Excellence Awards Sierra Charlotte

Category New studio technology
— non-broadcast Submitted by Sierra Video Systems Design teamClarkPowell: Bob
Carswell, system design eng.; Marty Meredith, business development Technology at work Draper rear projection
Sierra Video Systems
Sequoia router
Flat-panel displays
Video monitors

New router helps CDOT, police and Homeland Security keep Charlotte streets safe

When the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) needed to facilitate traffic during a street construction phase, it set up a camera monitoring system. Capturing video of the streets and traffic light patterns, the cameras linked to a small router in the CDOT’s headquarters.

Later, when the Charlotte police department wanted to monitor accidents and other city incidents, the CDOT shared its network and helped create a police observation center. Then, as Homeland Security plans in Charlotte came to fruition, the network had yet another use. With the addition of the Homeland Security program, the network needed a larger router to handle the versatility and the capacity from the three projects. It needed a router with a higher frame rate because it didn’t want the picture to break down during transmission.

Systems integrator ClarkPowell recommended Sierra Video Systems’ Sequoia router not only for its high-quality switching capabilities, but also because of the company’s Trade-Up program. The program allows a system credit based on the age and price of the original Sierra Video system. The program was designed to ensure that customers could grow with their product investments.

The Sequoia is the glue for all three projects in Charlotte — the CDOT, police monitoring and Homeland Security. Currently, the system uses a 256 x 256 router, but a larger capacity unit, such as a 512 x 512, will be needed within the next two years.

The system includes 96 cameras throughout the city. Fiber-optic capble connect back to the Sequoia router in the control center, and video signals are sent to various displays for monitoring. The system also has storage capacity for up to 64 cameras so that police videos can be searched and archived as needed.

Although each department can operate another’s cameras, network control must be enabled by the individual departments in order for someone else to use it. The police control center, which has 10 flat-screen displays that can be split into four screens each, is staffed with people to monitor the video during peak hours, as well as during city events.

The network encompasses projector screens and fl at panels both at police headquarters and in dispatch areas, as well as two dozen 20in video monitors and an 84in subdivided projector screen at the CDOT control center. Selected officials at the CDOT’s headquarters also have display monitors in their offices.

The system is based on an open architecture made up of routing, displays, distribution and storage, with lots of room for vertical growth — and a variety of opportunities for other agencies to get on board.