Milestone XProtect open platform video management software (VMS) is the basis for an integrated security system in the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS). Since each school previously had a stand-alone system, the security was upgraded to connect all 26 buildings in the district on one IP network.
Paul Mahon, Director of Construction and Maintenance for TCAPS, partnered with CommTech Design for the integrated solution that has Milestone video surveillance technology as the central core. “Since the Milestone XProtect integration into our school district, we’ve had instances on campus where having a reliable security system has easily reinforced our decision to upgrade,” confirms Mahon.
The Traverse City Area Public School District (TCAPS) covers 300 square miles over three counties in Central Michigan, with thousands of students, teachers and staff. The increased need to protect them and the valuable public property of its 26 buildings prompted a custom security system to enable monitoring all school activity from a central hub that integrates all security systems in the district into one easy-to-use yet effective platform. Milestone XProtect Corporate software allows authorized staff to monitor for safety, security and disciplinary actions at any time.
“We’ve worked with multiple solutions over the years, each deploying its own stand-alone presence, with pros and cons,” stated Mahon. “Installing a district-wide solution that’s easy to use, scalable and supports our multiple levels of security ensures the safety of our students and staff, which was the number one priority for this project.”
It is a full-scale, federated security solution that includes video streaming, alarm management, access control via card access systems, emergency panic lockdown abilities, video synchronization for all the above, and the ability to control each system centrally from one main control unit.
“TCAPS was quite a large-scale design: we had to understand the intricacies of 26 structures that were all unique in their own needs. A vast amount of engineering had to be examined, dealing with the different wiring, ceiling setups and potential monitoring station locations,” says COMMTECH consultant Bret Emerson. “We wanted a comprehensive solution that allows video surveillance to be integrated seamlessly into all aspects of the district.”
After Emerson’s report on the system’s architecture and design, TCAPS contracted with Windemuller Electric to provide the customized solution, including access control, lockdown and alarm systems. NETech, subcontracted through Windemuller, installed the Milestone solution, ensuring the VMS core of the implementation was perfectly tuned for the district. The XProtect software was implemented quickly and efficiently in the school settings, minimizing interruption or confusion with the administrators who monitor the hundreds of cameras.
A total of 685 cameras were set up in TCAPS, 397 in Phase II by NETech. Panasonic’s IP WV-Sw355, WV-SW395 and WV-SF366 cameras were installed throughout the entire district, in addition to two Arecont AV8185 IP cameras. XProtect’s open platform abilities allow end users to have a freedom of choice in hardware devices. More than 1,500 models of network cameras and encoders from over 100 different manufacturers are supported by Milestone.
Throughout the school district, 19 monitoring stations were established, each with an HP video workstation synchronized with Milestone XProtect Corporate. Four HP ProLiant video servers and an HP StorageWorks MDS600 with 70TB of space round off the system’s storage capabilities. This powerful capacity is important for so much video data: Milestone XProtect Corporate supports an unlimited number of cameras, users and sites, making it the perfect match for TCAPS, who have plans for additional cameras.
“Keeping in mind our plans to expand the system, the server and software are a very important aspect. As of now, our server has the capacity to tack on additional cameras. Using XProtect helps us maintain the work and educational environment when we decide to upgrade. It’s simple, fast and effective,” states Mahon.
“I’ve been working with Milestone and its software solutions for five years,” stated Emerson. “We came into this knowing the system would eventually be expanded, and XProtect Corporate will completely support this. We can rest assured the growing security plan will be easily achievable, adding any camera seamlessly that fits the budgetary or physical needs of TCAPS.”
Milestone solutions are future-proof, with a licensing model that offers upgrades with the freedom to add or integrate new technologies as they are developed.
Select administration and staff, known as Champions around the school district, are being trained in waves by Luke LeaTrea of NETech to operate the security system.
“The software is amazing,” states LeaTrea. “The administrators in the technical champion sessions quickly learn and understand the Milestone software. There are rarely any post-training questions. It is by far one of the most user-friendly interfaces available.”
Since the security upgrade, there have been instances where school property was reported missing, and those trained to use the system monitored, reviewed and recorded the event. The digital evidence was quickly and easily exported from the Milestone system and provided to the local police department with a built-in viewer.
“At times, we have dealt with vandalism, instances of theft or other security issues regarding publicly owned property outside the school environment. We can easily show the footage to the accused and police to quickly turn around the situation. We are extremely confident in our system and trust that we are keeping the school and all of those in attendance safe. XProtect is really well put together, powerful software. It meets our complicated needs and we have been very happy with the outcome.” concludes Mahon.