Virginia Highlands Community College

Located on a 100-acre campus atop a hill in southwestern Virginia, Virginia Highlands Community College has 3,000 students and nearly 300 staff. Although it offers beautiful scenery, the hill’s altitude makes the campus a prime target for lightening.

In addition to safety, Virginia Highlands Community College has used the system to enhance academic standards at the learning institution. To ensure there is no cheating or misbehavior going on during exams, they have given video surveillance access to the testingcenter manager who observes students undergoing testing from his office via the web client.

Issue:

Outdated and Unconsolidated Analog System

An outdated video surveillance system prone to outages during lightening storms frustrated administration and security officials who felt the existing security solution was not optimal if it could not be relied upon.

When it did function, the system – which was analog and “basically looked like a VCR unit” – only offered 20 days of storage for images, said VHCC Acting IT Coordinator Glen Johnson.

“We actually had three different systems due to the number of cameras and so the video wasn’t consolidated all in one place which made it cumbersome.”

As for that southwestern Virginia lightening, “The system was analog and it was all hard wired and so every time a storm hit us we were losing a camera or a DVR,” Johnson said.

When they did use the system to retrieve video, “It would take an hour to find a five minute segment of video,” says Johnson. “It was really a poor system.”

Solution:

Video Insight Software, Encoders for Existing Analog Cameras and Additional IP Cameras

Last Fall Johnson and campus administration began evaluating how to improve the video surveillance solution for their eight-building campus. Choosing Video Insight video surveillance software and adding a server, they retained 25 existing analog cameras by using encoders to transition them to digital and added 13 IP cameras.

“This system is phenomenal” said Johnson. “We can pull up incidents by time or camera and we get the images literally in seconds verses the hours it took to retrieve video with our old system.”

Johnson said they are just as impressed with the ability to burn images to a DVD or even print out images, a capability that was not an option on the previous system.

Their camera placement is the usual location for a college campus – parking lots, student eating areas, hallways, and building entrances and exits. In just the first six months of usage security has already asked Johnson several times for video evidence for suspect identification in campus vandalism incidents and even an assault.

“It’s so easy – the campus police investigators come to me and tell me a date and location and I’m able to easily retrieve the video and burn it on a DVD right there on the spot,” said Johnson.

In addition to safety, the college campus has used the system to enhance academic standards at the learning institution. To ensure there is no cheating or misbehavior going on during exams, they have given video surveillance access to their testing center manager who observes students undergoing testing from his office via the web client.

“We are very happy with the product and know we will be adding cameras and taking full advantage of what this awesome system can do to help us provide a safe learning environment for our students and employees,” said Johnson.

“The video surveillance system Video Insight has put in place has really had a positive impact on so many areas of the school,” said Johnson. “Plus, we don’t fear storms anymore! We had three really bad storms this past weekend and all cameras were operational the whole time and we didn’t miss a thing!”