Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) is the second largest school district in Ohio with 107 schools serving approximately 39,125 students from diverse multi-racial and multi-cultural backgrounds. The District is committed to serving as a model of innovation for the state of Ohio, including leveraging technology to deliver a safe and orderly environment for students and staff.
The Division of Safety and Security, headed by Chief Lester Fultz, is responsible for overseeing the various security measures that have been implemented throughout the school district, including visitor management, a student ID program and a dedicated police unit, among others. Paramount to the safety and security operation is the video surveillance system with cameras installed in every school and administrative facility. The more than 5100 surveillance cameras, of mixed brands and age, help the District in deterring or preventing vandalism and violence and in keeping schools safer by monitoring hallways, cafeterias, entrances and exits, identifying issues and enabling post-incident examination of any incidents.
“We have some pretty high expectations from the school district relative to the video surveillance operation,” said Chief Fultz. “We need the reliability that the system is working and we need the assurance that we can provide the information the school district is looking for.”
The comprehensive surveillance system is well positioned to gather information but the potential for camera and device outages is a concern given the geographic size of the system and the number of cameras deployed. Added to that is the manpower required to monitor the video and the status of the equipment. Even a single camera failing to record could have damaging consequences.
To ensure system reliability, the District employs Viakoo’s advanced diagnostics and analytics solution. The automated data verification system assesses each individual surveillance data stream, detects and anticipates interruptions or delays that can result in a loss of video, and alerts Safety and Security personnel with actionable information on how to quickly solve the problem. Authorized personnel can quickly and easily access information via the Viakoo dashboard which is available to authorized personnel from any PC or the Viakoo mobile app. Combined with Viakoo’s experienced technical support team, the Division of Safety and Security has all the resources they need to effectively detect, diagnose and solve surveillance system issues from anywhere, 24/7.
“Every one of our camera video streams is continuously checked by the Viakoo software which enables us to proactively verify each camera and server is working properly without dedicating the resources of an entire department,” adds Chief Fultz. “We need only two people to maintain the system and if a problem is identified it can be repaired or fixed before it becomes an issue. Simply put, the problem of missing video is no longer a problem with the Viakoo solution.”
Working alongside Chief Lester Fultz is Sergeant Jay Bell who is the primary user who interacts with the Viakoo solution on a daily basis. Sergeant Bell adds, “Having the ability to use one system to access information about any video stream, camera device, and server and know what’s going on is really efficient and easy.”
Some of the information the Viakoo solution provides to Sergeant Bell includes potential hard drive issues, how efficient a server is running and whether or not it needs a reboot, whether or not the camera stream is recording, and much more. Prior to implementation of the Viakoo solution, operators would often not be aware of camera or server malfunctions unless they specifically accessed a device and learned it was not operating. Viakoo resolved this potential liability and added further efficiency by seamlessly integrating with the existing system and providing centralized system verification on a unified dashboard.
Accessing video or system information from the dashboard is relatively simple and has allowed more effective allocation of resources where and when they are needed.
“Viakoo’s solution is incredibly efficient and ultimately saves us precious time and money,” continued Chief Fultz.
The diagnostic data is updated by the Viakoo platform every 20 minutes to keep information current. The solution is specific to the schools’ networked surveillance system and does not touch, view or store any actual video content, eliminating any concerns or issues of privacy or security/hacking exposure. For added security, Viakoo requires outbound-only connections and all transmission data is encrypted.
To speed-up problem resolution, Team Viakoo experts can provide additional, live support. In one instance Chief Fultz was contacted on a weekend and advised that a server was filling up for no apparent reason and was quickly running low on space. The timely alert allowed maintenance to fix the problem before any valuable information was lost.
Chief Fultz concluded, “We continue to renew our contract with Viakoo because of the convenience and efficiency factors their solution delivers, as well as the value it provides to the school district and to this department. In today’s climate, no school should be without this kind of protection.”