Milestone Customer Story September 2008

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1 The IT Department for the University at Buffalo s Faculty Student Association sets up future-proof security platform with a Milestone IP video solution running as a service for multiple campus locations "The Milestone platform gives us central management and distributed control, with a flexible choice of cameras and system setups. The IP network technology is scalable to many locations with remote access and very easy central administration that is cost efficient for the most effective use of our IT resources and infrastructure." - Keith Curtachio, Director of IT for the Faculty Student Association at the University at Buffalo in New York. Challenges: The University at Buffalo has a very widely distributed multi-campus environment with varied security needs in different departments. Food services alone are responsible for over $20 million annually. There are 300 vending machines, retail convenience stores, cafes and restaurants, as well as supply rooms for warehousing the goods. Both theft and vandalism can incur huge costs. Security for the widespread locations has been costly to manage with DVRs, which have limited life spans that create gaps in surveillance coverage when the hardware fails on a regular basis. Solution: Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video management software has been purchased for well over 100 camera licenses, and more to come. The surveillance hardware is a best-of-breed mix of Axis 216 and Sony DFN-40 network cameras with Pelco analog cameras that are converted to digital through Axis 240Q video servers into the IP software. Advantages: UB has gained flexibility and scalability, centralized administration with decentralized access for use of the system, wide geographic distribution, Power Over Ethernet hardware, cost efficiencies of using the standard IT resources both the equipment and network infrastructure, as well as the IT Department s expertise and maintenance routines for keeping the system up and running, or expanding it as needed. 1

2 The largest campus for the State Universities of New York (SUNY) is the North Campus at Amherst in the outskirts of Buffalo, New York. The buildings crawl along what is called the spine that interconnects them. The distributed architectural design was a conscious de-centralized approach to discourage too many people congregating in any one place, in response to the riots of the late 1960 s and early 70 s, when ground was broken on this site. The UB IT Department under the Faculty Student Association manages the campus ID database and anything connected to that. They handle the food, retail and vending services over all of the university's campuses, as well. The FSA operates as an independent business entity, servicing many of the departments in the school, which also streamlines the purchasing processes: they are a campus and therefore able to provide services while avoiding long bid processes. Greater risk of theft in food and vending services The campus dining and food shops for all of the University at Buffalo serve 5,000 faculty and 25,000 students. In addition to serving about 40-60,000 meals a day, there are hundreds of vending machines, some in remote locations - all of which accept cash and campus cards. The UB campuses handle over $2.5 million a year in vending. "Because we operate as a business, we ve always had more money available than any other department. We're spread out across multiple campuses with 21 operations, and the amount of food stocked for these, for which we have to transport cash, gives us a greater risk for theft. For years, we were the only ones with alarms for security. We were also the first department to put in surveillance, which used to be analog: VCRs to DVRs. We also had to put temperature sensors into coolers that had to be kept secured - it's expensive to lose large amounts of food," explains the FSA Director of IT Keith Curtachio. Many drawbacks to VCRs and DVRs "When we first put the VCRs into the convenience stores back in the 1990's, it was such a timeconsuming job to look back through the tapes that we would take them home at night and get pizzas to eat while looking through them! Their value is so low for the work required and the poor quality of the results," Curtachio says. "We moved to DVRs after that, but their cost is extreme. They had to be placed in some remote areas which was expensive for us to both run the cables out to them, as well as to maintain them. DVRs don't have the flexibility to easily and cost efficiently scale up with more cameras as needed - you always have to jump by the number of cameras pre-determined by the vendors with each box. So as our DVRs die, we now switch those locations to the IP network approach with Milestone software managing Axis network cameras, or converting the Pelco analog cameras to digital with Axis video servers." 2

3 Keith Curtachio is a visionary man. He immediately understood the scalability advantages of going with an IP approach when he saw a 2004 presentation on a Milestone-Axis installation in the South Campus Medical department done by Mike Blumenson, an employee there at the time. Blumenson later started his own business, Digital Surveillance Solutions, as a Certified Milestone Partner, and has been helping the University at Buffalo slowly roll out IP video since then. IP video is much more cost effective than DVRs "I was asked to install a significant number of cameras at one time, so I did the math, which justified taking the jump to IP. More important for us was the back-up procedure routine. I d lose the DVRs on an annual basis: the drives fry. The average life of a standard DVR is no more than 15,000 hours, which would be fine if you used it like a normal computer where the hard drive isn t on all the time that sits and waits for you to ask it to perform. On DVRs, the hard drive is constantly in motion and racks up the hours very quickly: they will fail." Curtachio describes how they would have to take the failed DVRs out of service, ship them back to the manufacturer for repair, and lose up to 30 days of data because there is no redundancy (back-up of data). "It s happened a few times in these instances that we were asked for evidence and could not provide it. So we are now moving in the direction of switching over all our components to the Milestone platform whenever we reach end-of-life on old equipment, or in those areas where it's more critical for us to have monitoring. In addition, some departments need only 3-7 cameras, for example, so why buy DVRs that force you to spend for specific numbers of cameras?" he posits. Milestone-Axis evidence justified itself right away Vandalism makes up the majority of the problems with crimes like theft being at night. "At one particular set of machines where we had just installed the new system, we could see someone in action. These pros were known to the university police, who shared the evidence with the Buffalo city police. They were able to use the incriminating images of these perpetrators from the Milestone software in court by remotely giving the D.A. access and downloading the XProtect Remote Client for viewing the images, allowing the testimony to be given on the spot, establishing the full chain of evidence," states Curtachio. He attests that there have been many arrests and convictions over the past several years thanks to this system. "We've actually put together a portable kit now in a suitcase with a DHCP access server, with licensing set up in advance in the Milestone, with the analog cameras that lock into it run through an Axis video server. So we can install an emergency camera anywhere in just minutes. The second it s connected to any network port in this entire school, it starts recording instantaneously. I used this kit for a situation to help the police in a special case recently. They loved it!" smiles Curtachio. 3

4 Power over Ethernet most flexible and efficient The majority of cameras being used at the University at Buffalo are Axis 216 models that are PoE (Power over Ethernet). PoE is a technology that enables power to be provided to the network device, such as an IP phone or a network camera, using the same cable as that used for network connections. It eliminates the need for power outlets at the camera locations. "I really enjoy that Axis POE camera. It s easy to set up, it s reliable; I ve had very few problems with it. We like Axis also for providing a great tool in their camera management features and it looks like they are continuing to improve it. It s giving them the edge. It makes it so easy to trouble-shoot and install the hardware," testifies Curachio. "We are going POE (Power Over Ethernet) for everything. We re switching to VOIP (Voice Over IP) with 10,000 VOIP phones. A big project for two years now is replacing all the network switches with POE gigabit switches. We ramped up our lines here in IT with 2 gigabits, and every new line that gets installed is POE by default. That's perfect for the POE cameras. Then we only have to order a network jack and it s automatically correct. We got away from the static IPs, which is great: I just set up the name of the camera in the software and plug in the device. With Milestone, it s absolutely easy to administer." All of the vending machines at UB are also using Ethernet technology for the card readers. So everywhere there is a bank of vending machines, there is a mini-switch inside, which is also used for a cluster of cameras in those areas. "If we need to install fast or inexpensively, we just run a patch cable. No power is needed with the POE cameras: we just plug into the back of the vending machines using a midspan power injector and run the cameras wherever we need them," he says. "We devised a power take-off cable that works with the native power supply in the vending machines. Some of our vending machines have a 16-port POE switch that powers a whole region for surveillance." Alerts set up in the software help catch the culprits Curtachio describes how they also have installed inexpensive, disposable analog infra-red cameras inside the vending machines. The video from these are digitalized through the Axis video servers to be viewed and archived in the XProtect software. "The cameras are locked inside the machines so if someone opens the door breaking in, the Milestone software is triggered by the motion to start recording and sends an alert to us so we can call the campus police and catch the culprits," he says. 4

5 They know which machines are the main targets due to their locations being more isolated at night and multiple points of egress available for fast getaways. It only takes about 10 seconds for professionals to open them with a crowbar. Milestone as a service: central management, distributed control "As far as I know we ve never lost any data. The Milestone software is resilient. We are recording 24 hours a day on motion at mostly 3 frames per second," states Curtachio. The IT Department now has the model in place with Milestone to roll out the surveillance from the central location. "We ve got a list of approved pricing from the Board of Directors and only have to order more cameras as needed, contract the Ethernet installs, using all the proper university channels to take care of every need across the campuses. We record on our servers here, and the departments, as our customers, only have to pay their share of storage on the system," concludes Curtachio. See more at

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