Ask the Expert: Safety Technology

What's the latest in surveillance systems?

In campus environments, there are unique challenges not present in a typical commercial surveillance system deployment. A deployment that spans multiple buildings can seem complicated for operators whose main job focus may not be full-time video monitoring.

There are technologies that are available to help mitigate these issues. Some are new, and others have been in existence for years. It’s important to review and be aware of these technologies, especially if you’re thinking about upgrading your existing system.

One newer trend is the proliferation of panoramic cameras. Once thought of as a specialty camera with limited capabilities, panoramic cameras have become more useful as higher megapixel technology has become available. Some cameras have multiple lenses and provide a very wide stitched image. Others use a single lens and provide a 360-degree field of view. Whichever technology is used, such cameras enable the system to eliminate problematic gaps in coverage.

Another development is the ability to embed maps of your campus and buildings into a Video Management System (VMS). Maps in these systems can have multiple layers, enabling an operator to go from a campus-wide map to a building map, even to a floor and office map. This functionality enables users to understand not just what they are seeing but where they are seeing it. During a serious incident, this sort of knowledge can save lives and direct first responders exactly where they are needed.

What’s important is understanding what features are most helpful to you so that you can start considering the VMS systems that provide the flexibility you require. Whether your campus is large or small, working with your integration partner and helping them understand your individual needs will be key in getting the features and functionality that’s right for you.

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Robert LaBella is a technical sales engineer for Pelco.

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