Toshiba Video watches over Chicago High-Rise | Automation.com

Toshiba Video watches over Chicago High-Rise

Toshiba Video watches over Chicago High-Rise

November 9, 2011 - From the ground up, the 33-story, 498-unit high-rise at 1720 S Michigan Avenue in Chicago offers distinctive design and construction, both inside and out, which reach well beyond the predictable. Prominent height and unique angles make it as much an aesthetic statement as it is a place to live. Outside, the structure is forged in concrete and steel wrapped in glass. Inside, sophisticated and exceptionally livable designs, affording comfort and convenience, present a whole new approach to the concept of urban living.

To provide residents with a protected living environment, 1720 South Michigan Avenue has deployed a highly-scalable IP network video surveillance system that utilizes Toshiba IP cameras, SCS recording and management software, network video recorders and hybrid digital video recorders. Dbats, Inc., a Chicago-based video surveillance company and a Toshiba ProfitMAX™ dealer, installed the system.

"Toshiba made it possible to install a system that has progressively grown from a pilot deployment of 16 cameras supported by a single digital video recorder to 82 cameras today with two 23-channel NVRs and the original DVR, integrated seamlessly together with Toshiba SCS software," said Thomas F. Driscoll, CEO of Dbats, Inc. "We run all 82 cameras at 15 frames-per-second yet have the internal storage space on the NVRs to last more than a week at a time."

The condo board at 1720 first contacted Dbats three years ago to design a video surveillance system exclusively for the monitoring of the building's lobby, dog run and entrance hallway. Dbats carefully evaluated the stated needs of the board but found the original plan of only six cameras to be inadequate. Dbats recommended a more comprehensive 16-camera system that could cost-effectively be expanded as the condo board members came to recognize the value of IP video. A mix of Toshiba IK-WB15A and IK-WB21A IP cameras were strategically mounted in the targeted areas to feed a Toshiba XVS 16-channel digital video recorder equipped with 4-Terabyte internal storage, as well as features that include recording speeds up to 240 pictures per second, looping video outputs, and a DVD+RW standard.

The original 16-camera system kept a close eye on visitors coming and going from the building. In addition - and to the surprise of condo board members - it also served as a deterrent to a small number of dog owning tenants who had given their pets free rein of the hallways, resulting in damaged carpeting and walls. Those pet owners captured on video were fined $100 per incident.

When tenants complained to building management about vandalism to cars inside the building's parking garage, it prompted the installation of 24 more cameras. The challenge was to design a system with the ability to ensure evidence caught on camera was usable for police identification purposes, despite the problems inherent with parking garage security, especially bad lighting conditions.

"Parking garages are poorly lit. We experimented with several cameras before we found the Toshiba IK-WB16A had a high enough contrast ratio," said Driscoll. "Toshiba's rep was responsive to our needs, bringing out and testing a variety of their cameras inside the garage."

Once installed, the garage's system helped prosecute drivers who hit parked cars and then fled. It also was instrumental in the identification of a man who vandalized more than a dozen cars with a fire extinguisher. Along with the new cameras, Dbats built a security room near the front entrance to accommodate a rack for two Toshiba 32-channel NVRs, switching equipment, a PC and a desk.

Impressed by the effectiveness of the parking lot system, the condo board than asked Dbats to install cameras throughout the building's hallways for added tenant security. In addition, four Toshiba IK-WB16A cameras housed inside heated enclosures were mounted outside and angled so that the entire sidewalk could be captured day and night. At the doorman's desk sits a 42-inch LCD monitor to view upwards of 64 cameras at once.

Some tenants initially balked at the the system's cost. One, an attorney who approached the board to stop the expansion, later became an advocate when the outside cameras captured his car being struck by a vehicle that drove off. Cameras captured the license plate, leading to the identification of the driver and reimbursement for damages to the attorney.

According to Driscoll, integrating the hardware was made easier by Toshiba Surveillix SCS video management software, a complete administrative solution: "User-friendly does not begin to describe the SCS. It makes setting up and managing cameras simple, plus the search capabilities are second to none. I especially like the remote management feature that lets me manage the camera and motor the system 24/7."  

Driscoll also gives high marks to Toshiba support: "You're not a number with Tech Support; you're on a first name basis with highly trained professionals who know the equipment inside and out. Also, my local Toshiba reps are willing to bend over backwards to get the solutions I need. This high level of support, coupled with the quality of Toshiba equipment, makes it the only choice for large scale projects like 1720 South Michigan Avenue."

ABOUT TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., TAIS is comprised of four business units: Digital Products Division, Imaging Systems Division, Storage Device Division, and Telecommunication Systems Division. Together, these divisions provide mobile products and solutions, including industry leading portable computers; projectors; imaging products for the security, medical and manufacturing markets; storage products for automotive, computer and consumer electronics applications; and telephony equipment and associated applications.

TAIS provides sales, marketing and services for its wide range of information products in the United States and Latin America. TAIS is an independent operating company owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, which is a global leader in high technology and integrated manufacturing of electrical and electronic components, products and systems, as well as major infrastructure systems. Toshiba has more than 172,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of over US $54 billion (FY2005).

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