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“We were immediately impressed with the video quality and clarity Arecont Vision’s cameras provide. When we saw a demonstration of their low-light performance, network-friendly bitrates, and other features, we knew they would be the best choice for our new surveillance system.”
- Alex Puente, Director of Technology for Flour Bluff Independent School District
Established in 1892, the Flour Bluff Independent School District (ISD) is located on a 156 square mile area located in Corpus Christi, Texas. Flour Bluff ISD serves students in the communities of Flour Bluff, North Padre Island, and the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.
The District’s six school campuses, three athletic gyms, natatorium, two football fields, baseball and softball complex, tennis courts, auditorium, wetlands pavilion, and district office buildings are situated on a single 170-acre site. Flour Bluff serves over 5,600 students who range from pre-kindergarten through high school. The district is highly competitive in both academic and athletic programs and has been named as one of the top 100 school districts in the State of Texas.
Recent events have made video surveillance and security systems a must for school districts across the country. To meet Flour Bluff ISD’s basic security requirements, the aging analog surveillance system that was been in place for more than 12 years needed to be expanded. The district’s cameras could only be managed using proprietary software supplied by the original vendor, making the process of adding cameras both complicated and expensive. The school’s PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras were often pointed in the wrong direction and missed important incidents. As a result, the district reached a point where the system’s low-quality video and poor performance made it impossible to justify spending more money on expansion. Flour Bluff ISD decided it was time to implement a new digital video surveillance system.
Arecont Vision® AV40185DN installed on auditorium with illuminator
Once the decision was made to upgrade, Flour Bluff ISD began researching potential solutions that would meet the district’s security needs. Having struggled with making changes to its existing video system, the district prioritized deployment of a non-proprietary system that could easily be expanded. Image quality and coverage were other key considerations.
After walkthroughs with a number of vendors the Flour Bluff ISD security department chose Arecont Vision® megapixel cameras and exacqVision VMS software for the upgrade. Graybar Electric managed the project design and installation.
The new video surveillance system consists of approximately 130 cameras. Among the Arecont Vision® models deployed is the SurroundVideo® AV40185DN 40 megapixel (MP) 180o panoramic camera for covering and monitoring large, open exterior areas. For the District, this includes the state-of-the-art football stadium and athletic facility located on the property.
SurroundVideo® AV8185DN 8 MP panoramic cameras were selected for the front entrances, parking lots, and the entire cafeteria. MegaVideo® AV5115DN compact MP cameras were selected to provide highly detailed views of the high school from across the street. MegaDome® cameras were selected to cover entryways and exits and throughout the school for indoor coverage.
Arecont Vision® SurroundVideo® AV40185DN installed on stadium with illuminators
By using exacqVision hybrid servers, the District retained 16 recently deployed legacy analog PTZ cameras. All cameras are integrated with exacqVision enterprise video management system (VMS) software for live and recorded video administration and playback. The external cameras also incorporate DITEK PoE protection to guard against transient voltage.
Flour Bluff ISD purchased the new system in August 2014 and implementation was completed in October 2014. With the quality and performance of Arecont Vision’s cameras, particularly the SurroundVideo® 180- and 360-degree cameras, the district required fewer cameras overall and received better coverage than with its previous system.
The new system demonstrated the value of this improved coverage when an incident occurred in the high school cafeteria within its first week of use. Video surveillance in the facility with its high ceilings and heavy traffic at lunch time had been a challenge given the old analog cameras’ limited field of view. With the new system, a single Arecont Vision® camera is now capable of capturing video of the entire room, eliminating blind spots.
“This time, we actually captured video of an incident that would have been out of range for our old cameras. The video was very clear and we were able to zoom in on that specific area to see exactly what happened between the two students involved,” said Joseph Layton, Communications Specialist for Flour Bluff ISD. “That incident alone showed that upgrading our surveillance system was the right decision.”
Monitoring station with 4 - 42” HDMI monitors running exacqVision software and video from the Arecont Vision® cameras
Seamless integration with the exacqVision hybrid servers and exacqVision VMS software has further demonstrated the value of the Arecont Vision® cameras. exacqVision allows the security staff to create preset views for faster access to high-quality video relevant to an incident. The district’s security officers are also equipped with the free Exacq mobile app on their iPads enabling them to view and monitor security and access multiple camera views while walking through the school. While this was possible with the previous system, it was very difficult to do.
“Our security officers can easily see all the hallways at once, which increases their situational awareness and allows them to respond to incidents more quickly and appropriately,” said Alex Puente.
The district’s analog infrastructure needed to be removed and rebuilt to accommodate the new digital video system. In some locations a single Arecont Vision® camera now provides greater coverage than multiple analog cameras did previously. The cost savings this created for Flour Bluff ISD enabled the district to add cameras in previously unmonitored areas, such as its state-of-the-art athletic facility, further enhancing the value of the Arecont Vision® cameras.
“From an infrastructure perspective, a typical solution would have taken multiple cameras, which meant the district would have had to pay more to build out the infrastructure to accommodate those cameras,” said Scott Ponton, Senior Outside Sales of Graybar Electric. “By strategically placing these multi-sensor cameras in certain areas that would require several conventional cameras, they’re getting a lot more coverage and a stronger ROI. Ultimately they’re doing more with less, which saves the district quite a bit of money.”
In addition to the money Flour Bluff ISD was able to save on equipment purchase and installation, having fewer cameras in place also reduces maintenance costs. While the strong ROI the district realizes from using fewer cameras is certainly a plus, it wasn’t the primary factor in the decision to deploy Arecont Vision® cameras.
“The main issue is student and staff safety, and you can’t really put a price tag on that. Still, it is very nice to know that we are saving money while actually increasing the performance of our surveillance system and making our school safer,” Alex said.