Pro-Tec helps create ‘ring of protection’ in Minneapolis

Independent integrator provides standard Milestone system to cities, government entities all around Minneapolis
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS—A growing number of cities and some government agencies in the Minneapolis region have compatible Milestone systems that “with the flip of a switch” will enable them to share video and collaborate. This so-called “ring of protection,” was the initiative of Pro-Tec Design, a PSA Security integrator based here. 

Tim Ferrian, Pro-Tec’s director of sales & marketing took a “bottom up” approach to creating the ring of protection.

About four years ago, Ferrian heard about project spearheaded by LOGIS, (Local Government Information Systems), a provider of hosted services and a hub for local Minnesota government entities to do cooperative purchasing of technology.

LOGIS oversaw the installation of fiber infrastructure to 50 or 60 different government agencies, cities and critical infrastructure facilities. Ferrian saw that these entities “had a prime opportunity, with this infrastructure already in place, to [collaborate on security and share video surveillance, when necessary.]”

Ferrian attended a LOGIS meeting. “I sat down with the IT directors of 60 different organizations and talked about IP video.” He expected to get calls from all of those IT directors, but he didn’t get one call. So, he decided to pursue the idea on his own, selling systems, one at a time, to each individual organization.

Fast forward to 2014, about “a dozen cities, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Department of Economic Development have … standard Milestone Systems platforms paired with Axis cameras.” In addition, there are other cities and government groups, installed by a different integrator, that have Milestone systems.

The entities are not actively sharing video yet. “The status is that they are now having the conversation about how the Department of Transportation will share videos with cities. And the city-to-city conversation is just starting to happen.”

Ferrian brought the “ring of protection idea to Milestone and “now we are seeing this as a new standard for cities and counties to share video across jurisdictions to create situational awareness of events. It is also becoming standard for the private sector willing to share their video with the agencies,” David King, Milestone’s business development manager, city surveillance, transportation and critical infrastructure, Americas, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

Milestone engineers assisted Pro-Tec in the project by giving “insight into how Milestone VMS would react to this type of environment and installation, and we could help inform on best practices,” King said.

In addition, Milestone’s product development team developed “products and features that are specific to this type of deployment.”  Because of those conversations with Pro-Tec’s customers, “we released Milestone Federated Architecture, Milestone Interconnect and Video Push, which works with our Milestone Mobile client, which allows agencies to share video streams and information easily—both ways—and in a controlled environment.

Situational awareness between other city and state entities is now a global requirement that Milestone is seeing in new projects, King said. “With our open platform enabling things, we are integrating in partnerships with technologies like GIS and geospatial mapping; gunshot detection; 911 integration; RSS and Twitter feeds; and helicopter live video feeds.”
 
Ferrian said this “ring of protection” would have been extremely useful during major events, such as when the Republican National Convention was held in St. Paul or when the I35W bridge collapsed. He’s proud that Pro-Tec has helped get the systems in place because “it’s just a matter of time before another incident,” Ferrian said.