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GCN : January 2013
SURVEILLANCE TECH CASE STUDY 30 GCN JANUARY 2013 • GCN.COM provisions for interoperability, which limits their use. VidSys is agnostic to the type of data, communications protocols and hard- ware being used. PSIM is a younger sibling of Security Information Management tools developed to bring some meaning to the growing vol- ume of data being generated by IT security systems. But because the concept of infor- mation management through IT isn't new, PSIM is being adopted more quickly than SIM was in its earlier stages, Chong said. VidSys' PSIM platform is Web-based, re- siding on an application server in the user's network. Feeds into the server are translat- ed to a common standard and filtering and correlation engines can analyze the data based on policies set by the customer. Setting up policies for analysis can take several weeks. "That's a collaborative pro- cess. It rarely starts from scratch," Chong said. VidSys has templates and policy li- braries to help with that development. But policy development is not yet an is- sue in Boca Raton, where VidSys is being used simply to provide a common view for video feeds but not for analysis. That common view is becoming increasingly important as the city launched a citywide surveillance system in 2011 with up to 200 cameras to monitor streets, parks and public buildings in the initial phase. Later expansion could include adding private businesses' security cameras to the system. The city is providing $538,000 for in- stallation, and has a $700,000 Justice De- partment grant for construction of a new communications center and build-out of a wireless system to carry video signals. The new communications center, which is expected to be operational in about two years, is being designed to use the compre- hensive video feed. A planned video wall will give real-time views of the city, and will be used by dispatchers as well as crime analysts who are being trained to use the new system. "It's an evolving process," Burke said of the PSIM platform. "We are happy with our purchase," he said, "even without all of the bells and whistles." • Before making a decision on a surveil- lance system, the Boca Raton Police Department studied systems already in use in other cities, such as Houston and Chicago. Chicago, for instance, which has one of the largest municipal video surveil- lance systems in the nation, failed to budget for proper maintenance of the cameras, which cut costs up front but caused problems down the road. Boca hired its own video technician and opted to handle installation of the VidSys system in-house rather than hire a vendor for the job. The depart- ment is able to manage the system and has a technician available to help with the maintenance of the video system being installed by the city. O cials expect to install the system over the next two years. The depart- ment plans to add intrusion alarms, data from gate access systems and eventually use the feeds for real-time situational awareness and analysis. Elsewhere, New York City, which has a high-speed, mobile data network that links first responders to incident managers using real-time data and video feeds, is looking to add to its surveillance war chest. Recently, the police department launched the Domain Awareness Sys- tem, which, "aggregates and analyzes existing public safety data streams in real time, providing NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity," according to its website. The new system was introduced in August 2012 and jointly developed with Microsoft Corp. DAS gleans data from security cameras, license plate readers, environmental sensors and law enforcement databases, analyzes it in real time to provide alerts and call up relevant information to guide police action. The city has approximately 3,000 Closed-Circuit TV cameras connected to the Domain Awareness System. Meanwhile, the city of Atlanta, Ga., issued a Request for Proposals in August for a citywide Operation Shield Video Surveillance Program. According to the RFP, its goal is to "create a three-pronged security communications program" that links communications among the Atlanta Police Department, the business com- munity and surrounding law enforce- ment jurisdictions. The Atlanta system will use the new Operation Shield Integration Center (OSIC), which will integrate all aspects of public safety, including computer- aided dispatch, records management systems, gunshot technologies and more. It will coordinate with and link together via a wireless mesh system all local private businesses security cameras. CITIES TURN TO SURVEILLANCE VIDEO AND DATA INTEGRATION By integrating video from disparate surveillance systems, law enforcement agencies and first responders can act faster and better coordinate their actions. GETTY IMAGES