West Palm takes Security 101

Starting small, firm builds a wireless mesh surveillance network with the city
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Starting with just 13 cameras, the city police department here enlisted integration firm Security 101 to install a Firetide wireless mesh network. Adding incrementally, the city will soon have 25 cameras networked and has developed a CityCam program, similar to the Safe City initiative run by Target, that allows businesses to purchase cameras, have them installed, and network them into the city’s video management system.

"All the systems we’ve done,” said Rich Montalvo, a partner in Security 101, “they’ve started out with 10 or 12 cameras and quickly grown. Sunrise [Fla.] started out with two cameras.”
“That’s the designed feature” of the technology, said Firetide vice president of business development Michael Dillon, “the ability to grow in an incremental way.” West Palm Beach, for example, used an asset forfeiture to fund a small initial installation to get the ball rolling. Now, “they can go ahead and build the network as they get the money for it,” said Dillon. “They can attach their cameras to a node and bring it into the family of nodes there, and it can automatically become part of the network.”
“In all three of the most recent applications we’ve done [Ft. Lauderdale, Sunrise and West Palm Beach],” Montalvo noted, “they had a set dollar amount, whether it was through a grant program, or taking possession of seized property, so what they’ve done is pull from different budgets because they are smaller cities, and they even pull from the local community.” The CityCam program offers monitoring of installed cameras by the police department for any business or non-profit.
Montalvo advised other integrators looking to get into municipal wireless to particularly pay attention to the wireless site survey, a service Firetide offers integrators who don’t have experience with wireless environments. Also, he said gaining access to building tops and light poles for wireless nodes and cameras can be an arduous process.
“Our first question [in West Palm] was, ‘What infrastructure is there?’” said Montalvo. “And we basically had none, which was no surprise ... The only way we could do it without bringing fiber into every street pole in the area was to go wireless.” Bringing the cameras back to an aggregation point, Security 101 then funneled into the city’s fiber backbone and brought the data back to the police station’s monitoring center. SSN