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Blanco Independent School District

Texas school district reduces the threat of vandalism and improves peace of mind with integrated D-Link video surveillance and switching solutions.

Texas School District Tightens Campus-Wide Security With End-to-End IP Surveillance Network

Blanco Independent School District (ISD) reduces the threat of vandalism and improves peace of mind with integrated D-Link video surveillance and switching solutions.

 Key D-Link Purchase Drivers

  • Performance – D-Link’s reliable, full-featured IP surveillance cameras work together with performance-packed network switches to help ensure that Blanco ISD’s round-the-clock surveillance solution is reliable, secure, easy to manage and delivers unmatched performance and value.
  • Security – D-Link xStack Series switches connect users in a secure environment and support physical stacking, multicast and enhanced security, making these switches an ideal Gigabit access layer solution.
  • Value – D-Link’s cost-effective network IP surveillance solution addressed Blanco ISD’s security concerns, while respecting its budget constraints.

 Background:

Spanning 378 square miles of beautiful Texas Hill Country, Blanco ISD is a public school district that includes a high school, a middle school, an elementary school and shared administrative buildings—all spread across three separate campus locations in Blanco, Texas (approximately 45 miles north of San Antonio). Although the crime rate is low in the Blanco community, the school district remains committed to keeping students, teachers, faculty and visitors safe while on campus.

Thanks to a recent municipal bond, Blanco ISD is in the process of spending more than $2 million to renovate a historic building, make improvements to campuses and to also add a new cafeteria. In an effort to protect those assets from vandalism, Blanco ISD sought to install a new IP surveillance system and turned to D-Link for a comprehensive solution.

 The Vision:

Enhance campus-wide visibility; deter crime and vandalism

"Previously, our campus had no security beyond locked doors,” said Tom Cozzi, Technology Director. “Among our renovations is a mission-style building that was originally built in 1874 and sits on ground now considered a historic site. When our renovation is complete, this building will offer 16 new classrooms, a library, a technology lab and a science lab. Protecting these assets was a priority."

Although serious crime on campus was rare, the district had experienced occasional incidents of vandalism, illegal entry and property damage.

"Our most serious incident happened several years ago, when some people broke into the high school and created a flood, which damaged our gymnasium floor," said Cozzi. "A separate incident occurred when the football practice field was driven on and torn up. When we received the municipal bond, we felt that in addition to much-needed renovations, we should also upgrade our security."

 The Solution:

An advanced end-to-end IP surveillance, switching and software solution for comprehensive visibility

 At the end of 2011, Blanco ISD began shopping for a technology partner to help turn its IP surveillance vision into reality. After a competitive bid and careful evaluation, the school district chose network cameras and switches from D-Link.

"When I joined the district about five years ago, the existing 3Com network was getting pretty old," said Cozzi. "I began replacing switches with D-Link switches, and they’ve proven very reliable. The availability was good and the price point was excellent. I had full confidence that the quality of D-Link cameras would be just as good."

"Ironically, D-Link was not the most inexpensive bid; but it was definitely the best bang for the buck," he said. "Plus, I was impressed with the level of support I was already receiving from the local D-Link team, and I knew that support would continue."

 To meet Blanco ISD’s $100,000 project budget and provide the best camera system for the dollar, D-Link chose to partner with San Antonio-based E-Watch, a D-Link video management software (VMS) partner that’s also licensed to install security systems in Texas.

 Together, team members from E-Watch and D-Link completed a site survey to determine the correct camera models and placement—ultimately providing a turn-key camera installation at a competitive price. Blanco ended up with 60 PoE-powered indoor and outdoor cameras, 11 Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and a state-of-the-art video management software that controls the entire system.

Part of D-Link’s turn-key camera solution includes D-Link managed gigabit PoE switches, which consolidate both camera power and video data into one network cable. This saves on installation materials and labor, and doesn’t require an electrician since PoE is low-voltage power. The switches also follow the 802.3af and 802.3at standards. D-Link’s DGS-3120 series managed switches were an attractive choice to Blanco ISD because they include a lifetime warranty.

In May 2012, the installation began; and by the end of June, the new surveillance was up and running. During the installation, Blanco ISD was able to witness D-Link responsiveness in action, when D-Link worked with E-Watch to pinpoint a few isolated camera issues and resolve them quickly with firmware updates.

 D-Link in Action

High-performance IP surveillance cameras and switches help ensure campus-wide security

Soon after installation, Blanco ISD was already capturing important surveillance footage. After a bathroom was vandalized, Cozzi was able to track time stamps, which led to an administrator questioning one particular student based on the amount of time he had spent there. After knowing that he had been caught on camera, the student confessed to the crime.

Aside from vandalism, IP surveillance has also helped the school district provide visual evidence about disruptive student behavior—and even local traffic accidents.

 "Today, the high school secretary has a constant view of the front of the building and the main hallway," he added. "The middle school secretary, who could never see the front door before, now has a complete view of that area and can always see who’s entering and exiting."

 "Not only does every workstation in the district have access to surveillance footage, I can also view footage remotely from home after hours, so if there’s anything going on campus at night, I can assess the situation," said Cozzi. "And if there’s criminal behavior involved, we can revert back to the archived video to assist with the investigation. There’s no doubt that having cameras in obvious locations has been a big deterrent."

 For Blanco ISD, implementing a new IP surveillance network delivered an unexpected benefit, as well.

 "During installation, we replaced many of the 3Com 100-Mb switches with new Gigabit switches from D-Link," said Cozzi. "So we got double bang for our buck because not only did we get new surveillance cameras, we also upgraded the capacity and performance of our entire network and avoided the need to create a separate network just for camera footage."   

 At the end of the day, Blanco ISD is very satisfied with its new surveillance solution.

 "It’s comforting to know that we can see what’s going on now, and if people ask about our district’s security, we can say we have a top-of-the-line surveillance system," said Cozzi. "We’ve now got full assurance that everything on campus is okay. And I’m still getting great field support from the local folks at E-Watch and D-Link, who regularly check in to make sure the solution is working well."

"Ironically, the bell from one our historic buildings was stolen years ago and had been missing for a long time," said Cozzi. "During a recent drought, somebody discovered it in the Blanco riverbed, so today the bell is back on the building where it belongs. Today, that bell is part of our school district’s logo and an informal icon for Blanco ISD. I’m proud to know that our new IP surveillance system will help ensure that our bell remains safe and sound."

 Blanco ISD’s complete product integration includes:

DCS-6511

High Definition Fixed Dome Day-and-Night Network Camera

DGS-3120-24PC

xStack Managed 24-Port Gigabit Stackable L2+ PoE Switch

DGS-3120-48PC

xStack Managed 48-Port Gigabit Stackable L2+ PoE Switch

DGS-1210-10P

10-Port Gigabit WebSmart PoE Switch

E-Watch

SiteWatch Video Management Software

On-site Service and Support

Provided by E-Watch and D-Link