DENMARK – Milestone Systems is helping Utah universities in the US to be safe havens for education. New developments in video technology are doing more than improving security – they are also enhancing operations and minimising losses in commercial areas such as bookstores, cafeterias and vending machine halls.
Compared to traditional analog video systems, IP-networked solutions are much more versatile and cost effective. It is also advantageous to leverage previous investments in analog cameras by connecting them through inexpensive video encoders.
For these reasons, two Utah universities upgraded their existing surveillance systems starting in 2008. Utah State University (USU) and Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) both had standalone analog systems with just a few cameras in different campus buildings which limited viewing capabilities to single locations. Officials wanted more comprehensive campus-wide solutions that could be operated from single command centers for each school.
Partnering with systems integrator Stone Security, each school decided on an open platform, IP-based solution built with Milestone XProtect VMS and network cameras from Axis Communications. USU has 435 cameras deployed at all of its locations and SLCC has 235 cameras.
USU is the land grant school for Utah and has campuses in every county in the state. By the end of 2015, USU had nine locations managed with Milestone XProtect Corporate software with the Milestone Federated Architecture feeding video data back to the main campus in Logan.
SLCC more recently standardized with Axis cameras, while USU has purchased Axis cameras almost exclusively for the past several years. In addition, they use Axis encoders to integrate older analog cameras into the Milestone IP video platform. SLCC currently has 180 cameras deployed through Axis encoders for incorporating their older, analog cameras.
More efficient operations
With the adoption of the Milestone platform, each campus has been able to centralize their video monitoring and greatly improve coordination with on-campus police. This coordination has led to a reduction in incident response time and mitigated the theft of student valuables and items in the campus bookstores. The easy-to-install Axis cameras give each campus high-resolution images that provide comprehensive coverage through seamless integration with Milestone VMS.
USU has also leveraged Axis and Milestone beyond traditional campus security. The college has a farm where animal science professors and their students conduct research on cows and goats. David Tidwell, IT Manager at USU, said that in the past when a cow was far along in her pregnancy researchers slept at the farm to ensure they did not miss the birth. “We now have Axis cameras monitoring the pens,” said Tidwell. “The researchers can watch the cows from the comfort of their homes using Milestone software. If they see an animal start to go into labour, they can make sure someone gets there. Milestone and Axis have changed everything.”
Spreading the word
Five of the seven major universities in Utah are now using a security solution featuring Milestone software and Axis cameras. Since 2011, Stone Security has organized the annual Campus Security Conference which provides a forum for the universities to hear about new offerings from Milestone and Axis and to discuss challenges, solutions and best practices with each other.
Mike Hussey, Chief Information Officer of the state of Utah, was the keynote speaker in 2015. He was responsible for the installation of Milestone and Axis at the state capitol and said that the conference was a great way for him to continue the learning process.
“So many of my colleagues and I at the capitol were new to the software and the cameras,” said Hussey. “Attending this conference was a great way to learn more about the companies whose products the state has invested in and to hear from Utah’s higher learning institutions about how they are using these products to not only keep their campuses safe, but to create smarter, more efficient communities.”