IQinVision, a provider of high-performance HD megapixel network cameras, smart network cameras, and network video recording systems, announced that two Redlands Unified School District high schools have deployed more than 100 IQeye HD megapixel cameras in a successful effort to improve school safety and deter possible incidents. Conduit Networks of Temecula, CA is the project integrator.
The Redlands Unified School District serves the communities of Redlands, Loma Linda, Mentone, San Bernardino, Yucaipa, and East Highland. Planning for the future, Redlands Unified began upgrading the District's network backbone in 2004. As the upgrade progressed, the School Superintendent indicated that he wanted to upgrade and expand the use of video surveillance and Redlands High School, the oldest high school in California to occupy the same location, was the first location targeted.
"By mid-2007, we had the network infrastructure in place to fully implement an IP video surveillance system," said David Massaro, Coordinator, Technology Services for Redlands Unified. Before the upgrade, Redlands East Valley High School had an antiquated analog surveillance system with VHS tapes that had been upgraded to an NVR, however as Massaro stated, "The cameras were unreliable, we could see activity but we couldn't see what was really going on."
Massaro and team requested bids for an IP video system, and they researched a wide range of technologies, "We looked at a lot of different products, but the ones that caught my eye were the OnSSI software and the multimegapixel camera technology. We looked at several major network camera manufacturers and we liked the 1.3 megapixel models from IQinVision, there was really nothing else out there"
Initially, the district installed 18 megapixel cameras at Redlands High School, managed by the open platform OnSSI video management system. Massaro and staff were impressed with the IQeyes' wide area of coverage and the digital zoom capabilities. "The original 18-camera system was absolutely a success, and we've had virtually no problems with the cameras at all," Massaro observed.
After this first IP system deployment, now the stage was set to implement the District's plans to roll out IP surveillance on their very robust network, with the eventual goal to centralize all video and data back at the District building, while staff monitored their own camera views at each location. Next in line was the new Citrus Valley High School.
"After the experience at Redlands, we exactly know what we wanted at Citrus Valley," continued Massaro. The District has installed 53 cameras for exterior surveillance and 36 dome cameras to monitor the administrative offices, library, hallways, the security offices, and other key interior locations. The installation has been up and running since August 2009.
At Citrus Valley High School, Sergeant Dan Kivett and his staff are in charge of safety and security for the 2500 students, as well as faculty and staff. "With the on-going state budget cuts, this system gives us another six pairs of eyes," Kivett explained. At any one time, Kivett has three full-time officers on campus and one staff member monitoring video from the security office six hours a day, during the school day. The video acts as a force multiplier by enabling monitoring staff to quickly identify a potential incident, zoom in to get accurate information, and then direct officers to where they are needed. As Kivett puts it, "During each lunch period, we've got 1200 students spread out over a 60-acre campus—the video helps make much more of the campus visible and it allows us to handle any disputes quickly."
In just a few months of operation, the HD megapixel quality images have aided security staff in solving infractions ranging from the theft of a few bags of chips in the cafeteria line to scuffles and the occasional fight. The system also helps to solve disputes in a positive way, for example a student was accused of not paying for his lunch, but the video clearly showed payment had been made.
"We can recognize faces on the video, the students are quickly getting to know this, and it is becoming a powerful deterrent to mischief. Word of mouth is probably our best tool, it travels fast," continued Kivett.
The District is monitoring and recording video at the high schools at speeds ranging from five to 15 frames per second. Video is stored for 16 days, long enough for any incident to be reported and checked out, if it wasn't observed real-time. Redlands Unified has a total of 23 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as the Redlands Independent Study Education school. Future plans call for gradually rolling out a standardized video surveillance system to all District schools.