Upscale security
Upscale security

Jul 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Access Control & Security Systems Integration Staff

As a leading tourist destination, Orlando, Fla., offers something forpeople of all ages. With its convention facilities, resorts and hotels, itis also a leading destination for business meetings and conferences. At thecenter of it all is a new upscale entertainment, retail, dining andshopping complex called Pointe*Orlando.

Encompassing 17 acres and housing more than 60 tenants, Pointe*Orlandooffers a relaxing outdoor experience with lush landscaping, rows oftowering palm trees, comfortable cafes, theme restaurants and distinctive,brightly colored buildings.

The security at Pointe*Orlando is top-notch as well. Signs postedthroughout the complex feature yellow "smiley faces" advertising thepresence of video surveillance.

Planning for the extensive CCTV system started during the constructionphase. A security consultant hired by the facility's owners selected MavcoInc., an installing dealer, to design and install the system.

"At the beginning of the project, we were primarily working withconstruction people and they were open to innovative security systems,"says Doug Wyatt, system designer on the project and general manager atMavco. "By evaluating the site plan, we were able to design and recommend aCCTV system using a reasonable number of cameras to cover virtually theentire complex."

"As of today, we've installed more than 90 cameras at the facility," saysBryan Stephens, a Mavco salesperson. "As we progressed with theinstallation, management added at least a dozen or so cameras to theinitial design to ensure a safe and secure environment."

A combination of cameras.Pointe*Orlando features a complement of Panasonic CCTV cameras including 13color unitized camera systems, 7 black-and-white unitized camera systems,49 black-and-white CCD cameras, and 22 color CCD cameras.

Each color unitized camera incorporates 1/3-inch color digital signalprocessing (DSP) CCD camera, a pan/tilt mechanism, receiver unit and a 10xzoom lens. The integrated unit offers 64 presettable positions and abuilt-in motion detector with 48-segment masking. It also features scenefile memory that can store camera settings and positioning for 10 scenes.The scene files can be recalled through either of the two Panasonic MatrixSystem 500s installed at Pointe*Orlando.

Panasonic's black-and-white unitized cameras also feature DSP technologyand deliver 570 lines of resolution with a minimum illumination of 0.08lux. Additional features include digital backlight compensation, camera ID,noiseless aperture correction, vertical 2H enhancer and a knee circuit fora wide dynamic range.

Low-light operation was key criteria in this application. Panasonic'sblack-and-white 1/3-inch CCD cameras with 380 lines of resolution and aminimum illumination of 0.1 lux offer a balance of resolution andsensitivity. For coverage requiring color, Mavco selected Panasonic's1/3-inch color CCD cameras that feature a micropixel on each lens toprovide a minimum illumination of 0.9 lux. The units also deliver digitalbacklight compensation, auto tracing, white balance, electronic lightcontrol and auto gain control to ensure clear images in low light.

Tom Lloyd, security director at Pointe*Orlando, was hired shortly after theCCTV system installation began. "One of my biggest concerns was the highvisibility of the property because of its proximity to the conventioncenter and all the hotels in the immediate area," he says. "I was alsoconcerned with the fact that this is a late-night entertainment complex.

"Collectively, it was our intent to provide comprehensive camera coveragefor both the complex and parking garage," continues Lloyd. "Our securityplan called for providing a safe and secure shopping environment usingcameras simultaneously recording every image."

"Color cameras are employed to cover all perimeter access points so that wecan supply our guards with detailed descriptions of what someone is wearingas they enter or leave the property," says Lloyd. "The interior cameras,for the most part, are all black-and-white and are used to identifyactivity. With color cameras on the perimeter and black-and-white camerasthroughout the interior sections, we get the best of both worlds."

In addition to monitoring the main concourses of Pointe*Orlando, camerasprovide coverage of stairwells, delivery entry points and back areas. Acolor unitized camera also was added late in the design stage to provide360 degree coverage of an ATM located off the main promenade of the complex.

Installation challenges.According to Ken Theisen, Mavco's project manager for Pointe*Orlando,construction posed several installation challenges. The exterior walls andfacades of the facility are fabricated using a combination of drywall withfoam on top of it, which made it difficult to mount equipment and runcable. "All the video lines and speaker cables are embedded in thestructure and covered with concrete," says Theisen. "Aside from the garage,no conduit was used. This eliminated about 20 thousand feet of conduit.They elected to do this for aesthetics and for costs."

The parking garage at Pointe*Orlando also presented challenges for the CCTVdesign team. The massive parking garage has five floors and low ceilings.To further compound the situation, the structure includes numerous columns."We've done other garages, but this one was so large and so long that wespent quite some time in the predesign phase," says Wyatt. "We finallydecided to install the cameras in a cross-firing pattern. If you look downthe main aisle in the garage, you can see opposing cameras shooting at eachother. This provides good coverage of high traffic areas. In addition, fiveunitized camera systems are installed on the roof level of the parkinggarage. The units cover the parking area and also monitor some locationsinside the complex."

"We have a bicycle patrol in the garage and a foot patrol," says Lloyd. "Wehave a lot of coverage in the garage because that's usually a facility'sprimary source of incidents. As of today, we have had very few incidents inthe garage. I attribute it to the visibility of the cameras and ourpatrols."

A satellite monitoring station is set up in the parking garage office. TheCCTV system helps regulate traffic patterns and allows the parking staff toassist security by reporting suspicious activity from their monitoringstation.

Because of the vast distances between the main control room and parkinggarage, Mavco designed the CCTV system using two Panasonic Matrix System500s. "Early on, we knew we were going to be using more than 64 cameras,"says Lloyd. "We also knew we were going to have more than 50 cameras in thegarage alone. So we located one of the matrix systems in the garage insteadof running 50 or so camera lines more than 780 feet back to the maincontrol room - that would have been a very large bundle of cable.

"With Matrix System 500, we can run up to 3,000 feet between the controllerand the matrix. We decided to put the controller in the main control roomand leave the matrix in the parking garage office. So all the camera runsenter into the matrix in the garage and then are routed to the main controlroom through a handful of outputs. This configuration reduced our cable runby approximately 80 percent."

Matrix System 500 is designed to accommodate up to 128 cameras, 16monitors, eight controllers and 128 alarm outputs. The system is scaleableand can be configured in multiples of eight camera inputs and four monitoroutputs.

Monitoring and recording.The main control room at Pointe*Orlando is manned 24 hours a day, sevendays a week. Two Panasonic WV-CU550A controllers on the main console allowthe facility's security staff to control the cameras. All cameras arerecorded on Panasonic SVHS AG-6740 Time Lapse Recorders and are viewed on avariety of monitors including Panasonic's TR-99OC 9-inch, black-and-whitemonitors.

"We went with top-of-the-line recorders for their high resolution," saysLloyd. "The recording system is often the weakest link in a securitysystem. We've got at least 380 lines of resolution coming in from thecameras. We did not want to reduce the resolution down to 240 lines usingVHS equipment."

Late one recent night, the security officer on duty in the control room was"touring" the facility and noticed a small fire smoldering in a trash canadjacent to one of the restaurants. Security officers were dispatched withfire extinguishers only to find that the small trash can fire had spread toa recently installed video monitor enclosure mounted on the building. Thesecurity staff was able to contain the blaze while the fire department wasin transit to the scene. The early detection provided by the CCTV systemhelped avert potentially large-scale destruction.

"The CCTV system is like having 90 additional pairs of eyes on patrol,"says Lloyd. "We find lost kids, reunite husbands and their wives that havebeen separated while shopping. It's a great service to provide our patronsabove and beyond the security benefits.

"Most importantly, we have had low instances of theft or vandalism."

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