UnityPoint – Allen Hospital is a 600,000 square foot, 204 bed facility located in Iowa’s Cedar Valley. Steve Cusher, Regional Director, Facilities Operations, is responsible for the main hospital, the five-building Allen College campus, United Medical Park, UnityPoint Clinic at North Crossing, UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine Prairie Parkway in Cedar Falls and two free-standing UnityPoint urgent care clinics in the Waterloo area, plus a recently acquired hospital in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Allen Hospital has been working with Inteconnex since 2014 when they sought a solution to upgrade the facility’s out of date security camera system which had been installed in 2008. The previous security system for the Iowa hospital was crippled with non-working cameras and an outdated DVR system that experienced frequent outages. At the same time, the hospital had a new CEO who made physical security a top priority.
Initially, Inteconnex installed security cameras at the main hospital but, over the years, the relationship has expanded to all facilities in the Waterloo area as well as Marshalltown.
Cusher and his team have their work cut out for them with the geographic spread of their properties that spans nearly 60 miles from Waterloo to Marshalltown, Iowa. Security is critical to the organization’s mission as it strives to provide a safe environment for staff, students and patients alike across various buildings and properties. It was crucial to Cusher that a system be reliable and accessible to his team.
“Our goal with the camera system was to change from DVR to a server-based system so that we didn’t have the outages we were experiencing. We also wanted to be able to integrate existing cameras into the new system to leverage previous investment. Initially, we added 40 interior cameras and 40 exterior cameras. There was a real benefit to being able to bring in an off-site legacy camera system into a more cohesive system that integrated into our network,” said Cusher.
When Allen Hospital started researching integrators for a new security camera system, they already knew that Avigilon was the brand they wanted to purchase.
“We wanted Avigilon because we needed the hardware to be more reliable than what we had in place at the time and it also need to be upgradable, not simply throwaway technology. We focused on Avigilon for quality of the equipment and we liked Avigilon’s lifetime software license and approach to technology.”
Inteconnex has helped Cusher and his team install Avigilon security cameras and access control systems at every UnityPoint – Allen Hospital property that has security.
Currently, they have more than 500 cameras and 350 doors covered by the system.
After working with Inteconnex on the initial cameras system, Unity Point – Allen Hospital turned to Inteconnex to install an access control system, switching from Lenel to Avigilon. “We wanted to integrate access control with our camera system and, again, we liked Avigilon’s lifetime software licensing, the ability for our own staff to work on the system and for the cohesiveness it brings to our overall security landscape. It affords us better and firsthand investigation for security incidents. We can see who is accessing doors and provide access privileges remotely,” Cusher said.
Cusher estimates that Allen Hospital saw an 85% reduction in theft on campus in the first two years of the new Inteconnex system being installed.
“We have seen a real reduction in theft and vandalism to property—this system is a deterrent. People know we have the camera system in place and we will use it.”
Additionally, the Avigilon system has helped Allen Hospital better respond to events—regardless of where they occur on the campus. “We are also able to follow up on emergency management events—a few years ago, a nursing home evacuated to one of our facilities during a flood and we were able to see real-time what was happening at our facility and make decisions remotely,” said Cusher.
The ability to access the system remotely has become increasingly important to Cusher and his team as the organization has expanded. “Our geographic footprint continues to grow so having a unified system between Waterloo properties and Marshalltown is critical to maximize our efficiency and coverage. I also like that the Avigilon/Inteconnex solution is web-based—there is no special client needed on our computers. I can access cameras or doors and change privileges anywhere I can access our network,” said Cusher.
Initially, Inteconnex was selected for cost and Avigilon product capabilities, but, Cusher said that it is Inteconnex’s service that sets the integrator apart from other vendors as their relationship has grown.
“Working with Inteconnex staff—they are always readily available. They are my first call when I need something or need technical expertise. They do a great job of taking care of us and have helped advise on the growth of our system. Now on the camera side, we have over 500 cameras—we have experienced substantial growth since we’ve started working with Inteconnex and they have helped us navigate it successfully,” said Cusher.
Inteconnex has exceeded Cusher’s expectations, particularly, Kris Rausch the network engineer assigned to his account. “Kris Rausch is phenomenal—he has done a great job of spreading his knowledge through the Inteconnex organization and building their team’s knowledge. He is very prompt and his knowledge is second to none. He is very passionate about the work he does.”
The combined technical expertise and customer care make Inteconnex a standout for Cusher.
“I deal with a lot of service vendors and Inteconnex is one of my top go-to vendors with which I work. We have more than just a vendor-client relationship, it is more of a partnership—they have been a partner in helping us successfully grow. We have planned for that growth and achieved it together as a team.”
Inteconnex is the Midwest’s leading security innovator. The company designs and installs comprehensive security environments 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 security.