Port of West Sacramento upgrades video surveillance



Port of West Sacramento, Yolo County, California


It takes an intricate and well established security infrastructure to protect a port, even a small one such as the Port of West Sacramento. Following strict security regulations from the Department of Homeland Security and US Coast Guard, the port made the commitment to install a new video surveillance system featuring video management software from OnSSI.

At the Port of West Sacramento, cameras including Sony fixed cameras and PTZ models as well as FLIR thermal cameras, supply views throughout the port, and a video management software system from OnSSI provides a simplified, intuitive way to manage video feeds effectively.

Digital systems are still pretty expensive, and it takes foresight to understand that the investment is worth it. The city of West Sacramento is showing that a small city with a small port is willing to take on the challenge of installing a new system with an eye toward future growth. The system installer was World Telecom & Surveillance, Inc. (WT&S), a low-voltage contractor for 12 years, which has seen its business evolve into the surveillance field for the last eight years. Having witnessed the evolution of voice-over-IP in the telecom market, World Telecom was well equipped to oversee the Port of West Sacramento's transition to networked video. Bob Natoli of Intelligent Systems Marketing (ISM) was the local OnSSI manufacturer's representative firm involved in the Port of West Sacramento project.

Fiber optic and wireless transmission

The signals from cameras located throughout the port's premises are transmitted across fiber optic networks, including about 30,000 feet of new fiber installed by WT&S, and using wireless devices. There is fiber from each guard station to the server, a Dynamic Network Factory Security (DNF Security) server that is the video management engine. The server installed runs OnSSI's IP-based video surveillance management software.

Two DNF Security video monitoring workstations – one at each guard gate – run OnSSI's Ocularis Client Lite. The network is used solely for the video system; a separate network is used for the port's day-to-day business functions. Six-strand multimode fiber runs from the server to each network location. The use of fiber optic cables enables network signals to be transmitted for longer distances than Ethernet cabling. A significant upgrade in the fiber network was undertaken to accommodate the video network; the fiber upgrade will also likely find additional uses in the future as the port grows.

Flexible viewing options

During the original installation, OnSSI's legacy NetGuard EVS was being used as the client viewing software. Ocularis Client Lite was later installed after the project was complete. The Ocularis platform from OnSSI runs on standard IT servers and adheres to and supports recognized industry standards, including integration with a range of physical security and camera devices. Ocularis Client Lite provides a simplified, intuitive way to effectively manage video feeds and complex physical security systems. Ocularis also provides the power to investigate events using instant review and digital pan-tilt-zoom during live monitoring. Targets can be detected automatically using video motion detection by a nearby camera. Security officers can follow any moving targets operating PTZ cameras through Ocularis. Across the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel from the port, on remote sites, two mobile wireless surveillance trailers are located. These are used to view the opposite shore and access to the waterway. Offering views back at the physical facilities of the port, the cameras help to make sure no one is gaining unauthorized access. In case of a natural disaster or other emergency, the trailers could be redeployed to provide surveillance of other locations.

The port also has new wireless links that have been expanded into the city approximately two miles from the port. The signal is sent back to the port though the Firetide wireless mesh, this link allows the port security to watch the train traffic into the port. The port also uses a Talk-A-Phone emergency broadcast system, which is not integrated with the OnSSI system although the two are used together. For example, if video identifies an intruder, the Talk-A-Phone system can be used to tell them to exit the water space.

Protecting the perimeter

The system secures the perimeter against any trespassers and ensures the integrity of the fence line. The port is located along a main roadway in West Sacramento, where vehicle, foot and bike traffic are common. If there are fishermen along the waterway, security looks to make sure they maintain a position away from the port docks. Video feeds also help security officers look for any activity in the port that is out of the ordinary or involves a restricted area. They can view traffic patterns at the port, and work crews, contractors or vendors working inside the ports. Cameras view along the roadways of the port, along the docks, and the waterway leading to the port.

The OnSSI system is convenient and scalable. In the future as the port expands, having an OnSSI system allows for ease of growth. Instead of dealing with analog systems needing multiple network or digital video recorders, it's just a matter of licenses, and scalability is unlimited. Software upgrades from OnSSI also ensure that the system will be state-of-the-art even several years from now.

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