Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software, is integrated with MobiDEOS mobile client access at the Akron Zoo in Ohio, who has opted for video surveillance as a cost-effective and practical means to monitor animal health and behaviour.
The Akron Zoo is a private, non-profit organization focusing on wildlife preservation and conservation education. It is one of the highest attended attractions in Summit County. Today the zoo has about 105 employees and the entire park covers an expansive area of over 50 acres (about 200 km2), with more than 700 animals to manage like penguins, lions, Komodo dragons, tigers, bear and red pandas.
Akron Zoo chose Milestone XProtect Professional video management software (VMS). They initially installed version 6.5, and ensured a good return on their investment by upgrading later on: they report that when version 7.0 was installed, the improvement was "really unbelievable" with the implementation and operation "very easy and self-explanatory".
Other components for the zoo’s surveillance installation include a Windows server with a large storage device and a mix of Axis and Mobotix network video cameras (specifically, Axis 213 PTZ, Axis 214 PTZ, Axis P3344-VE, and Mobotix Q24M-SEC).
MobileCamViewer from Milestone Solution Partner mobiDEOS provides wireless remote access for the zoo’s veterinarians to monitor animals from home or elsewhere, without having to be stationed in front of their computers. MobileCamViewer is used on BlackBerry devices, through a special integration made possible with the Milestone Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK is based on an open-platform programming interface, which allows third-party integrators like mobiDEOS to add their own functionality with ease.
The surveillance solution is primarily used to observe, rather than to alert, and its advantages are numerous. From a veterinary perspective, it is useful because it minimizes physical human intervention and allows staff to remotely observe animals’ natural behaviour. It minimizes unnecessary stress, and ill or birthing animals can easily be observed.
Each animal holding area has a display monitor outside the door that shows a live video feed from various views inside the area, so keepers can check proper containment and location of potentially dangerous animals before entering. This increases general human safety and ensures that animals are not inadvertently startled. When animals become ill, the video can be viewed to determine the cause – and with the MobileCamViewer mobile solution, veterinarians can observe sick animals before arriving at the site.
The Milestone Smart Client user interface is used mostly by supervisors and veterinarians, and no training was needed in order to use it: the zoo personnel have found the system very user-friendly.