasonic has an answer for every one of our challenges," he says.

"All our current installations are Panasonic WV-SF336 i-PRO SmartHD IP fixed dome network cameras, i-PRO Ultra 360° cameras and Panasonic encoders for our remaining analog products, which has been a tremendous cost savings. We are also using the embedded recording platform WJ-ND400 i-PRO SmartHD Network Video Recorder (NVR)." Currently 29 NVRs are installed with another nine or so existing Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) to be replaced with Panasonic ND400s in the coming months as Onslow grows and builds five new schools during the next ten years.

"The problem with our previous DVR system, beyond the analog signals, is that they cap out at 16 cameras. With the new NVRs we can put 64 cameras on each unit and that changes the face of our entire security system," Rhodes says. He adds that no recurring licensing fees was a key selling point for the Panasonic solution. "We wanted an 'out-the-door' package and Panasonic was able to provide that," Rhodes says.

Rhodes was equally impressed with Panasonic quality and their ability to beef up their analog signals with Panasonic encoding and recording technology. "The clarity from DVR to NVR400s changed overnight. The analog camera images cleared up unbelievably with the encoding alone. The IP cameras themselves are unreal as far as the image quality, and our school principals were amazed by the newer IP technology and the fact that we can see faces, license plates and so much more detail now." He adds that the police department has used recorded video from the schools' cameras to investigate criminal acts that include everything from a car chase, to copper thefts at their central office to break-ins and more serious crimes.

The police department has used recorded video from the schools' cameras to investigate criminal acts that include everything from a car chase, to copper thefts at their central office to break-ins and more serious crimes.

"I ask lots of questions and shoot ideas to them, and North Carolina Sound and Panasonic always come back with a solution," Rhodes says." For example, they were able to create mapping features and functionality in the ASM200 video management software so you can pull up a floor plan for a school that indicates the precise location of the cameras and click on the camera icon for a live shot. It saves a lot of time to just click on the camera rather than scroll through a drop down menu and try to figure out which camera you want." Standardizing on a single, integrated system with Panasonic also allows administrators system wide to become more familiar with the solution and easily learn how to access camera feeds. No matter where they might be throughout the district, they know how the systems work and it has really simplified things for us."

"We created all the maps from CAD drawings of the schools provided by the county and implemented that functionality in the software by dropping and dragging cameras to their location. They know exactly where the surveillance is at in an instance," Glover says.

Product Adopted:
Network Cameras, Digital Video Recording

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