When the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon decided to install campus-wide surveillance video, they chose to design the system themselves using IndigoVision's IP Video technology. IST is Portugal's leading School of Engineering, Science & Technology and is part of the Technical University of Lisbon. Using their own engineering team in partnership with IndigoVision's Authorised Partner, Vigilarme, IST designed the entire 50-camera solution.
“It was important for the university to have a flexible and scalable system that could be easily expanded in the future,” said Joao Ferreira, an engineer with Núcleo de Seguranca Higiene e Saúde, the university department responsible for campus security, “Following a public tender the university chose IndigoVision's system as it provided by far the best price/performance and demonstrated excellent video quality, flexibility and data security. The distributed nature of the system made it easy for our own team to design a solution that could monitor the entire campus.”
The campus consists of 16 buildings and surrounding grounds, covering an area in excess of 60,000 square metres. The university was ideal for an IP-based video solution as it already had its own fiber-based network covering the whole campus. The system consists of 50 cameras that are predominantly installed to monitor outside areas. The university now has approval from the data protection authorities to monitor inside the buildings and will shortly be adding another 60 cameras. The security team uses Control Center, IndigoVision's Security Management Software (SMS) to view live and recorded video, analyse footage and export evidential video to the police in the event of any incidents.
“In use the system has proved to be very stable and easy to use,” Ferreira said. “It has been a terrific deterrent, with serious incidents being almost completely eliminated since it was installed. Before, we had a small number of isolated CCTV systems in a number of buildings, now we have a system that can monitor the whole campus from one location using a single Control Center workstation with four monitors. The overall footprint of the control room setup is very small.”
The university takes data security and privacy very seriously and was keen to ensure live and recorded video could only be accessed by authorised staff. “Even though the video was streamed on the existing network we created a Virtual-LAN to keep the IP Video data separate and therefore secure from other network users. We allow only three users to export footage and the video recorders are located in a secure room in a different building to the live monitoring centre,” Ferreira said.
Video is recorded continuously on three IndigoVision stand-alone, fault-tolerant NVRs with RAID storage for redundancy. “With IndigoVision's excellent compression and motion detection features such as ACF we can record all cameras 24/7 at 25 fps for 30 days very affordably and know we will not lose evidence,” Ferreira said. “When there is an incident and the police request footage, it is very quick and easy to retrieve the relevant video using Control Center, even though the recorders are in a separate building.”
Activity Controlled Framerate (ACF) is a unique feature built into IndigoVision's transmitter/receiver units. ACF reduces the frame rate when there is no activity in a camera scene. When motion is detected the video is instantaneously streamed at maximum frame rate. This can significantly reduce the network bandwidth and storage requirements, particularly at night when there is little activity.
IndigoVision has a flexible range of encoding hardware that allows analog cameras to be connected to the network. The 8000 MPEG-4 based transmitter/receiver units can be housed in individual units or in more cost-effective 10-way racks. The university used a combination of both, with racks being used when a group of cameras were installed near each other. This provided further cost savings for the university.