Public safety and the protection of property initiatives led the city of Mankato, Minnesota to deploy a city-wide IP-based video surveillance system. Founded in 1852, the city is the seat of Blue Earth County. It encompasses 18.26 square miles of land and water, and supports a population of about 41,000 (2015 US census estimate). Home to a variety of natural landmarks and higher educational institutes, Mankato provides a dynamic lifestyle for its citizens all year round.

Surveillance For Key Community Areas

The new city surveillance system uses a range of Arecont Vision megapixel cameras to cover key areas of the community, with the largest concentration of cameras deployed in the popular downtown entertainment district. Surveillance is also in place throughout Mankato’s city hall, civic event center, shopping areas, parking ramps, public safety center, municipal water plant, public work center, regional airport, and for multiple public parks and community streets.

The limitations of the previous surveillance system inspired extensive enhancements and capabilities for the new project. The original system NVR supported primarily analog technology cameras, with a small percentage of early generation IP cameras supporting only JPEG video.

The image quality of megapixel cameras could not be matched by this system, nor could it be cost effectively grown to address city requirements. In order to enjoy enhanced security, increased public safety, and the protection of property, a more modern and capable surveillance system was required. The city thus engaged security and communications integrator WW Communications to design and deploy such a project.The limitations of the previous surveillance system inspired extensive enhancements and capabilities for the new project

WW Communications

WW Communications’ COO Mike Bales led the effort and selected Arecont Vision’s IP megapixel cameras as the core of the new project. With regards as to why Arecont Vision was selected for the project, Bales explained: “A variety of factors led to the use of Arecont Vision, not least of which was the commitment and quality they provide as an American-based manufacturer. They are one of the few vendors who design and build their cameras in the U.S., and their cameras’ features and reliability reflect that.”

Delving further into what features specifically appealed to them, Bales concluded, “Simplified installation features such as remote focus, along with advanced features such as true WDR (wide dynamic range) were key factors in the decision. Additionally, the SurroundVideo camera series’ cost effectiveness and coverage capabilities placed Arecont Vision ahead of its competitors for the job.”

SurroundVideo cameras were first designed and pioneered in the surveillance industry by Arecont Vision in 2006. Now in their fifth generation, they provide non-stop coverage with four individual megapixel sensors for superior situational awareness and image quality while reducing the total number of cameras required for surveillance projects.

After deciding on a manufacturer, Milestone Systems was then brought on as the video management software for Mankato’s new surveillance system. Arecont Vision and Milestone are proven integration partners, having completed thousands of seamlessly-integrated city surveillance projects around the world.

Arecont Vision And Milestone Systems

Additionally, Milestone is a top-tier participant in the Arecont Vision Technology Partner Program and its VMS software is among those used in Arecont Vision’s MegaLab. “The close technology and support integration between Arecont Vision and Milestone helped ensure that a best-in-class surveillance system was delivered to the Mankato,” commented Bales. “The result is a single system for the city that is second to none in capabilities and can grow with the community’s needs.”

Arecont Vision remote monitoring Mankato study
The surveillance system has exceeded the expectations of the city to protect both people and property

City Surveillance Project Phases

Phase one of the project included deploying thirteen cameras to the newly-built public safety center. Phase two resulted in the deployment of thirty-seven cameras to the city’s entertainment district. The effectiveness of these cameras led to additional installations at city sites which greatly assisted in reducing common vandalisms and other public safety crimes.

Phase three of the project involved the installation of twenty-three MegaDome 2 single sensor cameras onto the fourth floor of a brand-new, four-story parking facility in the downtown area. Surveillance of the structure was further enhanced through use of a SurroundVideo Omni — a unique omni-directional camera introduced to the industry by Arecont Vision in 2014.

Unmatched Surveillance Capabilities

The Omni camera series offers four megapixel sensors that are mounted on three-axis gimbals inside a low-profile dome enclosure. The sensors can be individualized to cover virtually any direction, providing unmatched surveillance capabilities with a single high-resolution camera that is fully integrated with the VMS.

With the recent Public Works Center campus construction project, another three MicroDome G2 and five SurroundVideo Omni cameras were added to the city’s overall surveillance system. Five SurroundVideo Omni cameras and MicroDome G2 cameras were also installed along a pedestrian walkway that stretches from local hotels to the city’s civic center and entertainment district. The system is expected to continue growing in order to address public safety and property protection concerns as they arise.

Security And City-Wide Situational Awareness

After a Mankato bar closed for the night, a major altercation took place, where the Arecont Vision Cameras were crucial in solving the crime

Depending upon the location and local requirement, the Mankato’s city surveillance system uses a range of Arecont Vision cameras. These include single sensor 2 – 5MP MegaDome 2 and MicroDome G2 cameras. 20MP SurroundVideo multi-sensor cameras provide 180° situational awareness coverage, while omni-directional SurroundVideo Omni G1 and G2 cameras cover an even wider range of deployments.

The city surveillance system is managed and monitored from a command center with a multitude of large screens displayed across a wall. “The surveillance system and the screens are critically important during high-traffic events in the city,” said Mr. Bales. “With three colleges here in town, homecoming is a very busy time of the year. There are also numerous festivals that take place in the city combined with a very dynamic downtown. Our staff is able to view the activities as they happen, enhancing security and city-wide situational awareness.”

Video Streaming To Cellphone Devices

It is not just the security center that can monitor this system either — video can also be streamed to cellphone devices and can be monitored for official use all over the city. The system provides public monitoring as well. There are about half a dozen locations downtown with indoor walkways and skyways that are covered by Arecont Vision cameras with live video, providing the public with supplementary awareness and security.

The surveillance system has exceeded the expectations of the city to protect both people and property. An example of the system’s usefulness was evident in a recent incident that made national news. After a Mankato bar closed for the night, a major altercation took place, where the Arecont Vision Cameras were crucial in solving the crime.

The city surveillance system caught the incident on camera, providing detailed video evidence which assisted law enforcement in proceeding accordingly. The cameras prompted the ideal outcome in an unfortunate situation, helping make the legal process more efficient and serving to greater deter the occurrence of future incidents.

When probed on how the system has performed to date, Bales responded that Arecont Vision “exceeded the expectations.” Arecont Vision looks forward to continuing this legacy throughout its work with the City of Mankato.

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Has The Gap Closed Between Security Fiction And Security Reality?
Has The Gap Closed Between Security Fiction And Security Reality?

Among its many uses and benefits, technology is a handy tool in the fantasy world of movie and television thrillers. We all know the scene: a vital plot point depends on having just the right super-duper gadget to locate a suspect or to get past a locked door. In movies and TV, face recognition is more a super power than a technical function. Video footage can be magically enhanced to provide a perfect image of a license plate number. We have all shaken our heads in disbelief, and yet, our industry’s technical capabilities are improving every day. Are we approaching a day when the “enhanced” view of technology in movies and TV is closer to the truth? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How much has the gap closed between the reality of security system capabilities and what you see on TV (or at the movies)?

BCDVideo Signs OEM Deal With Dell EMC: Positive Impact For Surveillance Storage
BCDVideo Signs OEM Deal With Dell EMC: Positive Impact For Surveillance Storage

In a significant move for the video security market, BCDVideo has announced that it is set to become Dell EMC’s OEM partner in the video surveillance space. For nearly a decade, the Chicago-based company has been known as a key OEM partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), providing storage and networking technology to security integrators on a global scale. This latest partnership will allow BCDVideo to take their offerings to the next level. BCDVideo Vice President Tom Larson spoke to SecurityInformed.com to discuss the reasoning behind the deal, and how the program will benefit partners, integrators, and end-users alike. Expanding BCDVideo's Product Offering For BCDVideo, the HPE OEM program has been widely acknowledged as a success, allowing the company to leverage a globally recognized brand and provide high-quality, reliable solutions across video networking and access control. Nevertheless, explains Larson, HPE server solutions are primarily suited to large-scale enterprise projects, and are therefore unable to accommodate for the growth in small- and medium-sized surveillance applications. The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering, building on success in the larger enterprise market to offer tailored solutions to SMEs. Our aim is to look at all best of breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships” Support For Integrators By leveraging Dell EMC’s sophisticated digital storage platforms, BCDVideo will now be able to offer a more cost-effective solution to integrators, without sacrificing the resilience and IT-level service that BCDVideo is known for. With access to Dell EMC’s expansive global sales and technical teams, the company hopes to expand its reach, all-the-while providing partners with around-the-clock technical support and a five-year on-site warranty. Customers should be reassured that BCDVideo will continue to offer HPE platforms, service, and support. “Our aim is to look at all best-of-breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships,” says Larson.  “The addition of Dell EMC to our portfolio is a major win for BCDVideo, for Dell EMC, and for our integrators.” The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering Meeting Surveillance Market Demands At the technology level, assures Larson, Dell EMC’s server offering is well suited to handle the increasing video resolution and growing camera count demanded by the surveillance industry. At the larger end of the spectrum, the company’s Isilon Scale-Out NAS solution can handle tens of petabytes of data, making it ideal for large-scale security applications such as city-wide surveillance and airport security. Dell EMC storage solutions are already proving successful at major international airports including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, each with a camera count in the 1000s.Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market” For Dell EMC, the new partnership means the ability to expand on this success in the enterprise market, leveraging BCDVideo’s surveillance expertise and high-level customer service to offer tailored solutions for lower-volume applications. Since its inception, BCDVideo has differentiated itself in the security space by providing a high level of IT service to integrators making the transition to IP systems. By combining resources, the partners will be able to service VMS and analytics companies, software vendors, and access control providers, as well as traditional business integrators. Ken Mills, General Manager Dell EMC Surveillance, explains: “Surveillance storage is not just about capacity, it is also about performance and reliability. Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market.” Accomodating For Growth BCDVideo is well placed to accommodate this anticipated growth. Last year, the company opened a new 51,000-square-foot global headquarters in Illinois, home to 90 separate stations within their Innovation Center where each system is customised according to integrator needs. The new facility allows for expanding business with new and existing partners in the security market.

How To Prepare For Active Shooter Incidents | Infographic
How To Prepare For Active Shooter Incidents | Infographic

This Active Shooter infographic summarises information about trends among active shooter incidents, and outlines how an organization can develop a plan before tragedy occurs, including:   Statistics on the numbers and types of recent active shooter incidents. A profile of common traits among active shooters. How to prepare beforehand, and what to do when the police arrive. How organizational planning ensures maximum preparedness. Pre-attack indicators to look for. Be sure to share this information with coworkers and managers. Awareness is key to preventing active shooter incidents, and to minimising their tragic consequences. When sharing this infographic on your website, please include attribution to  SecurityInformed.com More resources for active shooter preparedness: How hospitals can prepare for active shooter attacks Six steps to survive a mass shooting Technologies to manage emergency lockdowns  How robots can check for active shooters  Background checks to minimise insider threats Gunfire detection technologies for hospitals, retail and office buildings 21 ways to prevent workplace violence in your organisation Non-invasive security strategies for public spaces    

Key highlights
  • Surveillance for key community areas
  • WW Communications
  • Arecont Vision and Milestone Systems
  • City surveillance project phases
  • Unmatched surveillance capabilities
  • Security and city-wide situational awareness
  • Video streaming to mobile devices