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July 5, 2023


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Case study

Upgraded VMS used for campus surveillance and emergency response at University of Vermont

The University of Vermont has transitioned to Qognify’s video management system (VMS) aimed at improving how the university Police Dispatch team manages real-time emergency events, as well post-incident investigation and daily on-campus surveillance.

CCTV-VideoSurveillance-University-23The university has an extensive and expanding CCTV camera network positioned in and around the buildings and grounds owned or controlled by the university for its safety and security operations. This infrastructure is relied upon by the Police Dispatch Team – a group of on-site officers who monitor live camera feeds, coordinate the response to an incident and use footage to conduct investigations.

The university initially used Qognify’s open-platform IP video surveillance solution, NiceVision, before migrating to VisionHub in 2017, with its estate reportedly having almost 500 cameras (predominantly IP cameras from AXIS) and CBORD CS access control system integrated, with cameras mapped to entry and exit points around the campus.

The university opted for an on-premise deployment, transferring UVM’s entire camera estate onto Qognify VMS.

Improving police dispatch response

During the rollout it was vital, according to Qognify, that the duties of the Police Dispatch team would be uninterrupted.

Harlan Howard, Equipment Technician at the University of Vermont’s CATcard Service Center, states: “The university is required by the police to keep 30-days of recorded camera footage so that they can review it if an incident is reported. Together with Qognify we took the decision to run VisionHub and QVMS side by during the deployment. The transition took place over 60 days and was very smooth. In fact, throughout the process the Police Dispatch team was already using Qognify VMS as its sole interface for accessing video.”

A benefit for the Police Dispatch team, believes Qognify, was that its VMS is able to help create and conduct ‘virtual’ patrols. A route around the campus is designed and the relevant cameras are selected. Live feeds from these cameras are said to then automatically cycled and displayed on one of the monitors. Harlan comments: “The feedback we have from the police is that this is one of their favorite features of Qognify VMS.” He adds: “In essence, this proactive monitoring has given them an extra patrol, which has resulted in them being able to catch more people in the act.”

Flexibility for future growth of the video surveillance network

Qognify-VermontUniversity-23In addition to the improvements for the Police Dispatch team, the new system is also said to make it easier for UVM’s CATcard Service Center to manage its expanding camera network. “It is now a much more streamlined process,” says Harlan. “It may take half an hour to physically install a camera, but it is the work of a few minutes to add it to the network via Qognify VMS.”

This speed of install and camera management has helped the university as it grows the number of cameras in use around the campus, such as for the university’s Fleming Museum of Art, housing Vermont’s collection of art and anthropological artifacts. During the pandemic the previous VMS for the museum was said to have enabled administrative staff to monitor live camera feeds remotely. Now, with its doors open to visitors, the number of cameras has reportedly increased to more than 30, and the live monitoring through the newest VMS helps ‘provide peace of mind’ to exhibiting artists that their work is being kept safe.

Cameras are also being used to monitor transaction points at unattended dining facilities around the campus, where students can purchase food using their CATcard (identification and debit card), connected to the network and managed by Qognify.

Looking to the near future, the university is looking to take advantage of a Homeland Security Grant to increase and improve camera coverage across the campus.

“The positive experience of the Police Dispatch team in using Qognify VMS is driving the initiative to expand our surveillance operations. They recognise that more cameras integrated into the system will lead to them dealing with more incidents quicker and more effectively”.

Harlan concludes: “For us in the CATcard Service Center, Qognify VMS means we can provide better support to the police and be far more efficient in how we manage and maintain our core security systems.”


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