Onondaga Central found proactive protection without a lot of overhead in the video analytics solution.

Nestled in a valley with rural surroundings, the Onondaga Central School District is located in upstate New York, just seven miles outside of Syracuse. Despite its tranquil environment, the school district’s administration wanted to help ensure that students and staff would be safe at all times while on school property. To that end, the district sought an intelligent video surveillance solution that would proactively protect the district’s three schools and help prevent crime and vandalism.
In light of increasing violence at schools across the country, Onondaga Central School District decided to put a preventative security strategy in place to help protect its school property, 1,000 students and 180 faculty and staff. The school’s administration knew there were many security products and systems available, each proclaiming to be the best in its own right, and wanted to be sure they selected the right approach.
Robert Sauro, director of technology for Onondaga Central School District, said, “One of our strategic planning goals was to have a safe and secure environment on school property. We had no security survelliance systems on school grounds and we wanted to remedy this without realizing a significant increase in costs.”
Fortuitously, in March 2009, at the same time Onondaga Central School District administration was determining what approach they would take, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was making approximately $16 million available in grants to help improve school security. Superintendent Joseph Rotella learned of the program and successfully secured a grant to cover 50 percent of the total cost of implementing a security system across the district’s three elementary schools.
Sauro recalled, ”When Superintendent Rotella obtained the grant, it quickly put our school district on the right track. The district decided to purchase security cameras for the schools. However, our next challenge was to find the best cameras for us – we wanted something that provided proactive protection but that did not require a lot of overhead. We wanted to be alerted to potential security threats before they happened, yet didn’t want a complex system with multiple parts that require specialists to implement and maintain. And we wanted something that worked with our existing network infrastructure but would not be a burden for our small IT staff.”
After evaluating a number of video surveillance solutions, the Onondaga Central School District ultimately chose the VideoIQ iCVR, the world’s first and only intelligent video surveillance camera with a built-in DVR. This system combines automated event detection, a built-in DVR and integrated video management into a single solution – all driven by next-generation analytics.
Sauro said, “We chose the iCVR because of its ease of implementation but also because of its intelligent analytic capabilities that identify and pinpoint security threats. When it detects a possible security issue, it automatically sends a video clip to designated administrators’ e-mail or cell phones so that we can evaluate and respond to the situation. The fact that we can proactively curtail any potential problems, before something serious happens, is invaluable to us.”
Other features of the system that were evaluated included the product’s built-in DVR. Unlike other video cameras that require the separate purchase of a DVR, this system comes complete with one already built-in. Additionally, the camera’s ability to store all video at the edge and intelligently control storage resolution based on what it sees requires minimal bandwidth upgrades – saving time, energy and money. Up to two months worth of video can be stored.
“We were also impressed by how easy the system is to use, including the free software that comes with the camera. Once the camera is installed, it automatically calibrates and gets smarter with each object it detects. Its ability to identify when someone is loitering or crosses onto school grounds is critical to ensuring the safety of our property and students. The Object Search capability is a great feature – we can search through recorded video and find a car or person in seconds all with the click of a mouse,” said Sauro.
There are currently 24 cameras installed across the three schools, and the district is already considering expansion. “We are always planning ahead to make improvements to our schools,” said Sauro. Most importantly, Onondaga Central School District now has the means to monitor for and record any incidents that occur on its property. The system’s capability to search through recorded video and find a person of interest within seconds can speed investigations exponentially. “Having a secure environment for our students and staff is always our top priority.”

Top Retailers Use Business Intelligence Tools

A new study “Loss Prevention and Beyond: Survival of the Fittest,” sponsored by ADT’s Sensormatic Retail Solutions, has uncovered some big differences between top retail performers – those whose sales growth outpace the three percent industry average – and retailers below that average. One is that top performers use business intelligence tools like returns and void management technologies 46 percent more than underperformers. Another is that nearly three times the number of top performing retailers use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology as compared to underperformers.
“Greater usage of business intelligence tools has improved the efficiency of our other loss prevention technologies and delivered a strong return on investment,” said David George, vice president of asset protection for Harris Teeter food markets. “Business intelligence solutions such as analytics tied to our security video systems have enabled our operators and loss prevention teams to quickly identify and address both operational and loss prevention issues in each of our stores and across the entire chain. The end result is two-fold: improved shrink reduction and better performing store operations.”
The online survey was conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR) during September and October, 2008, including respondents from retailers with stores around the world. Among its findings:
  • Employee theft of goods and cash are top retailer concerns, with respondents ranking internal theft as their number one source of shrinkage, shoplifting as second, and internal theft of cash as third.
  • While almost half of the top performers use EAS to control shrink, only 17 percent of underperformers use EAS – despite all respondents ranking shoplifting as their second largest source of shrink.
  • Seventy-one percent of all respondents said they frequently use exception analysis reporting, a key business intelligence tool, as a critical technology in their loss prevention arsenal.
  • Fifty-three percent of all respondents cite better business intelligence as needed to make effective use of the vast amounts of loss prevention data that exists, especially from video surveillance systems.     
According to the report, this discovery was consistent with many other findings that top performers don’t merely do the same things better compared to underperformers, but they also tend to do different things: “(They) think differently, plan differently and respond differently.” 
In another example, the study found that while 39 percent of top performers audit employees’ adjustments to the quantity of goods on hand, only nine percent of underperformers do the same. The report concluded: “Even as these retailers are convinced their employees are stealing from them, they allow those employees to make adjustments to quantities on hand without even verifying what happened to the merchandise.”
“In tough economic times, shrink continues to rise,” said Paula Rosenblum, RSR’s managing director and widely recognized as one of the top analysts in the retail industry. “With the slowing economy, many retailers have cut back on staff and now will be relying on technology to help control theft. Smart, winning retailers know the best way to maximize profitability and improve shrink is to leverage existing assets and improve store intelligence.”