California installs wireless surveillance
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 20, 2003
California Department of Transportation
The announcement last month that the California Department of Transportation
(Caltrans) is putting wireless technology on several San Francisco bridges
and tunnels for video surveillance may be just the beginning of a nationwide
trend for such security measures.
In partnership with several contractors, Caltrans is installing a multimillion-dollar
state-of-the-art wireless electronic surveillance system to enhance security.
The system, called the Bay Area Security Enhancement, is operational and
in the final phases of commissioning.
The secure system will enable state public safety agencies to monitor
bridges and tunnels for potential security problems using cameras manufactured
by San Jose, Calif.-based RVision LLC.
The system is more flexible and functional than previous systems, said
Dave Brown, a division manager with Royal Electric Co. Inc., one of the
contractors working on the system.
For Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Proxim Inc., which supplied the wireless
technology, security and surveillance has become a more prominent segment
of its market since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, said Jeff Orr,
product marketing manager for the company's wide-area network division.
Until the Caltrans installation, most wireless applications were used
on government and military bases for perimeter surveillance.
"At this point a lot of applications have been military applications,"
he said. "In terms of the state-funded level, Caltrans has been pretty early."
In regard to the advantages of wireless technology, Orr said that the
cost is lower than laying down new fiber and the amount of time to deploy
the system is shorter. In addition, wireless transmission speeds are much
higher — 20 megabits/sec to 60 megabits/sec as opposed to 1.4 megabits/sec
for a T1 line, he added.
Also, wireless equipment is purchased outright, whereas telecommunications
companies charge a fee for use of their fiber lines, he said.
Wireless also permits flexibility in moving the technology from one
location to another rather than rewiring a system. That could be done in
a matter of hours instead of weeks or months, he said.