When Vulcan Technologies Inc. of South Windsor, Conn., was contracted to deploy a citywide surveillance solution for the Hartford Police Department, the integrator anticipated the high potential for the system to grow and deployed Milestone Corporate VMS for just that reason. This turned out to be the case as the system today encompasses approximately 800 cameras from virtually every city department.
“Our intent was to use a system that could leverage as many cameras, analytics and third-party integrations as possible, and the open platform allows us to pick the best of what’s out there,” says Tyler Cullen, director of information technology, Vulcan Technologies.
Among the integrations is ShotSpotter gunshot detection, which allows police to leverage gunshot data coming into the system to coordinate response and drive other actions. GPS data from a detected gunshot translates to a particular geo-fenced area and can direct a PTZ camera to that specific location or preset probable escape route.
In deploying the solution, Vulcan faced two types of challenges: human and technology. On the human side, the issue was that the city was using multiple siloes of video, including police, public works, various city-backed community organizations and more — none of which could be accessed by anyone outside those siloes. Once city and departmental managers saw that Milestone would allow all agencies to access and share video from all systems while delegating permissions as needed, they bought in very quickly, Cullen says.
“Anywhere they put up cameras, the police can access them for real-time enforcement and situational handling. Likewise, the public works department would be able to access cameras for keeping an eye on quality of life issues within the city, illegal dumping, graffiti, trash and other things,” he says. Through converging everybody’s systems together, they ended up saving a lot of money as opposed to if they all tried to eat the whale themselves.”
The technical challenges proved a bit trickier, as Vulcan had to find the best way to get hundreds of video streams from point A to point B without sacrificing quality. Hartford is known for having excellent fiber optics within and between buildings, but not so much on the streets. Working with a variety of stakeholders, however, Vulcan was able to get fiber access at key facilities, then build off those fiber hard points with Fluidmesh.
Through the process, Cullen says Vulcan learned the value of getting things right versus making sales, which has proven valuable throughout the multi-year project.
“You can’t rush the process. It’s more important to get everyone on the same page and build a culture of security first,” Cullen says. “Even if you have to downsize the project just to get it right, that’s the most important thing to do. You really have to foster that mindset early on and get them the right solution to grow.”