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Wireless video surveillance network for Rochester

Firetide : 15 May, 2009  (Application Story)
Mesh network from Firetide deployed in New York city of Rochester for connecting video surveillance network to reduce crime
The city of Rochester, New York State's second largest economy trailing only the New York City metropolitan area, rolled out a video surveillance network to combat violent and drug-related crime in one of the nation's most idyllic cities. Deployed by national security solutions provider Avrio RMS Group and using Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh technology, the network spans 36 square miles to reach into vulnerable areas. In just the first six months of deployment, police have made more than 30 arrests.

Nestled on the banks of Lake Ontario, Rochester has been home to companies like Xerox, Western Union, Bausch & Lomb and Eastman Kodak. Rochester also prides itself as an educational center. Students and faculty of more than 19 universities and colleges thrive in this city listed as No 80 on's "best places to live and launch."

"Generally speaking Rochester is a very safe community; however, violent and drug-related crime have created challenges for us," said Rochester Police Chief David Moore. "As with all bustling economic and cultural centers, Rochester is not immune to criminal activity."

To confront this, the department launched a joint effort with the mayor's office to deploy a 50-camera wireless surveillance operation. The Portable Overt Digital Surveillance System from Avrio RMS Group, or PODSS, is built on a unique architecture designed for highly flexible camera locations and anticipated coverage expansion. PODSS systems have successfully been deployed in cities like Chicago and Baltimore; the Rochester deployment, however, represents the first integration by Avrio RMS Group of Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh technology in a PODSS deployment.

Thirteen Video Network Aggregation Points (VNAPs) scattered throughout the city can collect wireless feeds from up to dozens of cameras each, and in turn, communicate the signals wirelessly to five fiber points-of-presence for backhaul to police headquarters. "We took full advantage of the flexibility of Firetide infrastructure mesh technology," said Rick Rubenstein, of Avrio RMS Group. "Each VNAP has a point-to-multi-point topology, with mesh "at the edge" to enable expansion further into neighborhoods. Using Firetide for all elements of the wireless network, we were able to give the City the optimum combination of cost, coverage and throughput."

A wireless foundation was common to virtually all integrator proposals despite an open-ended RFP from the city. James Roney, Rochester's IT manager, points out that "wireless afforded the flexibility and speed-of-deployment we wouldn't have gotten if we'd hard-wired. Within a three-month period the entire infrastructure was deployed, tested and the first camera signals were coming through and fully operational."

The city required transmission rates of 30 frames per second to ensure the video, stored for 14 days, is evidence-grade quality. Moore said the live video feeds are monitored within the police department by injured or retired sworn officers and potential police recruits. When monitoring in residential neighborhoods, the system employs privacy masking to ensure that residents' privacy is maintained. In addition to Firetide wireless transport, the system includes Pelco video cameras and Genetec video management software.

"We were able to maintain the city's quaint presence. In fact, one of our biggest challenges was also one of Rochester's most attractive features: we have an unusually high number of trees for an urban area," Roney said. As a best practice, the city's IT department insisted the system be installed during a season when trees had full foliage to ensure year-round, line-of-sight for the wireless and cameras.

"We're happy to play an instrumental role in the preservation of quality of life in such a prosperous city. A key advantage in using wireless surveillance technology lies in its ability to ensure safety without compromising aesthetics and creating disruptions," said Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide.
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