Alvin ISD - USA


Alvin ISD
Solution category
  • Education
Growing Texas school district needed to replace “hodgepodge” of analog DVRs and cameras on small budget
Solution (BusinessSolution)
Video Insight Software and IP cameras.

Growing Texas school district needed to replace “hodgepodge” of analog DVRs and cameras on small budget

Covering 250 square miles in northern Brazoria County, just north of Galveston Island, Alvin Independent School District has 17,500 students and 23 schools.
Their multi-building video surveillance system consisted of a “hodgepodge” of analog DVRs and cameras, according to Alvin ISD Technology Services Coordinator, Charles Colwell. In evaluating their future goals for maximizing school security, Alvin ISD began implementation of a comprehensive video surveillance system in 2010 that was affordable, that could be easily integrated into their existing technology infrastructure, and would be able to work with their preferred camera provider, SC Black.


Video Insight Software and IP cameras.

After coming across Video Insight at an education trade show, Colwell took to the internet to further research the video management system. Colwell evaluated case studies on the company website and was particularly impressed with Video Insight’s success in nearby Pearland ISD. Delving further into what Video Insight could offer, Colwell discovered that Video Insight “pricing was lower, there were more features and the system had impressive expansion capabilities.”

After determining Video Insight could meet – and potentially exceed – their expectations, Alvin ISD selected Video Insight through a competitive award process.
“Video Insight currently supports more than 3,000 cameras from more than 100 manufacturers,” said Video Insight Chief Technical Officer, James Whitcomb.

“And if we don’t support a certain camera, we will get development on it right away as was the case in Alvin ISD and what we have done for many other customers.”

After a successful beta-test that began in February 2010, Alvin ISD began the district-wide video management system implementation shortly after in May.
They deployed 568 SC Black IP cameras joining the more than 200 existing analog cameras that were easily integrated into the Video Insight IP software with encoders.

“The ability to work with existing equipment saved money on the project,” said Colwell. “If a campus is only three years old, there is no need to scrap the analog cameras we have there. We get good quality from these cameras using Video Insight encoders, so we will continue to use them until we can replace them in
our next implementation phase.”

Another way they reduced the project cost from a local contractor estimate of $2.6 million down to less than half a million dollars was using high school and college student workers to pull cable for the project, as well as installing, mounting and programming cameras.

“We were very impressed by how a sophisticated software product like Video Insight is so easily programmed,” said Colwell. “It was so easy that I was able to use my summer help consisting predominately of high school students to work labor on the install.”

Sensibly located in the center of their expansive 250-square-mile district, the Alvin ISD technology center has a 10 GB of bandwidth in all directions towards all campuses. Their servers are Dual Quad Core Xeons running into a 30 TB Promise Array. The central servers are all at technology and according to Colwell, “everything pipes out from here with nothing at the campuses except for a network switch and fiber link.”

This backbone effectively supports the Video Insight video management system that all campuses are utilizing. Colwell has installed the monitor station at each campus administration office and provides training in the software so that principals and usually campus secretaries can easily access the cameras at their campus. Cameras are usually placed in high traffic areas such as doors, parking lots, cafeterias and hallways. Colwell has taken the added step of installing dual display cards and dual monitors at some campus offices so that users can always see the monitor station and access cameras without interrupting their work.

For district-wide surveillance, which is monitored by the Alvin ISD Police Department, Colwell has constructed an impressive video wall (pictured) with 15 large 52-inch monitors in the police dispatch center.

Colwell said they maximize efficiency of their servers by sticking to a 10-15 day storage period of recorded video from all campuses. Their growth plan includes adding two more 15 TB storage arrays and servers soon as well as deploying more SC Black cameras as analog cameras are replaced and as new construction dictates.

“We have been very satisfied with Video Insight,” said Colwell. “It is a superior product that has been easy to use by our police and administrators and works very well with our infrastructure. We couldn’t ask for a better system.”