The Valerus installation encompasses the entire property, which is located on the busy service road for the Bruckner Expressway, one of the major arteries through The Bronx. This includes both the four-story school building and the Greek Orthodox Church of Zoodohos Peghe next door. About 35 Vicon cameras have been installed throughout these buildings and around their exterior.
Unlike the older security system, which Greg describes as having focused more on protecting the buildings rather than the students, faculty and members of the community who use them, the new system does it all. Demos adds, “Before, we were focused more on entrances and exits, but our new system has expanded coverage to monitor corridors, the gym, the cafeteria and all publicly accessible areas.”
ITsavvy installed the Valerus Applications Server in the same server room that already supports the school’s main data network. All other floors had IDFs (intermediate distribution frames) in place, into which ITsavvy installed its own switching equipment to control the camera system, keeping it separate from the data network. The two networks can talk to each other, which is required when viewing cameras through the Valerus web-based thin client.
The valerus user interface is excellent.It’s simple to use but very advanced. Someone who isn’t technically savvy can easily navigate through it.
Demos Lorentzos, School Board President, The Greek American Institute.
Greg says that one of the features he likes best about Valerus is that he can establish separate views and tours for each user. He explains, “The school secretary is more interested in looking at the school cameras, while the church secretary wants to see what’s happening at the church. Depending on who logs in, the system displays the appropriate views and tours.”
As a system administrator, both Demos and the school’s head of IT have made use of the system’s web-based interface to log in and check cameras from home, and Demos describes the user interface as excellent. “It’s simple to use but it is very advanced. Someone who isn’t technically savvy can easily navigate through it.”
Demos has been particularly pleased with how easy it is to search for recorded events. He says, “There are multiple ways of finding something, which I like, because every situation is different. One of the best features is being able to go back to the same point in time with multiple cameras and synchronize their playback. You can see something happening from different angles all at once. That can be very helpful.”
A high-resolution camera provides school administrators with a clear view of the lobby.
Just as cameras can make or break a system, so can the quality of service and support. Demos gives both ITsavvy and Vicon “five stars across the board.” In working with ITsavvy, he says, “I may be School Board President, but that’s a voluntary position. I’m an engineer by profession. I deal with construction all the time. I have a good understanding of people who know what they’re doing, and Greg has all those qualities. We’ve purchased products from ITsavvy before, but this was the first time we’ve used their services. We’ll definitely use them again.”
He is also appreciative of the value Vicon support professionals brought to the project. “Vicon insisted that we do a walk-through before anything was implemented, so they could get a better idea of what was going on. They sent an engineer, the sales rep and anyone else who would be part of the process. It really made me feel comfortable with what we were going to have done.”
Vicon was also exceptionally accommodating when Demo decided, after the project was completed, that he would prefer IR cameras in a few locations where they had not originally been specified. Greg says, “Vicon provided a full refund on the non-IR cameras and sold him five IR cameras for just the cost difference. I’ve been in business a long time and that’s pretty unique – to swap out cameras like that without any restocking fee or anything.”
The Valerus software gets rid of any distortion from the fisheye lens (of the Vicon 360) camera and lets you view the camera in multiple ways. Out of all Cameras, those are a home run.
Demos Lorentzos, School Board President , the Greek Ameracan Institute.
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