Abilene, TX––Hendrick Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in the West Texas area serving referrals from 16 smaller hospitals in the surrounding counties. Known for its sophisticated trauma center and high level of care, the flagship 500-bed acute care center is undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion.
The center’s expansion also includes the upgrade of its surveillance operation, which features a totally new workspace and technology transition from analog to IP, a new CCTV system that will eventually include 200 cameras, and a conversion from barcode to Proximity card readers. “A huge project,” as Roger Dickey, Director of Security at Hendrick, rightfully describes it.
Assisting Dickey on the project is system integrator James Holden of Siemens. Holden explains that, along with providing the newer technology, he and Siemens were tasked to design a new workspace for the security guard monitoring staff with first destination radio, video, access control and alarm management. A new console was the starting point.
“Roger and I visited a security trade show in Dallas and looked at different furniture products,” Holden explains. “We decided on Middle Atlantic’s ViewPoint console because it was flexible, attractive and offered a lot of ergonomic options.”
Dickey adds, “I’d never seen the Middle Atlantic furniture, but their staff was very helpful. I could sit down at their console and get a feel for what my guys were going to be looking at. I was also interested in their cable management system and how easy it would be for repair people to access the console.
“Because of the console’s flexibility, I was able to try something very different this time around in terms of training my staff. I told them, ‘you are the ones who’re going to have to use this, so I need you to set up the camera views and how you want to use the console, not me.’
“This definitely put the challenge on my staff in terms of designing the views they receive and optimizing the console for their use. We have an event monitoring system tied to all of our alarms. Whether it‘s a motion or alarm activation of some sort, the system brings the event up to the spot monitor so the operator can decide whether or not it’s a problem. This helps us manage these situations.”
Reflecting Dickey’s staff’s criteria, the ViewPoint installed in the Center’s surveillance workspace includes a console-mounted VisionFrame system to mount three large 46” monitors behind three 23” monitors attached to the console itself. The console also includes top-mount turret racks on both ends, which his staff uses to store an 800 MHz frequency police/fire radio. When covered, these also provide additional surface space on the console for printers and other devices.
In terms of ergonomics, “my staff really likes it,” Dickey explains. “The way we’ve set up the console, we’re not trying to watch all the cameras at a specific time. When someone hits an alarm alerting us to a problem, we can hit a salvo of multiple views and depend on that before moving on to the event monitoring system.”
Dickey also wanted to display Hendrick’s CCTV system in an ergonomically sensible and productive way in terms of how many cameras his team could view at one time.
“ViewPoint just seemed to work best for what the client wanted to do,” adds Holden. “They needed more space horizontally. In changing over to IP we were converting from all of the older analog monitors, PCs and analog DVRs, so we needed a cohesive new approach for the guard personnel to manage the video and other systems.
“The actual installation worked out well. We went back and forth and made sure that we measured twice and cut once to ensure the monitors were at the right height and overall width. We talked about a variety of customization options including additional articulating arms when we saw how flexible they were.”
Also facilitating the installation, Middle Atlantic Designerâ„¢ software allowed Holden to show several different renditions of the console to Dickey and his staff. Once they had agreed on the final design, he was able to forward laminate samples of the finish so Dickey could totally envision what the console was going to look like. According to Holden, “Designer eliminated any surprises, which made everyone’s job easier.”
“They had a very crowded one-man console before, and even if there’s only one operator at the ViewPoint console, it can be quickly and easily accommodated to hold two operators because it’s long enough at 12 feet to let them expand and grow as the shifts change.
“When I sell a console like ViewPoint, it’s usually part of a pretty big project,” Holden concludes. “We’re happy, Roger and his staff are satisfied, and so is the hospital board. When the boards asks what they spent money for, seeing a black bulb in the ceiling doesn’t mean much to them. They may not know the difference between an old camera or new camera, or an analog and an IP system, but they know when they go into the new surveillance facility and see the console, because that’s the kind of thing that makes them respond a lot better.”
Dickey also underscores the console’s impact: “Let’s face it, this is a $92 million building project, and we needed a system that would still be in the game three to five years down the road. We went strictly with IP because of all the videos that are available to our staff. There’s no way a single or several security officers sitting at a console can view all of those cameras and do justice to that. So we really like to take the view the ViewPoint console gives us and spread it out, so if we have an event going on we can quickly push up the perimeters we want to view at the push of a button.
“ViewPoint has been so successful in getting our officers involved in the development of these protocols that they’ve created different views for the day shift, evening shift and night shift because each one of those shifts actually looks at things differently.
“And my guys really like the layout of this console,” Dickey explains. “The new 46” monitors give them a much larger and more effective view of what they’re looking at. They used to have 4” picture when they did multiple views. With this system, they have a much more identifiable picture that they can zoom in on to isolate a person they want to identify, blow that up on replay and capture it on DVD for evidence. The three smaller monitors include our computer dispatch, access control, and event monitoring systems. And we have two other spots for monitors that haven’t been mounted yet that we will use for internal communications.”
Summarizing, Dickey concludes, “The ViewPoint console has turned out to be the stepping-stone to doing all of the other things we had to do in order to build the security features into this new building. We’re very happy with the way things have worked out.”
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