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GCN : January 2013
GCN JANUARY 2013 • GCN.COM 29 When the Boca Raton Police Department was shopping for a system to integrate video feeds from disparate surveillance sys- tems, being user friendly was a key consideration. "We're simple men with simple means," said James Burke, the department's director of support services. "We needed something that works, without needing a technology degree to run it." The city chose the VidShield system from VidSys, a Web-based system that translates various video and transport protocols to a single standard and gives access from a single point. The department relied on the system when Boca Raton hosted the third presidential debate in October. The system, by funnel- ing feeds from three surveillance systems into a single location, eased the task of coordinating se- curity for the Oct. 22 event. The system remains a work in progress, said Burke, the result of a four-year initiative to tie togeth- er disparate video systems from different departments. The VidSys Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) platform was chosen for its ability to immediately integrate a variety of systems into a single point, as well as for its analytical features and ability to handle other forms of physical security data. Howev- er, full use of the system probably is another two years off, when the new communications system now being designed goes into opera- tion. "Right now it is reactive," Burke said of the department's use of the system. "And at this point it's strictly video." But plans call for adding other information, such as intrusion alarms and data from gate access systems, and to begin using feeds for situational aware- ness and real-time analysis rather than solely as investigative tools after an incident has occurred. "It can include any of the sub- systems used by a city or agency," said VidSys CTO James Chong. The systems already in place usu- ally are silo installations, often us- ing proprietary protocols with no By managing its surveillance system in-house, the Boca Raton Police Department has put a premium on user-friendly tech SHOPPING FOR SURVEILLANCE TECH? KEEP IT SIMPLE. CASE STUDY DRIVERS: Growing security demands of large sporting events and other gatherings. This factor is being overtaken by need for continuing visibility, experts say. TACTICS: Build a physical security information management compo- nent into the municipal communications center by joining video feeds from three surveillance systems into a single location. Plan to add intrusion alarms and data from gate access points. TOOLS: VidSys Inc.'s Physical Security Information Management, PSIM, a software platform that is interoperable with all forms of data, communications protocols and hardware being used.