Thanks to technology provided by Motorola Solutions Inc. (www.motorolasolutions.com), ADT Commercial Security (www.adt.com/commercial-security), and CIBER, Inc. (www.ciber.com), residents of the City of Atlanta should be - or rather, will be - able to sleep better at night, knowing that crime is being deterred via a new network of integrated video surveillance cameras keeping an eye on things throughout the city.
The original idea for the system came about three years ago, when the Atlanta Police Department (APD), the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), the City of Atlanta, and a variety of Atlanta businesses began talking about opportunities to add new integrated technology and upgrades to existing technology. Foremost among the ideas being discussed at the time was to create a “force multiplier” of communication among the police, city and businesses.
The team found that there were about 2,200 surveillance cameras in downtown Atlanta alone, most of which were owned by the private sector. All were separate, disparate and largely unconnected systems. If the systems could be connected the amount of crime prevention data would greatly increase. However, the other problem was a lack of analytical software.
“We wanted to create an integrated video surveillance platform into a single network, manage that system using analytical software, and feed it into a single center, monitored and controlled by the Atlanta Police Department,” explains Dave Wilkinson, president and CEO of the APF. “The team began looking for vendors to execute the plan, and selected Motorola, feeling that they could provide what we needed, in the most efficient way and at the best cost.”
The resulting solution became known as Operation Shield, which contains a number of elements, one key element of which relies on video surveillance technology to provide maximum wide area coverage advantages. To pull it off in a timely and effective way, the project was scheduled and implemented in two phases.
Motorola Solutions Inc. and ADT Commercial Security have completed the implementation of the first phase of the project: upgrading the city’s existing cameras from analog to digital, and from leased line to wireless backhaul. ADT Government Services Division managed the installation of the wireless network and pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) video cameras in the downtown Atlanta Metro area.
Phase I also involved the build out of a state-of-the-art, best-in-class Video Integration Center (VIC). The VIC was designed to integrate both public and private sector cameras - increasing coverage capabilities substantially - into a unified command center at the city’s E911 Center. The VIC opened in early Fall 2011.
In November 2011, APD signed a contract with Motorola to begin Phase Two, which is designed to integrate all public and private surveillance camera systems into one common operational environment in the VIC. Public cameras include those located in the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), cameras at local universities, and those located at traffic intersections.
Motorola’s Global Services Organization will work with ADT Commercial Security and CIBER, Inc. on this phase. Motorola and ADT Commercial developed an approach to integrate all of the public and private surveillance systems into one common operational view, allowing city-wide compatibility. The integrated video surveillance system will also lay the groundwork for future enhancements, including the ability to stream live video to first responders, adding a critical mobile component to the mix.
In Phase II, Motorola Global Services will be integrating CIBER’s CIBERSecure technology. CIBERSecure is a command and control solution that combines security technologies, sensor data, video data, operational applications, crisis management, first responder systems, and network communication systems, to apply agency response policies and best practices for complete real-time situational awareness and response. In the Atlanta deployment, CIBERSecure will combine current and planned video camera systems in the city into a single Command and Control display at the E911 VIC.
Another part of Phase II involves providing the APD with the ability to utilize the integrated public and private video systems with computer-aided dispatch (CAD), creating an integrated suite of emergency dispatch applications that allow call takers and dispatchers to manage incident information more efficiently. “This involves adding analytical components to the system,” explains Wilkinson. “Right now, we are completing the CAD integration. When a 911 call comes in, the caller’s address is automatically displayed. With the CAD integration, when a call comes in, an alarm goes off in the VIC, and the four closest cameras to the caller’s address will pop up on a screen. The same thing happens if a bank alarm or store alarm goes off.”
Results and Benefits
“Ensuring a safe environment to live, work and play is a top priority for the City of Atlanta,” said Michael Dogan, interim CIO for the City of Atlanta. “We are very encouraged by Motorola Solutions’ design and implementation of an integrated surveillance system to provide the Atlanta Police Department with improved tools to fight crime efficiently and economically,” added Dogan.
When the project is completed, APD will have the ability to observe incidents as they happen, identify suspicious activity and perpetrators, and deploy law enforcement personnel more efficiently. The integrated surveillance system will help the APD make informed decisions more quickly, based on information gleaned through the “eyes” of the cameras, and before first responders arrive on the scene. The APD will also be able to use archived video taken by the surveillance system as a forensics tool for future investigative purposes.
“The system will also be a significant crime deterrent,” adds Wilkinson. “Once we publicize the wireless camera network, we expect crime to go down, because criminals know that they are going to be watched.”