Addressing The Challenges

Addressing The Challenges

Dealer puts emphasis on providing safety measure on large metro university campuses

Today, university campus applications offer many challenges for a surveillance dealer with student and faculty safety being paramount. Add in the complexities of an urban setting, integral public parks and student housing, and no barriers separating students from the greater community. Cities can be truly a part of the massive metropolitan campus. Hence, this must become part of the design dynamic for dealers.

When addressing the challenges of designing video surveillance for a large metropolitan campus the highest priority for campus security is to protect people, property, and structures, as well as to thwart crime and provide situational awareness. These challenges couple municipal and educational concerns to create opportunities to provide innovative solutions to address the challenges.

Dahua’s 4-Star dealer partner, Custom Video Security of Los Angeles has done their fair share of educational surveillance design and consulting. Whether a local elementary or high school to a large campus, the lessons learned can provide additional design insights to all industry verticals.

Take Custom Video Security’s end user—a large Midwest metropolitan university as an example.

“Our main challenge was quantity. The campus is so large that it takes many cameras to monitor the interior and exterior of the buildings,” said Raymond Shadman, president of Custom Video Security. “In order to blanket the campus, we needed cameras for multiple entrances, hallways, common areas, parking lots, security gates and cafeterias.”

Another challenge was transforming their system from analog to IP; a networked solution was sought to expand and completely overhaul security on the sprawling campus. The new installation would include both indoor and outdoor cameras for three-story student housing structures—along with a Conference Center, the university’s business and event hub.

In replacing and expanding the outdated analog system, the dealer needed to find a cost-effective solution that offered higher resolutions, the ability to scale, easier system and user management, and multiple camera options, such as PTZ, built-in microphones and PoE. In addition to cost, many universities have other priorities such as, warranty, payment and shipping terms, and technical support that needs to be considered.


Dealers with robust pre-planning activities can alleviate complications during the installation by providing product reviews with the customer, which outline the benefit of products even down to accessories such as brackets and mountings. This will ensure successful and efficient installation even when using inhouse campus IT and facilities staff as a costsaving measure.

Custom Video Security recommended equipment through a process using a camera design map, and it allows the end-user to align their expectation with the designer’s recommendations. This design map provides vital information to the end-user in terms of angles and pixel density coverage before they purchase or install equipment.

“Occasionally, end-users may not request a camera design,” Shadman said. “In these instances we typically use the camera’s posted horizontal field of view (HFOV) to meet the project’s requirements and we explain the advantages and disadvantages of using a wider- angle fixed-lens camera versus a vari-focal or motorized zoom option.”

Keeping all of the priorities of the university in mind, Custom Video Security worked with them in several ways, including letting them try out different models, helping design the system, and educating the educators on the best options for their campus. A vital goal of any successful large installation is to ensure your end-user understands and is satisfied with the solutions offered.


A wide variety of Dahua solutions were recommended to provide complete coverage of the campus, which was the prime objective of the university. For the parking lot solution, Dahua Ultra HD 12MP 360-degree panoramic fisheye cameras were used for increased situational awareness, covering a wide area in modest detail.

Additionally, the 1.3MP pinhole cameras were used in the parking lot inside gates to capture vital front license plate information from oncoming vehicles and provide positive vehicle identification.

Also deployed were Dahua’s 3MP PTZ dome cameras which include a built-in microphone which can pick up normal volume conversation from up to 30 feet away. In intersecting hallways, the 4MP indoor fisheye cameras were installed, and 3x/4x zoom mini PTZs were mounted on exterior soffits and walls.

Since cost was a high priority, using existing infrastructure whenever possible was another key goal of the design and implementation of this system. Many universities like to use their own IT and facilities personnel to do the installation which makes the design and camera choice even more important.

A professional VMS—a must. In evaluating the project, Shadman recommended Digital Surveillance System (DSS), a hardware-based Dahua VMS to optimize viewing and management of numerous cameras and NVRs on the network. Cameras are recording motion 24 hours a day. Adding DSS has effectively reduced the time spent managing each NVR/DVR and eliminated the complexity of running multiple apps and simplifying secure access for multiple users.

Technical support. All dealers need a manufacturer partner, like Dahua, with an active and committed technical support group to partner with the dealer and the end-users technical teams. Poor backend technical support can ruin good surveillance design. Training the enduser in the technology installed and being responsive when an issue arises can make all the difference.

It’s not over until it’s over. Dealers need to design a campus system that’s scalable. A well-designed system will encourage end-users to expand the system as benefits are realized.

In fact, in this example, the university has essentially doubled the number of cameras and storage capabilities for less than they invested in analog cameras just four years earlier. A planned second phase will use DSS to implement a 64-camera display on a video wall.


Large installations on a metropolitan campus can be a challenge but not an insurmountable one. Planning, training and communication with the end-user, setting the priorities and expectations of the equipment installed and taking a long-range customer approach can win the day.

This large metropolitan mid-west university’s top priority—safety was accomplished. Word is out that no matter where you go on campus, you are likely to be seen on camera. The university was able to increase the number of cameras and coverage for the entire property, resulting in a higher likelihood of identifying people or vehicles in any incident.

The strategies for succeeding in the education vertical are straightforward: focus on total cost of ownership, be flexible and creative in the surveillance design and set your educational end-users expectations. Class dismissed.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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