A Sony PTZ camera is tied into a port-wide video management system powered by software from OnSSI
A significant upgrade in the fibre network included installation of multi-mode fibre optic cabling to camera locations

It takes an intricate and well-established security infrastructure to protect a port, even a small one such as the Port of West Sacramento. Following strict security regulations from the Department of Homeland Security and US Coast Guard, The Port made the commitment to install a new video surveillance system featuring video management software from OnSSI.

At the entrance to the Port, contract security officers from All Phase Security watch camera views of the port 24-hours-a-day in real-time, and they can also view video archives as needed. They conduct virtual tours of the premises with pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) to make sure all is well. Over 30 cameras, including Sony fixed cameras and PTZ models as well as FLIR thermal cameras, supply views throughout the port, and a video management software system from OnSSI provides a simplified, intuitive way to manage video feeds effectively.

“Digital systems are still pretty expensive, and it takes foresight to understand that the investment is worth it,” said Tim Huntsinger, Chief Operating Officer, All Phase Security, a consultant on the new video system installed at the port. “The city of West Sacramento is showing that a small city with a small port is willing to take on the challenge of installing a new system with an eye toward future growth.”

Port provides easy access

The inland Port of West Sacramento is located about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco, at the Sacramento River Deep Water Channel in the City of West Sacramento. Centered in one of the richest agricultural and industrial regions in the world, the port has been an integral part of the community since terminal construction began in 1962 and the first ship arrived in 1963. The deep-water port helps to lower freight costs, create local jobs and provide industrial development to the area.

The 43-mile channel reaches from the Sacramento River into Rio Vista through the Delta into the City of West Sacramento, located in Yolo County. In 2005, the City of West Sacramento took control of the Port of Sacramento and renamed it in 2008 as the Port of West Sacramento. The port provides easy access to shipping for farmers in Northern California, especially those exporting bagged and bulk rice.

When the Port of West Sacramento was looking to upgrade the video system, they brought All Phase Security in as a consultant. The project started in January 2010 and was completed the following August.

World Telecom & Surveillance employees initially set up portable surveillance trailers to view the opposite shore and access to the waterway
The signals from over 30 cameras across the facility are transmitted across the fibre-optic networks

All Phase Security handles physical security at the port and employs about 10 security officers whose main missions are access control and perimeter security. All Phase Security reports directly to port management, which is part of the West Sacramento city staff. Officers include a roving vessel patrol in the port and a 24-hour officer stationed at the gate to monitor ingress/egress and to keep watch on a monitor displaying video from the surveillance system.

System installer was World Telecom & Surveillance, Inc. (WT&S), a low-voltage contractor for 10 years, which has seen its business evolve into the surveillance field for the last six years. Having witnessed the evolution of voice-over-IP in the telecom market, World Telecom was well-equipped to oversee the Port of West Sacramento's transition to networked video.

Fibre-Optic and wireless transmission


The signals from over 30 cameras located throughout the port's premises are transmitted across fibre-optic networks, including about 30,000 feet of new fibre installed by World Telecom & Surveillance, Inc., and using wireless devices. There is 24-strand single mode fibre from each guard station to the server, a Dynamic Network Factory Security (DNF Security) Seahawk server that is the video management engine. It is attached to a RAID5 array for 24 terabytes of video storage (about 30 days). The server, installed in an above-ground vault, runs OnSSI's IP-based video surveillance management software.

Two DNF Security video monitoring workstations – one at each guard gate– run OnSSI's Ocularis Client. The network is used solely for the video system; a separate network is used for the port's day-to-day business functions. Six-strand multimode fibre runs from the server to each network location. The use of fibre-optic cables enables network signals to be transmitted for longer distances than Ethernet cabling. A significant upgrade in the fibre network was undertaken to accommodate the video network; the fibre upgrade will also likely find additional uses in the future as the port grows.

Huntsinger likes the convenient scalability of the OnSSI system: “In the future as the port grows, having an OnSSI system allows for ease of growth”...

During the original installation, OnSSI's legacy NetGuard EVS was being used as the client viewing software. Ocularis Client was later installed after the project was complete. The operators like the virtual joystick for PTZ and the ability to browse recorded video based on time increments or activity. They also like that the screen layout is simpler and “flows much better,” according to Charlie Rossiter, World Telecom and Surveillance Technician. Port management can access the system remotely using the city's IT network, but would only use it when looking for something specific.

The Ocularis platform from OnSSI runs on standard IT servers and adheres to and supports recognized industry standards, including integration with a range of physical security and camera devices. Ocularis Client provides a simplified, intuitive way to effectively manage video feeds and complex physical security systems. Ocularis also provides the power to investigate events using instant review and digital pan-tilt-zoom during live monitoring.

Targets can be detected automatically using video motion detection by a nearby camera. All Phase security officers can follow any moving targets operating PTZ cameras through Ocularis.

Across the Sacramento River from the port, on remote sites, two mobile wireless surveillance trailers, run by solar power and diesel generators, each include a roughly 30-foot-tall mast on which three Sony PTZ cameras and one FLIR pan and tilt thermal camera are mounted. Firetide HotPort 6000 wireless mesh nodes are used to transmit video signals from the surveillance trailers to the server. Battery backup and diesel generators ensure continuous power during the night. An upgrade is planned to provide solar panels large enough to allow the trailers to run solely on solar power.

The cameras across the river are used to view the opposite shore and access to the waterway. Offering views back at the physical facilities of the port, the cameras help to make sure no one is gaining unauthorized access. In case of a natural disaster or other emergency, the trailers could be redeployed to provide surveillance of other locations.

Mobile surveillance trailers offer video views of the physical facilities of the Port of West Sacramento, tied in wirelessly to video management software from OnSSI
OnSSI's legacy NetGuard EVS was being used as client viewing software
 The port also uses a Talk-A-Phone emergency broadcast system, which is not integrated with the OnSSI system although the two are used together. For example, if video identifies an intruder, the Talk-A-Phone system can be used to tell them to exit the water space.

Protecting the perimeter

The system secures the perimeter against any trespassers and ensures the integrity of the fence line. The port is located along a main roadway in West Sacramento, where vehicle, foot and bike traffic are common. If there are fishermen along the waterway, security looks to make sure they maintain a position away from the port docks. Video feeds also help security officers look for any activity in the port that is out of the ordinary or involves a restricted area. They can view traffic patterns at the port, and view work crews, contractors or vendors working inside the ports. Cameras view along the roadways of the port, along the docks, and the waterway leading to the port.

Huntsinger likes the convenient scalability of the OnSSI system. “In the future as the port grows, having an OnSSI system allows for ease of growth,” he said. “Instead of dealing with analog systems needing multiple NVRs or DVRs, it's just a matter of licenses. And scalability is unlimited.” Software upgrades from OnSSI also ensure that the system will be state-of-the-art even several years from now.

OnSSI's ease of use simplifies the training curve for security personnel. Security officers can go back and research video using Ocularis tools. “Having 32 cameras and so much footage, it is very important to have the ability to do specific time-point searches so you don't have to scroll through hours of video,” said Huntsinger.

All Phase Security uses OnSSI exclusively as its video management system. “We looked at others, but we have been very impressed with OnSSI's usability, interface and scalability.” Huntsinger also favors the analytics packages offered by OnSSI, and the opportunities opened up by robust systems for his company in markets such as industrial and commercial enterprises. “It's a multi-faceted tool,” he said. He also acknowledges the technical support his company has received from OnSSI.

Huntsinger affirms that the Port of West Sacramento's investment in building an infrastructure to accommodate an IP-based video system is worth it and will provide additional benefits in the future.

All Phase security has a solid history using OnSSI software. The company started as a security services/guard service company and now employs 300 security officers. When All Phase Security entered the video surveillance arena in 2007, the company researched various video management software systems, came across OnSSI and was “extremely impressed,” said Huntsinger. OnSSI software is now the mainstay of the company's corporate monitoring center in West Sacramento. Their familiarity with the product convinced them it would be perfect for the Port of West Sacramento.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)
Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)

Display solutions play a key role in SOCs in providing the screens needed for individuals and teams to visualize and share the multiple data sources needed in an SOC today. Security Operation Center (SOC) Every SOC has multiple sources and inputs, both physical and virtual, all of which provide numerous data points to operators, in order to provide the highest levels of physical and cyber security, including surveillance camera feeds, access control and alarm systems for physical security, as well as dashboards and web apps for cyber security applications. Today’s advancements in technology and computing power not only have increasingly made security systems much more scalable, by adding hundreds, if not thousands, of more data points to an SOC, but the rate at which the data comes in has significantly increased as well. Accurate monitoring and surveillance This has made monitoring and surveillance much more accurate and effective, but also more challenging for operators, as they can’t realistically monitor the hundreds, even thousands of cameras, dashboards, calls, etc. in a reactive manner. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making In order for operators in SOC’s to be able to mitigate incidents in a less reactive way and take meaningful action, streamlined actionable data is needed. This is what will ensure operators in SOC truly have situational awareness. Situational awareness is a key foundation of effective decision making. In its simplest form, ‘It is knowing what is going on’. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making and in accidents attributed to human error. Achieving ‘true’ situational awareness Situational awareness isn’t just what has already happened, but what is likely to happen next and to achieve ‘true’ situational awareness, a combination of actionable data and the ability to deliver that information or data to the right people, at the right time. This is where visualization platforms (known as visual networking platforms) that provide both the situational real estate, as well as support for computer vision and AI, can help SOCs achieve true situational awareness Role of computer vision and AI technologies Proactive situational awareness is when the data coming into the SOC is analyzed in real time and then, brought forward to operators who are decision makers and key stakeholders in near real time for actionable visualization. Computer vision is a field of Artificial Intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. It is a way to automate tasks that the human visual system can also carry out, the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. There are numerous potential value adds that computer vision can provide to operation centers of different kinds. Here are some examples: Face Recognition: Face detection algorithms can be applied to filter and identify an individual. Biometric Systems: AI can be applied to biometric descriptions such as fingerprint, iris, and face matching. Surveillance: Computer vision supports IoT cameras used to monitor activities and movements of just about any kind that might be related to security and safety, whether that's on the job safety or physical security. Smart Cities: AI and computer vision can be used to improve mobility through quantitative, objective and automated management of resource use (car parks, roads, public squares, etc.) based on the analysis of CCTV data. Event Recognition: Improve the visualization and the decision-making process of human operators or existing video surveillance solutions, by integrating real-time video data analysis algorithms to understand the content of the filmed scene and to extract the relevant information from it. Monitoring: Responding to specific tasks in terms of continuous monitoring and surveillance in many different application frameworks: improved management of logistics in storage warehouses, counting of people during event gatherings, monitoring of subway stations, coastal areas, etc. Computer Vision applications When considering a Computer Vision application, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the infrastructure in the Operation Center, for example the solution that drives the displays and video walls, will connect and work well with the computer vision application. The best way to do this of course is to use a software-driven approach to displaying information and data, rather than a traditional AV hardware approach, which may present incompatibilities. Software-defined and open technology solutions Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need, including computer vision. In the modern world, with everything going digital, all security services and applications have become networked, and as such, they belong to IT. AV applications and services have increasingly become an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Software-defined approach to AV IT teams responsible for data protection are more in favor of a software-defined approach to AV that allow virtualised, open technologies as opposed to traditional hardware-based solutions. Software’s flexibility allows for more efficient refreshment cycles, expansions and upgrades. The rise of AV-over-IP technologies have enabled IT teams in SOC’s to effectively integrate AV solutions into their existing stack, greatly reducing overhead costs, when it comes to technology investments, staff training, maintenance, and even physical infrastructure. AV-over-IP software platforms Moreover, with AV-over-IP, software-defined AV platforms, IT teams can more easily integrate AI and Computer Vision applications within the SOC, and have better control of the data coming in, while achieving true situational awareness. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people, at the right time, in order to address security incidents and challenges. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people Often, the people who need to know about security risks or breaches are not physically present in the operation centers, so having the data and information locked up within the four walls of the SOC does not provide true situational awareness. hyper-scalable visual platforms Instead there is a need to be able to deliver the video stream, the dashboard of the data and information to any screen anywhere, at any time — including desktops, tablets phones — for the right people to see, whether that is an executive in a different office or working from home, or security guards walking the halls or streets. New technologies are continuing to extend the reach and the benefits of security operation centers. However, interoperability plays a key role in bringing together AI, machine learning and computer vision technologies, in order to ensure data is turned into actionable data, which is delivered to the right people to provide ‘true’ situational awareness. Software-defined, AV-over-IP platforms are the perfect medium to facilitate this for any organizations with physical and cyber security needs.

What New Technologies And Trends Will Shape Video Analytics?
What New Technologies And Trends Will Shape Video Analytics?

The topic of video analytics has been talked and written about for decades, and yet is still one of the cutting-edge themes in the physical security industry. Some say yesterday’s analytics systems tended to overpromise and underdeliver, and there are still some skeptics. However, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reinvigorating the sector and enabling it to finally live up to its promise. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics in 2021?

Tackling The Challenge Of The Growing Cybersecurity Gap
Tackling The Challenge Of The Growing Cybersecurity Gap

The SolarWinds cyberattack of 2020 was cited by security experts as “one of the potentially largest penetrations of Western governments” since the Cold War. This attack put cybersecurity front and center on people’s minds again. Hacking communication protocol The attack targeted the US government and reportedly compromised the treasury and commerce departments and Homeland Security. What’s interesting about the SolarWinds attack is that it was caused by the exploitation of a hacker who injected a backdoor communications protocol.  This means that months ahead of the attack, hackers broke into SolarWinds systems and added malicious code into the company’s software development system. Later on, updates being pushed out included the malicious code, creating a backdoor communication for the hackers to use. Once a body is hacked, access can be gained to many. An explosion of network devices What has made the threat of cyberattacks much more prominent these days has been IT's growth in the last 20 years, notably cheaper and cheaper IoT devices. This has led to an explosion of network devices. IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth Compounding this issue is that IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth. Inevitably, leading to vulnerabilities, limited IT resources, and an increase in IoT devices get more attention from would-be hackers. Bridging the cybersecurity gap In the author’s view, this is the main reason why the cybersecurity gap is growing. This is because it inevitably boils down to counter-strike versus counter-strike. IT teams plug holes, and hackers find new ones, that is never going to stop. The companies must continue fighting cyber threats by developing new ways of protecting through in-house testing, security best practice sources, and both market and customer leads. End-user awareness One of the key battlegrounds here is the education of end-users. This is an area where the battle is being won at present, in the author’s opinion. End-users awareness of cybersecurity is increasing. It is crucial to educate end-users on what IoT devices are available, how they are configured, how to enable it effectively, and critically, how to use it correctly and safely. Physical security network A valuable product that tackles cybersecurity is, of course, Razberi Monitor™, which is new to ComNet’s portfolio. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem It monitors and manages all the system components for cybersecurity and system health, providing secure visibility into the availability, performance, and cyber posture of servers, storage, cameras, and networked security devices. Proactive maintenance By intelligently utilizing system properties and sensor data, Razberi’s award-winning cybersecurity software prevents problems while providing a centralized location for asset and alert management. Monitor™ enables proactive maintenance by offering problem resolutions before they become more significant problems. Identifying issues before they fail and become an outage is key to system availability and, moreover, is a considerable cost saving.