Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), delivered the core of the security solution for the Presidential Debate of 2012 held at Hofstra University’s 600-acre campus on Long Island, NY. Implemented by systems integrator EIA, the complex installation included mobile access over wireless network connections for both ground and air surveillance with a mix of high-tech cameras.
The Secret Service, Nassau County Police Department and Hofstra University security personnel had less than one month to complete a rapid deployment throughout the campus and surrounding areas of Hofstra University for the second of three live presidential debates in the 2012 election. Only weeks before the event, hardware and network issues challenged the installation - a system design and correction was needed to ensure that President Barack Obama, Governor Mitt Romney and all attendees were protected.
The Nassau County Police Department undertook the month-long operation deploying cameras to cover all angles of the presidential debate stage, the roads leading to Hofstra, the campus itself and the crowds outside the event. With Milestone XProtect® Corporate VMS, multiple mobile viewing stations were connected to 46 camera feeds before, during and after the Presidential Debate. This gave authorized security and law enforcement personnel clear and detailed views.
With Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS, the incident commander was able to monitor campus roadways, buildings, faces in the crowd and the presidential candidates themselves, from strategically placed remote control centers and onsite. The Milestone solution connected the cameras through Wi-Fi over one network, so each command center and mobile officer was able to view any or all cameras as needed.
Going Mobile: Ground and Air Surveillance
“Working with the electronic surveillance squad and university security in the weeks leading up to the debate, we were able to deploy cameras on numerous buildings throughout the campus and feed them into the comprehensive surveillance network. The cameras were networked through Milestone XProtect Corporate video software which provided the surveillance team with visibility to vantage points of the debate and surrounding areas,” says Glenn Taylor, Senior VP Sales at EIA Inc.
As a certified Platinum Partner for Milestone Systems, EIA delivered core competency in networks and security integration for a seamless and easily accessible security feed during the presidential debate. EIA helped connect the entire system through a combination of wireless systems and the existing fiber networks throughout the university with broadband services from Verizon.
To build the elaborate security network, the 46 cameras of the event’s temporary security system were fed through the already installed parent IT network points. Through a Firetide wireless mesh system and failover network, all of the buildings and associated cameras were available to the police through secure firewall access.
The entire operation was headquartered in a security operations center, with multiple mobile command centers strategically placed outside the Nassau Coliseum and in a fallback zone off campus. The police utilized the Milestone Mobile client with Video Push from their smartphones. Plain-clothed officers monitored the crowds from within using the smartphone cameras to give the command centers a live eye view of the crowd. Officers in the command center were also able to see additional camera views using the Milestone XProtect® Smart Client, following activities from different camera sources at the same time.
The deployed system included 29 Sony SNC-ER550 Full HD Rapid Dome cameras with 1080p HD, 19 Sony SNC-CH280 Network HD 1080p bullet cameras with infrared illuminators, an Arecont Vision AV20185DN 20-megapixel Panoramic IP camera and a Direct Insight node camera. There was no limit on camera locations: they were installed on bridges, telephone poles, light poles, along the Hempstead Turnpike - everywhere. Even a helicopter flying over the event was equipped with a high definition camera to provide another view.
“There were so many things going on – the helicopter in the sky recording super HD broadcast-quality video then recording it in Milestone using XProtect® Screen Recorder, which presented the live video in six, seven or eight viewing stations together with the rest of the surveillance cameras. We were able to serve it to anyone who was involved,” explains Glenn Taylor. “When I look at what we went through from a technical point of view and to have the ability to get everything up and running so fast without a hitch, Milestone performed as promised, doing exactly what it was supposed to do. It was, as always, very impressive.”
During the event, a few minor incidents did not pose a direct physical threat to the President and governor, but resulted in actionable arrests. One protest group was streaming live feed to its website from campus. That group was linked to a watch list for the debate and the police monitored the live feed in the command center. Using Milestone XProtect, they could view multiple angles and find what they needed.
“We work with a large number of applications and Milestone has the only VMS that allows us to seamlessly integrate them into our deployments without error. Milestone is always the strongest choice when it comes to our projects. We never have to worry about making changes,” states Taylor.