Security Integrator Finds High-Performance, High-Density Video Upgrade Solution For Eastland Shopping Center

PMT Security Systems was faced with a difficult problem for a large shopping center: how to find a state-of-the-art video monitoring and analytics system that would fit their budget and their data center. The old system monitored major public areas with 300 low-resolution cameras and kept the data for two weeks, but the customer wanted an entirely different level of functionality.

“They wanted to cover more areas and have much higher-resolution images to make identification of activities and individuals much more specific and reliable,” explains Darren Taylor, managing director at PMT Security Systems. “And they wanted to roll out newer technology with the capability of turning security images into a tool for making better business decisions for Eastland and its tenants.”

Expanded Capabilities Create Crisis

The new system needed about 600 cameras to start, higher resolution, 90-day retention, and recognition, tracking and analysis software. Everything had to fit into the customer’s budget and data center.

“The extra resolution, additional cameras, and longer retention were essential to giving the analytics software the data to provide an additional layer of business intelligence,” explains Daniel McMahon, project manager at PMT, including general demographic information for customers--age and gender—as well as what displays attract them and how long they stop.

“It’s a potentially powerful tool for helping retailers do a better job of serving their customers, but it takes a lot of data to make it work. It meant upgrading from relatively simple video appliances to a full-blown enterprise-scale network and storage system.”

“We looked at solutions from literally everybody in the storage and surveillance market,” adds Jack Caponnetto, operations manager at PMT. “And we eventually found a solution set combining technology from several different vendors that solved all the problems neatly and worked together seamlessly.”

Axis, Milestone, Quantum Solution Provides the Answer

PMT came to Anixter, the leading global provider of security products, seeking a solution that met the performance and site requirements of Eastland Shopping Center: a high-resolution, scalable solution that would meet the growth required as Eastland completed phase 1 of redevelopment and continually added cameras through phase 2 and 3 in the coming years. This solution was the combination of Axis Communications cameras, Milestone VMS, and Quantum storage.

“The very best solution that we found for the storage side of our solutions was Quantum’s StorNext software and QXS-5600 disk,” says McMahon. “The StorNext M440 appliance is easy to install and maintain. And its StorNext software includes a high-performance file system specifically designed for video applications, so it writes data over many parallel streams for maximum performance. The QXS disk provides very high-streaming performance and industry-leading density.”

“With the StorNext solution, we were able to design a system that packed a full petabyte of capacity into only eight rack units. It gave us a combination of cost savings and simplified installation that let us pull the schedule in and give our customer more of what they wanted much faster,” says Caponnetto.

In the new system, data is streamed from 600 Axis IP cameras to the QXS storage through StorNext under the control of Milestone VMS. Data is written to the RetailNext server for analysis and to portable storage for retention or export.

“We have implemented the system. It is up and running, and it has been flawless,” says Taylor.

Collaboration Delivers Performance, Reliability, and Value

Just as important as the individual pieces is the fact that they work together easily in an open architecture, and additional storage can be added easily, including a tape archive, as more data is created.

McMahon explains, “the security industry is undergoing a real transition—moving from small, lower-res appliances to much higher value-added solutions that integrate powerful specialized storage technology. StorNext helped make that transition easy for our customers—and for us.”

Collaboration between suppliers was a key to success, McMahon explains “We had cooperation from all the partners during the whole process. Once the system was up and running, it took almost no admin time at all—that is incredibly important for retail settings, which typically have limited IT resources.

“We have been so happy with this solution that we have already proposed it to several more customers. We plan to make it the standard solution that we recommend.”