Casinos and ConnectionsIT

Integrator defies CW and installs IP for gaming, including gaming's 'largest IP camera installation'
Thursday, June 4, 2009

SANTA ROSA, Calif.—It’s your classic IT story. “We started out in our garage quite a few years ago, building computers and working in the telecom space,” said Brody Carlson, president of ConnectionsIT. But this isn’t the Apple Computers story, and it isn’t your classic security integrator creation myth.

However, ConnectionsIT has leveraged its networking pedigree to become a player in the gaming vertical, in the last month completing IP surveillance systems for the Black Bart Casino in Mendicino County, Calif., and the Spirit River, in Tulsa, Okla. The latter has roughly 1,400 IP cameras, an installation ConnectionsIT is calling “the largest installation of IP cameras at any casino in the world.”

Nor do industry commentators yet challenge this claim. A query to Pelco resulted in an admission that, if you’re talking pure IP cameras, it’s larger than anything they know about (though Pelco notes it has a casino with 5,100 cameras backed by IP encoders running on an Endura system). An Axis representative hedged his bets by saying, “1,400 is, if not the largest, definitely among the largest.”

And those cameras create a lot of data. River Spirit sports 1.4 petabytes of storage.

Carlson credits recent advances in camera and compression technology with opening up the casino market. “There’s a shift in the industry going on right now,” he said. “It’s a market with a very traditional mindset, but I think with H.264 and megapixel images, people are seeing the image quality they’re looking for.”

After visiting ISC West this year, Carlson said he’s confident gaming will continue to move IP:  “There are a bunch more cameras coming out on the market that are just going to—if people can grasp the concept—are just going to explode in the casino market. You can do all the positions at the table with one camera.”

Currently, surveillance is about 60 percent of ConnectionsIT’s revenue, with much of the rest coming from managed IT services. The company has 40 employees and offices here, as well as in Nevada and Oklahoma. Carlson said he expects to open new offices near the Great Lakes and in Southern California later this year.