California State University, Long Beach, one of the nation's largest public universities, is watching over its campus with a wireless video surveillance system similar to those used at Super Bowl XLII and in metropolises such as Chicago and Dallas. The system, which employs wireless networks from Firetide Inc., helps alleviate safety concerns ranging from auto theft and vandalism to traffic flow and congestion. To date, the system has led to a dozen arrests, including one felony weapons possession charge.
The university administration and on-campus police department needed a surveillance system to supplement officers on patrol and couldn't temporarily shut down to lay fixed cable.
In addition to the task of watching over a population of 38,000 commuter-students, the Cal State Long Beach police department patrols many large and remote parking lots.
Thirty-seven pan-tilt-zoom cameras, 29 of which are connected wirelessly, and 40 Firetide mesh nodes comprise the university's network, deployed by local installer Moore Electrical Contracting, Inc. The network operates in the licensed 4.9 GHz public safety band to reduce interference and provide extra security; the system includes Bosch analog cameras and IndigoVision encoders and video management. The majority of cameras are strategically located on light poles and other structures around campus and its parking lots. Those entering areas under surveillance are alerted via signs.
Trained police dispatchers monitor the live video feeds and communicate with police officers on patrol in real time. All dispatchers are cross-trained in both communications and the video system. This versatile expertise enables one person to remain focused on operating the system, while another team member directs the officer to the scene and relays critical information.
Although the department used some existing fixed cable, it built a new wireless infrastructure for the project. The university and police department own and operate the secure network, so they have the ability to add other high-bandwidth applications like data transmission. Ultimately, the network will be able to stream live video into patrol cars on the beat.