NY networks court video security

New York State Unified Court System

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The New York State Unified Court System has opted for a networked video system to provide surveillance for about 30 courthouses in New York City in a $230,000 deal that could be the precursor of a statewide installation.

The surveillance system, provided by Axis Communications Inc., will enable security people to monitor entrances and exits at the courthouses from a remote command center using CourtNet, the court system's multiple-gigabit, fiber-based enterprise network.

Personnel at each of the courthouses can also access their own court's cameras via Web browsers on their desktops.

Analog closed-circuit TV systems that currently provide surveillance at the courthouses are inadequate for the stepped-up security required in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world, according to Sheng Guo, chief technology officer in the court system's technology division. That would require all the courthouses' security stations to be staffed around the clock, seven days a week, he said, which isn't practical because of the cost and the demand on scarce personnel resources.

"With networked video, each location can be monitored from the command center, and people sent to a location only when they are needed," he said. "You can also build in motion sensors that can automatically trigger notifications to the appropriate people by e-mail, pager or cell phone."

Another advantage is that problems can be diagnosed remotely, because each camera acts like a node on the network, said John Recesso, business development manager for Axis Communications. Users also can develop custom scripts for a variety of applications, such as offsite video recording and archiving.

The system also employs a bandwidth "throttle control" that allows individual cameras to be stepped up to full-frame video rates only when necessary, he said.

The New York City installation should be up and running by the second half of June, Guo said. If the system works well, he added, the court system may try to expand it beyond the city as funds become available.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at [email protected]

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.


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