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Robust VMS enables utility to protect against costly disruptions

For critical infrastructure facilities, service interruptions can be catastrophic. Operationally, they must be equipped to handle day-to-day demands and be prepared for any scenario. This can include the disruption of service due to a major weather event or a security breach at a substation, administrative office or waste-water treatment plant.

This is why it’s essential that utilities take a layered security approach that incorporates a scalable, yet open video management platform that can integrate with many different solutions, from access control systems and intrusion detection hardware to surveillance cameras and perimeter protection devices.

For many of these reasons, one mid-sized, community owned utility provider in the southern US recently turned to Salient Systems to standardize on its video management platform. As a frontline provider to a growing community that has seen its population expand by 50 percent in the past decade, the utility needed to ensure that the facilities for its essential services such as electricity, water and wastewater collection always remain protected.

With its operations growing, the community owned utility provider needed to expand its existing surveillance system to cover its many new facilities, which included administrative offices, water sites, treatment plants, wells and lift stations.

CompleteView enabled the utility to leverage its existing security infrastructure of IP surveillance cameras and access control platform. A key component was the addition of video analytics to help staff in the utility’s central command center more easily handle incoming alarms from the growing number of sites.

Command center employees on each shift monitor all incoming alarms from the security system’s cameras, as well as handle the utility’s mission-critical SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) industrial control systems for water, electric and wastewater management.  This becomes particularly important in the event of electrical or other outages when staff is dedicated to restoring services. 

In addition, analytics are being used to monitor the perimeter of each facility, typically to prevent break-ins for copper theft and vandalism. Using CompleteView VMS’ AlarmView, operators at the control center can view and respond to alarms more effectively.

Another valuable feature of CompleteView is Active Directory Integration. This feature creates the ability to manage entrance to the facilities. This ensures that a person’s access to the premises can be automatically deactivated using Active Directory if employment is terminated. The camera also creates a time stamp to indicate an individual’s presence at the facilities and how long they were there. 

Critical infrastructure facility managers recognize that people rely on these services every day and disruptions to these facilities can have serious consequences. A layered security program that incorporates an open VMS platform is necessary to ensure the maintenance of essential services. 

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