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The future of managing campus-wide security plans

The future of managing campus-wide security plans
Since deploying VisionHub, Qognify's VMS, the University of Vermont has realized many benefits derived from having surveillance cameras and tightly integrated access control.
Many schools, colleges and universities rely on their video management systems (VMS) as the hub of their surveillance operations. However, as they look to the future and realize the benefit of taking an integrated approach to managing their campus-wide security plans, the road ahead can be unclear, with variety of systems and solutions available at a wide array of price points. This was the challenge The University of Vermont had been facing.
Located in New England, The University of Vermont was founded in 1791 and is one of the oldest universities in the U.S. The institution had been using Qognify’s open-platform IP video surveillance solution, NiceVision, at its 460-acre campus in Burlington for many years. In 2017, it was decided the time was right to begin a process of integrating its core security systems, specifically its surveillance cameras and access control.
Looking at the solutions available on the market, it initially appeared the next logical step would be to deploy a physical security information management (PSIM) system. Senior Equipment Technician, Robert Cochran, has worked at the University CATcard office since 2014 and is responsible for the campus security infrastructure. He explains the decision-making process: “We looked closely at different PSIM systems and while they were powerful, they were also very expensive and didn’t match our requirements. What we ideally wanted to find was a VMS that was capable of being our core security management system.”
The timing of the University’s search was perfect. Several months earlier, Qognify had launched its next generation VMS – VisionHub, a VMS+ solution that received worldwide acclaim, winning plaudits such as ‘CCTV System of the Year’ from the Security & Fire Excellence Awards. Robert adds: “We were already using NiceVision and had been impressed by its functionality and reliability. So, when Qognify presented us with a migratory path to VisionHub we knew we had found the all-in-one solution that we had been seeking.”
The enterprise-class video-centric security management system went live in 2017, with the University’s on-campus install base of 459 video channels (using predominantly AXIS IP cameras) and CBORD’s CS Access system, fully integrated and operational since 2019. “VisionHub gives us the option to integrate all 600 of our access locations, however, we made the decision to focus on the 250 doors that have cameras mapped to them,” explains Robert.
Since deploying VisionHub, the University has realized many benefits derived from having surveillance cameras and tightly integrated access control. These range from managing real-time emergency events to conducting post incident investigation and daily on-campus surveillance. “During an emergency operations event, VisionHub is the only interface we need to assess the situation and respond,” continues Robert.
“We can view live and recorded camera feeds, as well as access transactions and door information, providing us with a clear real-time picture of people and crowd movement. If any intervention is required, we can control the opening and closing of doors. All of this is done within the one single clear and easy-to-use system.”
From day one, the University has continuously innovated and extracted increasing value from its investment in Qognify’s VMS+ solution. Most recently, it undertook a project in the summer of 2020 to provide administrative staff working at the Fleming Museum of Art - Vermont's most comprehensive collection of art and anthropological artifacts - with the ability to monitor live camera feeds remotely. “VisionHub has been instrumental in helping to reduce unnecessary on-site attendance, as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Robert. “Also, from a day-to-day maintenance perspective the VisionHub Web Client is perfect, as it eliminates the need for technicians to move around the campus, as upgrades and authorizations can all be centrally managed off-site.”
Today, VisionHub is trusted and relied upon by six university departments, to deliver live video feeds from their cameras. This includes the Police Dispatch team who have permission to review recorded footage and conduct investigations. Robert concludes: “VisionHub has delivered everything we hoped it would. It has been extremely beneficial to work so closely with the Professional Services Team at Qognify, to manage the migration from our existing VMS to the centralized integrated security management system we have today.”

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