Case Study: Universidad Central de Venezuela

Don’t be afraid and keep delving into the changes; the benefits outweigh the investment cost.Alberto Bellorín, Deputy Director of Technology at La Universidad Central de Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela – April, 2014

The university, a national and international reference in the training of human talent and in the generation, management and dissemination of knowledge, entrusts SupraBT with the implementation of a comprehensive security system. The first step was to optimize the registration of physical access to the university campus through a system of video surveillance cameras and license plate readers for vehicles entering the facilities.

Alberto Bellorín, Deputy Director of Technology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, opened the dialogue by commenting on the need to implement a security system with the best technology available, since they only had analog cameras which, although the solution they used scaled well, did not provide the necessary resolution.

It was then that UCV’s Technology Department decided to purchase a solution for the surveillance booths and designed a comprehensive video surveillance project, which began with fiber optics to the booths. “In this, the Compañía Anónima Nacional de Teléfonos de Venezuela, CANTV, offered us personnel for the project, as well as a whole proposal, however it was out of our budget.” At that time, he says, they began to look for suppliers and the bidding process was opened, which led them to SupraBT.

The first step was the purchase and installation of the cameras, since the university already had all the other equipment and part of the infrastructure; “the university needed a flexible and open supplier to whom they could also entrust part of the data”, said Alberto Bellorín.

The project, which has taken about 3 years of work, began with a proof of concept, where some cameras were placed so that both the Information Technology and Communications Directorate (DTIC) and the Security Directorate could evaluate the benefits of the technology. Once the requirements were determined, we worked hand in hand with UCV’s multidisciplinary team to determine a project that could grow in phases, allowing the university to obtain concrete results within the available budgets, says Luis Mariano Aranguren, Director & CTS of SupraBT. “This project has involved not only technology, but also the adaptation of processes and trained personnel. It is a major challenge, since it involves not only safeguarding the physical integrity of the UCV community, but also the heritage of humanity declared by UNESCO in 2001”, said Aranguren.

System Integration

For the University’s video security system, Axis Communications P33 Series, PTZ P55 Series, and ML11 Series 3-megapixel cameras were selected, which allow greater coverage of the area to be monitored and therefore greater detail. Axis infrared illuminators were also used, which are configured to illuminate in the absence of light over wide areas of the scene covered by the camera, allowing monitoring even in total darkness.

In order to maintain an infrastructure on par with the UCV’s requirements, the need arose to use outdoor cameras that could also withstand vandalism. In this sense, Aranguren points out that Axis network cameras are 100% digital and transport their data via IP networks, which makes video transport over the network more flexible. In addition, he adds, Axis video processors provide the ability to monitor video captured at 30 frames per second in greater detail.

The software used was IPronet & IPronet ANPR, on an Oracle SUN X2270 server; and VMWare Enterprise Plus virtualization. IPronet software allows advanced management of the security platform, including parameterization of access profiles, multi-profile motion detection per camera, H.264 compression, scripting, and the flexibility of being able to work with its SDK (Software Development Kit) to expand functionalities. “At the beginning of the implementation, in 2010, there were difficulties with the software, especially the licensing of the machines due to key matching problems, and later there were differences with the cameras; but everything was solved, and today we have a robust and scalable surveillance solution,” says Bellorín.

Better visualization of accesses

“The difference from before and after the installation was from heaven to earth”, Bellorin comments. The process was quick in terms of start-up, however “the surveillance issue is a sensitive topic, because many people argue that they feel invaded, and even went so far as to pick at the facilities several times”. This led the Directorate of Technology to run all the cabling through underground ducts that will have concrete poured over them. He also adds that they are completing the implementation of the license plate readers since several poles through which this wiring passes have been broken.

Among the benefits are the ability to better document what happens at the checkpoints, as well as the detection of license plates, which allows monitoring the access of automobiles to the University. “A great advantage is that the university authorities have VPN access, allowing them to view the accesses to the university, wherever they are, as well as to check the busiest areas”, Bellorín points out.

The project continues to progress and among its expansions is the installation of a new video security infrastructure in the University Library, which allows the use of cameras with the latest technology called Lightfinder, which allows color viewing in low light conditions without the use of infrared lighting.

In addition, webshots are being set up on the web page in order to have a minute-by-minute visualization of the entries; and the infrastructure will be improved by adding an alternate Data Center to keep a copy of all the data. Given the events that have been occurring, they are currently working on improving the entire area of the Provost’s Office, says Bellorín. Additionally, we are working with other areas of the university to expand the security platform.

The next step will be to work as a team with the CICPC, as the University is often used to leave stolen vehicles. In the medium term, the installation of a monitoring panel for firefighters is also contemplated. “There are many advantages and scalability of this solution”, says Bellorín, who stresses the importance of not being afraid and continuing to make changes, since the advantages outweigh the investment cost.

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