Westec goes IP in video central

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Friday, November 1, 2002

IRVINE, Calif. - Westec Interactive has wrapped up a $1 million technological upgrade to incorporate IP connectivity into its video monitoring center here and hired an industry veteran to oversee operations using the new technology.

Through the installation of Cisco routers and new Adtrans phone switches, communications between the central station and the 1,400 sites that it monitors are more secure and are more easily handled from the time the alarm is received throughout the viewing of the incident, said Cara Denecour, Westec's new director of the visual command center.

With the IP connectivity, connections to customer sites will be faster and more reliable than through traditional analog or T1 lines, and will also allow customers more flexibility when viewing their sites, said Mike Upp, vice president of marketing for Westec. For example, each site can now have up to 10 users at a time, when before there could only be one.

Other new technology added to the monitoring center includes Adtrans phone switches, technology that allows for more efficiency in the routing of calls as well as more speed when loading images onto the monitors of the center's dispatchers. Another function, called Call Man Technologies, also allows Westec to track potential problems and monitor busy spots in the monitoring mechanisms.

"These changes will make us more efficient and are going to reduce our costs over time," Upp said. "There is definitely an ROI in making the investment."

The company has also made use of existing functionalities within its current technology, such as a function in its Dice monitoring software that links customer data to the incoming signal and displays customer data on the particular terminal viewing the alarm. For example, if an alarm came in from store A in Dallas and the dispatcher incorrectly enters store B into the database, video from the wrong store would pop up, Upp said.

"This link literally send the message to the software so that the video and database information show up at the same workstation," Upp said.

Other, more physical changes at the monitoring center have also improved its efficiency, such as a change in the station layout from rows of four workstations to a horseshoe shaped environment.