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School IP camera network with power over Ethernet.

UBIQZ : 11 January, 2008  (Application Story)
School surveillance system uses existing structured cabling for IP data transmission and power to monitor student and visitor activities.
The site is a significant case study in that it employs Power over Ethernet (PoE) from the Israeli manufacturer PowerDsine with both camera data and power being transmitted across CAT5 wiring from the principal server room. The cameras monitor a range of situations and behaviour among pupils, staff and visitors.

The school and installer opted for Sony models and the site is benefiting from ruggedised day/night mini domes with 480-line resolution. The cameras employ MPEG-4 compression and make efficient use of bandwidth, always a concern for IT managers. The suite is using three Dell servers (PE1850) attached to a Dell PV220 storage array.

Anand Subbiah of UBIQZ said: "Traditionally schools tend to be bandwidth-rich so they are well suited to IP monitoring and often have the right kind of structured cabling already in place."

He continued: "We followed our usual practices, allowing the CCTV Company who were the installer on the project to front the exercise in terms of liaising with the client. There are data protection issues regarding teaching activity and the classrooms are one of the few areas that do not contain cameras."

The CCTV Company specialises in design, implementation and maintenance of systems in niche market sectors. In addition to the school described here, the portfolio includes other educational establishments, some of the highest value domestic properties in London and ten of the capital's West End theatres.

Anand Subbiah continued: "Access control at this school site is also advanced and each pupil and staff member has the equivalent of a credit card which they use to gain entry to certain areas. The cards even have an 'Oyster' style function, being used to pay for cafeteria meals."

The camera data is used to analyse many aspects of behaviour as well as potentially dangerous situations for pupils. Cameras are located in communal areas, on staircases, at entrances, exits and on the perimeter of the building. Footage is also used to ensure library materials are treated appropriately. The school board is at pains to stress that the equipment has been installed in order to ensure the safety of pupils and staff as well as to check on possible bad behaviour.

There is no live monitoring of the cameras but data is stored and when an incident needs investigating the school's IT manager performs search and playback using Sony's RealShot ManagerTM PC monitoring software.

Almost alone among security consultants, UBIQZ specialises in pure IP-addressable solutions or systems where analogue and IP components are integrated. Other notable work has been use of Sony's DEPA (Distributed Enhanced Processing Architecture) IP Surveillance system at Kingston University and a hospital project that has involved intricate mapping.
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