US Church Puts Faith in Axis Video System

Axis Communications , a supplier for the network video market, announced that James River Assembly Church, the second largest Assemblies of God Church in the U.S., has deployed more than 350 network cameras and encoders inside and outside of the church and community facilities at its two campus locations in southwest Missouri.

NetWatch, an Axis solution gold partner, served as integrator and implemented the IP-based system.

James River Assembly is a dynamic church reaching young families and totaling more than 15,000 parishioners. On Sundays, more than 9,000 people, about one-quarter of them elementary school age and younger, are in attendance at church locations. At its two campuses, which also include stadium-sized auditoriums, a fitness center, multiple classrooms and outdoor playgrounds, some 2,000 volunteers assist staff with a variety of groups and classes.

Beginning in 2006, NetWatch worked with James River Assembly to transition its disparate analog cameras to IP with Axis video encoders so that the church could fully integrate its system and store data for longer periods of time as compared to VCRs and DVRs previously in use. The Axis video encoders permitted the church to leverage IP capabilities such as central monitoring and complete integration with other network cameras without compromising existing analog assets.

NetWatch next implemented a mix of fixed and PTZ Axis network cameras, including Axis 215 PTZ network cameras and HDTV-quality Axis fixed dome network cameras and Axis network cameras. The HDTV-quality network cameras use H.264 compression to increase video storage by up to 80 percent, totaling 180 days, and the megapixel capabilities have allowed James River Assembly to reduce the number of network cameras required to monitor certain areas due to higher resolution and field of vision. Additionally, NetWatch equipped James River Assembly with a wireless Axis 211W so the church could position the network camera at different locations on an as-needed basis.

NetWatch completed the installation with OnSSI video management software and Dell servers.

"Axis network cameras are of high quality, have an excellent warranty and have a reputation for reliability that has given us peace of mind," said Kert Parsley, COO of James River. "Even though we do extensive background checks on individuals working with children, the network video cameras provide an added level of comfort to parents dropping off children in our Sunday School classrooms."

In addition to classrooms, Axis network cameras monitor hallways, common areas and the fitness center as well as entrances and exits to church buildings and parking lots. Beyond helping the church identify and solve thefts of items such as computers and game consoles, the network cameras have reduced incidents through deterrence and vigilance. The church has also seen improvements in the ease and speed of identifying incidents. What may have taken hours or days using DVRs or VCRs to locate, it now takes only minutes.

"On one occasion, we were even able to locate stored footage and piece it together with live video to identify and locate an individual who had brought a dangerous item into a common area of the church," Parsley said.

Over time, James River plans on fully completing the conversion from analog to IP and may implement sophisticated video analytics such as people counting, so it knows the number of individuals, for example, coming into each service.

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