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The Logistics of Security

Company seeks means to take advantage of IP-based system

Navarre Corp., a distribution and retail support operation in Minneapolis, previously relied on an analog-based surveillance system as a way to increase security and aid in investigations, but the company found the system unreliable for capturing high-quality video when incidents occurred. Even if the system recorded relevant footage, searching through it was an arduous task.

Sam Hildebrandt, director of operations for Navarre, was given with the opportunity to upgrade the company’s existing technology and immediately set forth on a search for a security management platform that would enable Navarre to migrate to a completely IP-based system.

Specifically, the company required a system that could take advantage of its robust IT backbone, enable multiple users to access the system from remote locations and streamline investigations through the use of intelligent search functions and video analytics.

“Security is a priority for the company, and it is a cornerstone of our business,” Hildebrandt said. “I knew a platform that would enable us to capture and easily manage video and integrate with other IP systems would provide a high return-on-investment.”

The operations team at Navarre was specifically looking for a solution that would help the company correlate data from multiple systems through a single user interface to maximize security operations. It also wanted to have the capability to remotely access and share surveillance footage with other departments within the organization.

Finding the Right Mix

Hildebrandt, along with Mark Sargent, security manager at Navarre, reviewed various management platforms, including the NLSS Gateway from Next Level Security Systems. The NLSS Gateway is a security management system that integrates networked video management, IP access control and video analytics in a single unified solution. This approach allows data from the traditional separate subsystems to be correlated without custom integration, while combined data is available to users through a single, intuitive user interface. The combination of these applications into one platform provides users with a comprehensive view of their entire security operations.

“There were a number of things about the system that intrigued me,” Hildebrandt said. “The size and space requirements of the platform are extremely minimal. But it was the incorporation of multiple subsystems into one, unified solution that I thought could provide the most value to the organization.”

Furthermore, the NLSS Gateway met the other stringent requirements of a new solution as it included video analytics and integrated access control, providing a Web interface for off-site user access including integrated video analytics and remote managed services. Sargent decided to put the solution through a rigorous testing process to make sure it was the right choice and subsequently chose a Navarre facility in the southern United States to begin the deployment of the unified, networked security platform.

Through the Paces

Navarre installed the NLSS Gateway in its Texas facility in place of its prior DVR solution. Sargent said the system was easy to deploy and its auto discovery function immediately discovered available camera feeds.

“It was truly plug-and-play. We didn’t need IT support,” Hildebrandt said. “Overall, the installation process took only 30 minutes.”

At the facility, the Gateway manages video feeds from digitally encoded GE Security surveillance cameras and two PTZ network video cameras (P5512 indoor and P5512-E) from Axis Communications. The site also incorporated the Sony M3205 HD fixed-dome camera, as well as Axis encoders (Q7406) and Dlaltel PTZ cyberdome cameras. Facility managers with no prior experience using traditional security technologies manage the system onsite. Even so, Sargent said the team was able to quickly get up-to-speed because the user interface on the system is based on technology interfaces found in the consumer market.

“The system is ideal for users that have limited experience with security technologies,” Sargent said. “It is incredibly user friendly, and those with no experience with the system have no problem using it.”

The combination of video management, IP access control and analytics provides an enhanced view of security operations as data from these systems are correlated and presented in a unified manner. Also, these systems run on the same hardware as the other software components, and the user interface is fully integrated with the other integrated components. The power of the separate systems is greatly enhanced when alarms or events are correlated with those from other functions.

“The ability to gather information from these systems in one interface is beneficial,” Hildebrandt said. “If this is not the way the industry is going, it should be. We now have much more awareness over our security operations than possible with prior technologies.”

Navarre has been able to lower the cost of investigations by leveraging the intuitive search capabilities that allow security staff to pinpoint relevant video rather than search manually through hours of footage to investigate an incident. Furthermore, video analytics “make our jobs easier, whether a simple tripwire is tripped or multiple alerts show I am having issues in a particular area,” Sargent said. “Before we had analytics, we were working off our best guess of when a particular event occurred.”

Remote Management Services

Companies like Navarre that manage multiple facilities require mobility from their security systems. The Gateway system makes day-today tasks more efficient and more secure through its NLSS Remote Management Service. This service offering provides users with the ability to access, configure and monitor all features of their security system from anywhere and at any time through Web browsers and mobile devices, eliminating the need for on-site support.

“The remote service is beneficial to our group as it enables us to access and share video with other departments or sites quickly and easily,” Hildebrandt said. “For example, our maintenance department uses video to monitor diagnostic issues and maintenance problems remotely. This capability limits unnecessary travel, and therefore saves money and time.”

The ability to share video provides the asset protection team with more freedom and flexibility, he said, because the ability to access relevant video streams enables management to quickly diagnosis what is occurring in a given moment.

The Navarre team was so impressed with the results from the NLSS Gateway that it has initiated a rapid roll-out of the system at a distribution facility at its headquarters in Minneapolis and a warehouse in Toronto. When those installations are complete, approximately 100 camera feeds will be controlled by the platform.

“I always look for innovation and creative approaches to new technology, and I found both with Next Level’s solutions,” Hildebrandt said. “The decision to implement the NLSS Gateway in our organization is the best long-term decision for us.”

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