When the Jewelry Design Center moved into its new retail space in downtown Spokane, WA, last year, the 27,000-square-foot two-level store stood for how far the family-owned business had come in nearly 30 years. Doug and Brian Toone, the company's father-and-son owner/ management team, wanted a security system that addressed technology changes in that field, one that was IP-addressable, expandable and high-resolution, but that was also cost-effective and user-friendly.
Paul Stryker, owner of Audio Video Innovations, knew the Toones personally, and they talked candidly about the kinds of security issues that come with the territory of a high-profile, high-dollar-volume business like jewelry retailing.
"The new store was going to be more than twice the size of the previous location, and it would have very specific interior design themes, so any security camera system had to give them everything they wanted and fit into the new design," said Stryker, who opened his company 13 years ago in Spokane.
Stryker looked over plans for the new showroom-being called in to the project while construction was still underway was appreciated. "The interior design has lots of wood logs and exposed timber, and we could get our cabling in before the walls went up," he said. The mini RG-59 Siamese cabling would enable the system to carry both video signal and power on the same wire, but would have to be drawn and run carefully because there would be no access to much of it once the sheetrock went up and the timbers were applied. "I'd say that was one of the biggest challenges of this project," said Stryker. "We were very meticulous about how we installed the cabling because there was no going back."
DVR As System Core
What made the project easier was Stryker's decision to use a Mitsubishi DX-TL5000E digital video recorder as the core of the video surveillance system. The system's 16-channel DVR could support far more than the 32 cameras planned for this installation, thus fulfilling one of the Toones' key requirements for expandability. The system is also high-resolution, with JPEG 2000 compression providing massive 200-pps mixed multi-resolution recording, storing the data for over 45 days. The JPEG 2000 compression software used in the DX-TL5000 allows for 30 percent more compression while significantly improving picture quality and data recovery. The system's base capacity of 750 MB is expandable to 2 TB, and data can be burned to an onboard DVD-ROM drive or downloaded as files via a password-protected internet connection that is also used for remote-location viewing.
A combination of eight Panasonic WP-484 cameras, which were transferred from the previous location, and 15 Sanyo 520 TVL cameras, all high-res and low-light-capable with auto-iris and varifocal, make up the original configuration of the surveillance system; there are immediate plans to add nine more Sanyo cameras, and build out as needed from there. The cost-effective component of the design is evident in the decision to use more than two dozen fixed cameras rather than fewer pan-tilt-zoom fixtures. "Pannable fixtures drive the costs up," said Stryker. "Also, the panning has to be programmed, or else you have to do it manually. This is a simpler, less costly and just as effective way to go for this type of install."
There's also a psychological component at work here: the sheer number of cameras and their placement in plain sight, throughout the store's two levels, parking lots and access portals conveys a sense that the entire building is constantly on guard. "Fortunately, the colors of the camera bodies fit into the interior décor scheme quite nicely on their own, so it's a nice balance between obvious and subtle," Stryker said.
The entire video security system was up and running in time for the opening of the Jewelry Design Center's new location last year. At a cost of about $50,000 for the entire project, Stryker points out how increasingly intelligent and feature-rich systems like the DV-TL5000E enable smaller, independent design/install companies like his to compete on a larger scale and offer advanced technology at a cost-effective price. "Systems like these let me bring a higher level of sophistication to my customers," he said. "When you combine that with the high degree of on-the-spot service we can offer because we're in the same community as the client, that goes a long ways towards leveling the playing field."