Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is a publicly-supported, two-year institution serving Des Moines, IA, and surrounding counties with 48 buildings spread out over six campuses. DMACC has nearly 75,000 full and non-credit students and over 2000 full and part-time staff. It is the fastest growing community college in Iowa and the 17th fastest growing two-year college in America.
Campus security and student safety are paramount at DMACC. With several high-profile national incidents of campus violence, Ned Miller and the security team at DMACC work diligently to maintain a safe environment for students and staff. However, the previous analog-based camera system was not fulfilling the needs of the growing community college-it included 10 to 15 standalone systems and was unreliable and difficult to use.
With multiple campuses, DMACC needed to upgrade its CCTV system to continue to provide the safest experience for students and staff and to prevent unlawful activity. DMACC sought an integrated system to serve its multiple campuses that is easy to use and provides quality, retrievable video.
“Bottom line—the system had to be user-friendly, easy and quick to manipulate while at the same time, meet our technical requirements,” said Ned Miller, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management at DMACC.
DMACC expected that the new software and equipment would allow them to easily observe, search, save and export footage from multiple cameras and locations.
“We aren’t computer experts, we’re safety and security-we needed a system that is not so technical that you would have to be a computer expert to make it run,” Miller said.
Inteconnex worked with Miller as well as the IT department at DMACC to design and implement a flexible, scalable security system that will grow with the college. In addition to the Avigilon Control Center installed in a virtual server environment, Inteconnex provided DMACC with 45 Avigilon high definition (HD) cameras and 25 Avigilon analog encoders to improve the performance of existing analog cameras. Now DMACC has an entirely network-based system-allowing for backup, additional storage and convenient retrieval of high-quality images taken at multiple locations.
Additionally, DMACC’s new system is built on a high availability physical security infrastructure—resulting in business continuity, disaster recovery, redundancy, and fail over. Rather than the images and data being stored on site (in the camera or DVR) and susceptible to vandalism or catastrophic event, they are stored securely and can be accessed remotely via phone or mobile device.
DMACC considers this implementation to be the first of three phases-Phase I being the important “backbone” of the project-establishing the infrastructure for the systems at the two largest campuses. Phases II and III will call for up to another 400 Avigilon HD cameras throughout the next few years over the rest of the campuses.
DMACC is pleased with the performance of the new security system. Miller values the service provided by Inteconnex and the leading-edge equipment and software from Avigilon. “We got what we thought we would from both Avigilon and Inteconnex. The system is easy to operate and install,” Miller said. “We didn’t get a sales pitch and then a disappearing act—they did what they said they would and the service has been exemplary.”
The new system provided by Inteconnex makes it easier for Miller’s team to search video-this ability also saves them time. With the new HD cameras, the quality of the video is also better—providing evidentiary-quality detail should it be needed.
Miller believes that the better camera quality and increased number of cameras will help to reduce crime and property damage at the college. “Having more presence of cameras is a deterrent-our safety record is good and we want to keep it that way. The bar is high and we want to keep it there,” said Miller.
Because the new system is on a network and is virtualized, the information is not tied to a specific piece of equipment on site-so there is fail over in case of vandalism or catastrophic event. Additionally, Miller and his team can now remotely monitor the system any time of day or night from their desktops, laptops or mobile devices using Avigilon Control Center Mobile.
DMACC ultimately selected Inteconnex because of its local presence, leading-edge equipment and knowledgeable and responsive support technicians. Inteconnex is unique in that 100% of the company’s technical staff hold technical/IT degrees, something important in today’s increasingly complex and IT-based physical security market. Leveraging Inteconnex’s technical expertise will save DMACC money because they can design the system to their needs. Using proprietary design tools, Inteconnex calculates pixels per foot-which identifies in advance, the picture quality that will be achieved before installing cameras (this helps determine the size and quality of cameras needed in each area)-helping DMACC spend wisely in the right areas.
Inteconnex is the Midwest’s leading physical security integrator. The company designs and installs comprehensive security solutions with customized and fully-networked capability. The highly trained staff at Inteconnex has roots in information technology, providing customers with unrivaled technical expertise, service and the highest performing systems for today’s increasingly complex and networked world of advanced physical security.