COPENHAGEN – 1 July 2008. Crowds in public venues create special demands for safety that are being addressed by the Rhode Island Convention Center complex. They are undergoing renovations that allow them to upgrade from a system of mixed and outdated analog surveillance equipment to a networked open platform to integrate all the elements of their security and add better technologies. Milestone IP video management software plays a pivotal role in this migration.
"We’re in a planning phase to go for the one-system approach that can interact with everything we have. Some of our old devices no longer are possible to get parts for, or don’t work with all our hardware – like some of the analog joysticks,” explains Howard Allen, Chief of Security at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. “We want to have the capability to patch in with all the systems running over fiber network for the greatest flexibility and scalability. We’re constantly integrating and adding new devices. Danetech helped us install the Milestone software – I had never seen it before. It is definitely a good product that is user friendly, and the image clarity is better. I’ve been pleased with it,” comments Allen.
“We’re looking to integrate into a full solution with Milestone XProtect Enterprise. The first to go in were cameras for the concession areas, and other cameras have been added easily,” says Torben Bernfeld, President of Danetech Inc.. “Milestone handles the widest choice in hardware, allowing easy migration to new technologies and a best-of-breed solution."
The convention center’s security command center is manned 24/7 and currently runs the mix of old and new surveillance equipment. With more network cameras being added all the time, the Milestone platform can act as the core to manage all the elements - even integrated access control, fire and alarm systems. The reconstruction of the buildings has allowed the opportunity to upgrade to the IP network approach that will bring them greater scalability, cost efficiencies, and operational effectiveness. Security staff with radios roaming the parking garages, lobbies, and elsewhere are informed of any incidents from the command center and can respond fast.
Working together with authorities
Allen reports an excellent relationship with the local police, and evidence has been shared from the surveillance. In the fall of 2007 the center took part in a ‘weapons of mass destruction drill’ that involved a lot of planning and close cooperation with local authorities: fire, police, FBI, EMS, hospitals, city buses, etc. The video recordings were reviewed as an aid to evaluate the positive results of the test.
“An emergency email network with a security council has been set up in the region, too, for sharing info about crime or safety problems occurring or on their way towards us. A lot of communication is now going on - I get daily spreadsheets from the local police with reports on whatever is happening, including mug shots of people to look for. They can turn up on our surveillance," adds Allen. "We recently caught one gang culprit they were looking for."
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About the R.I. Convention Center
The Rhode Island Convention Center consists of a 100,000 square foot exhibition hall, a grand ballroom of 20,000 square feet, and 23 meeting rooms totaling another 37,000. Two garages hold parking for 2,500 vehicles. Connected next door is the arena called the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (previously the Providence Civic Center) with 10,000+ seating capacity. This is home of the Bruins farm team and Providence college basketball, and a municipal venue to concerts and big events.