CONVERGANCE STRATEGIES (SPECIAL REPORT): IP Cameras Will Change Your Life

April 3, 2006
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The convergence of physical security systems and computer and communications opens a school district to viewing live images from scores of facilities. Shown is a parking area for a Spotsylvania Schools’ gym.


Flexible control is an important goal of many enterprises looking for success strategies in an arena where security and information technology come together.

A rural but rapidly growing school district in Virginia is no exception.

Although Spotsylvania County Schools never had a substantial problem with crime and violence, the district wanted to ensure that its 30 campuses continued to be problem free. So officials felt a district-wide surveillance system that could be accessed by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff and emergency agencies was the most effective way to remain safe and secure.

The district selected LenSec, an Axis Communications (Chelmsford, Mass.) application development partner, to design a complete network video system. LenSec installed its Enterprise-Wide Video Management software and more than 500 Axis network cameras in all 30 schools.

Web interface

The IP-based surveillance system allows school officials to manage the entire camera system from a single Web interface and to easily share live or recorded video with local law enforcement and emergency officials. Authorized Spotsylvania employees such as school administration staff, school principals and Sheriff deputies can monitor schools across the district from any computer with an Internet connection. The system has reduced the amount of thefts, fights and vandalism.

Located in Fredericksburg, Va., between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, the district chose a network video system because it provides better image quality than an analog system and allows for more flexible installation by eliminating the need for coaxial cabling. In addition, network video systems do not require a dedicated monitoring system, can deliver full-motion video (30 frames per second) via a computer network and make use of standard IT equipment such as switches and servers.

“Spotsylvania is building one or two new schools a year,” said Dr. Donald Alvey, director of secondary education for Spotsylvania County Schools. “The network video system gives us the flexibility to upgrade and expand as we grow.”

The network video system works in tandem with its school resource officer program, which places a deputy on every high school campus, and on middle and elementary school campuses as needed. Using wireless mobile data terminals installed in patrol cars, deputies can view any camera in any school from any parking spot in the county.

Violent School Crime Down

That’s one conclusion of an annual report examining crimes occurring in school as well as on the way to and from school. A joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics, it provides the most current detailed statistical information from a variety of sources – the National Crime Victimization Survey, the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the School Survey on Crime and Safety and the School and Staffing Survey.

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