Page 81 - Security Today, January/February 2021
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Department of Education for more than 15 years through our onsite guard service. That is why we knew the design, location, assets and vulnerabilities of various educational establishments. This was a great advantage when executing the project,” said Yasel Morales, technology director at Genesis.
In October 2018, the installation of cam- eras and other devices began in all schools. The video system mission control was built inside the Genesis Central Station, located in the municipality of Carolina (in the north- east region of the island). Video data from all schools is returned to Central Station, where it is managed with the Milestone Systems XProtect Corporate open platform VMS.
Leveraging the power of the open platform, Milestone XProtect VMS supports more than 8,500 security and surveillance devices, and more than 450 software integrations from more than 3,500 technology partners. Alli-
San Juan,” Morales said.
As part of the project, approximately
10,000 Uniview DH-Vision 4-megapixel cameras were installed in 856 schools (an average of 12 cameras per campus). Audio speakers from Axis Communications and a range of Optex sensors also were integrated. The combination of these technologies made it possible for every school to have an anti- intrusions system with their own alerts feed- ing back to the Central Station.
Each campus has a Seneca brand server with the XProtect Express+ software installed. This communicates with the cor- porate version at the Central Station through Milestone InterconnectTM, a licensing plat- form that opens a communication channel between different hardware that normally cannot communicate with each other.
Milestone Interconnect connects remote sites for a low-cost video surveillance solu- tion. It is the ideal surveillance for a wide variety of industries that want an inexpen- sive way to get centralized supervision of multiple locations spread across one region.
With Milestone Interconnect, engineers and managers can easily monitor critical and remote areas from one central location. This means faster intrusion management because operators in the central system can access the video and receive alarms from remote con- nected sites. This reduces the need to have local security staff, maintenance, operation and other costs, including visits onsite.
Genesis created virtual gates using cam- eras that, in addition to protecting school spaces, also ensure the safety of substations and solar panels, which are considered important assets for institutions. If someone crosses the virtual gate, an alert is generated locally and passed to the Central Station through Interconnect. Operators then make a visual confirmation and, if applicable, the emergency protocol is activated.
“The emergency protocol is to contact the Security Commissioner and the Department of Operations. For this liaison, we internally designate an inspector. Once informed, they activate the security officers at the sites, who are trained to give quick responses and inform the police,” said Morales.
Thanks to the management software, Genesis can easily find any recording of the schools and send it to the Security Commis- sioner, who can also receive the alerts direct- ly through an application on his mobile phone. It should be noted that all personnel handling the system, both operators and technicians, have Milestone Systems certifi- cations, which they obtained on the manu- facturer's website. González explained that the directors and residents of the schools may contact the Central Station if they wish to report any suspicious activity within a school after regular hours.
“If for any reason a school principal requires a recording, he must contact us, and we request the information from the Genesis
operations center. This protocol is designed to respect the right to be in a place without feeling guarded at all times, as stipulated in the public policy of Puerto Rico. In total, this system directly benefits almost 400,000 peo- ple,” González said.
Increased Security at a Lower Cost
According to the Security Commissioner, since the first camera was installed, they went from two or three intrusions per day to one or zero. Even in October 2018, they had no record of intrusions. Genesis Security Services, Inc. confirmed that since the sys- tem has been operational, there has been a 97% reduction in school intrusions.
Video technology has helped dispel prob- lems such as theft of property by employees and, more importantly, has helped reduce rates of physical assault and bullying among students. These results have helped build trust among Puerto Rican families when they enroll their children in schools.
“The system provides agility and preci- sion. It is more efficient and immediate than communicating with a guard who has to enter a facility to verify what is happening. It's great working with a system that has vis- ibility 24/7 in schools,” González said.
On the other hand, thanks to this project it was possible to reduce the cost of security in schools using technology, one of the main objectives of the Department of Education at the beginning.
“We spent about $25 million annually cov- ering just 250 schools with the guard system, and we had almost 600 schools left unattend- ed. This project gave us the possibility of cov- ering 100% of the public schools in Puerto Rico with the same budget,” González said.
Finally, it is important to note that many of these schools are located in vulnerable places on the island, so the system is also helping the Police and the Prosecutor's Office to resolve cases that occurred around the educational facilities, and in general to contribute with the welfare of the community.
Future Projects
On behalf of the Department of Education, the Puerto Rican Government is seeking ways to integrate this type of video analytics system with software programs and databas- es of organizations who advocate for sexual assault victims.
“In the future we want to have a system that is capable of identifying if a sex offender crosses the perimeter in school zones so that we can warn in time,” said González.
On the Genesis side, Morales said that the next step with this project will be to start developing video analytics for the VMS, not only to give perimeter security but also sta- tistics such as counting people and vehicles. They also plan on integrating access control systems into all schools.
Barbara Rizzatti is the Americas Communi- cations Manager at Milestone Systems.
ance partners include providers of network video cameras, cloud solutions, DVRs and NVRs, servers and storage equipment, alarm and detection systems, video analytics, GPS technology, laser and radar scanners, boxes of emergency calls and more.
“At the Central Station we have fifteen workstations, with the same number of oper- ators per shift. There we have a videowall of ten monitors distributed between the sta- tions. Likewise, we have two dispatch centers that serve as backup: one in the municipality of Yauco and the other in the municipality of

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