Samsung Video Surveillance Solutions Keep a Watchful Eye Over Houston’s Premier Entertainment Area

The revitalization of a 570,000-square-foot mixed-use center in downtown Houston, Texas, known as GreenStreet, is transforming downtown into a new destination. The property’s renaissance began shortly after Midway and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, which is co-owned by Magic Johnson, acquired the property in August 2012.

The new owners’ goal was to create an inviting, pedestrian-oriented space with a linear park in the center corridor, a lawn with a stage area for live events, water features and patio seating. The project is nearing completion and when renovations are finished, GreenStreet will provide a dynamic green space in an urban setting with a variety of eateries, entertainment and shopping venues. Intended as a destination for both work and play, GreenStreet also offers high-end office space, anchored by the regional headquarters of NRG Energy, Inc.

The large crowds that regularly flock to the GreenStreetarea for a variety of events, or to the nearby George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, call for heightened security measures. However, a main challenge GreenStreet faced was based on the sheer size of the multi-site property, which spans four city blocks. Of particular concern was the need to balance a high level of security while maintaining an open and inviting environment that accommodates numerous businesses, delivery drivers, service providers and others who need open access to the property.

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Prior to renovations, GreenStreet’s surveillance system consisted of limited cameras and DVRs without any system management capabilities. In addition to performance issues, the system also lacked sufficient coverage, which drained productivity as security personnel were called upon to staff delivery bays to manually open and close bay doors for vendors, delivery drivers and others as needed. With an eye towards improving both security and efficiency, the property’s owners decided it was time for a system upgrade.

Working with Houston-based Today’s Integration Inc., GreenStreet evaluated offerings from a number of vendors before selecting Samsung Techwin as its video surveillance solutions provider. According to Howard Manson, CEO of Today’s Integration, the decision was based on the quality, functionality, versatility and expandability of Samsung’s products.

For this installation, Today’s Integration designed an advanced video surveillance solution built on Samsung Security Manager (SSM) video management software. The system allows GreenStreet’s security staff to monitor live and recorded video, control PTZ cameras and communicate via two-way audio from a central command center. The system employs multiple Samsung 5080R IP dome cameras, SNP-5200H PTZ dome cameras and 6084R fixed cameras. The system’s NVRs are located in a server room and are connected directly to cameras for recording and to SSM for video playback. Video is transmitted across GreenStreet’s network via hybrid fiber, connecting the multi-site buildings to distribution switches, which also provide PoE to the Samsung cameras also implemented by Today’s Integration, Inc. providing a turn-key solution.

Today’s Integration also saw an opportunity to provide added value using equipment features that are sometimes overlooked. “We have found many times, security, access and video systems are installed without taking full advantage of the resources and abilities they offer. Cameras have built-in relays, audio inputs and outputs, NVR/DVRs have relay controls, and access systems have relay controls. All of these elements now have even more features with IP connectivity. We seldom see installations that use these abilities to deliver value and productivity to the customer,” Manson explained.

For the Greenstreet installation, Today’s Integration used SSM as the foundation of a solution deployed specifically to eliminate the inefficient process of physically opening bay doors by installing dome cameras inside and outside the bay doors with intercom boxes on the exterior. Using the cameras’ relay outputs and inputs, Today’s Integration designed controls that remotely open and close the large bay doors.

Now when vendors, contractors or service providers arrive at the bay doors, they press the intercom’s call button to contact GreenStreet’s security staff at the control center. Simultaneously, a live video feed pops up on-screen in the security command center, allowing staff to see and communicate with the individual at the door. Through SSM, GreenStreet’s security personnel can also enter log notes to maintain detailed activity records.

“By allowing security staff to remotely view and interact with individuals requesting access to bay doors, SSM has saved GreenStreeta great deal of time and money, and has eased the burden placed on security staff. Because they no longer need to make the trek to physically open these doors, they can focus on ensuring safety and security at the property,” said Manson. “Bringing the systems together in such a way brings customer value they didn’t expect, and they welcome the additional return on their investment.”

The system has also proven effective in assisting the Houston Police Department, which requests video from time to time for resolving incidents, tracking vagrancy and other public safety tasks. Manson reports that the Samsung video surveillance solution is easily scalable, allowing more cameras and NVRs to be added as GreenStreet continues to grow and expand.

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