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Milestone Video Evolves with University of East Anglia’s Needs

As an early adopter of IP video surveillance in 2005, the University of East Anglia (UEA) brought together a number of standalone CCTV systems into one single IP-based monitoring system that is proving capable of growing with the university. This is due to the open platform video management software (VMS) from Milestone Systems that has been implemented by Check Your Security (CYS).


The university’s security system was centralized using Milestone XProtect Enterprise to manage and view video from 90 existing analog cameras that were brought into the Milestone solution, with 30 new IP cameras installed campus-wide. UEA’s IT department took over management of three dedicated video servers and the system was moved onto the campus’ network fiber backbone.

The number of cameras installed around the 450-acre campus grew each year as new buildings were constructed. It became clear by 2011 that the system performance should be upgraded and integrated with its Cardax access control system to reap further operational efficiencies.

Expandable open platform IP video solution

With the guidance of CYS, the UEA upgraded from Milestone XProtect Enterprise to Milestone XProtect® Corporate. This included Milestone XProtect® Smart Client 7, bringing the system’s front-end user interface up to date. Additional storage servers from HP were added to handle growing data archiving capacity.

The benefits of the upgrades are many. Milestone Federated Architecture in XProtect Corporate allows the UEA to easily interconnect and manage new security systems on the centralized network. They plan to extend services support to a neighboring school site being renovated and expanded. The number of cameras per server can also continue to expand, with minimal IT resources required.

Additional upgrade benefits

IT administration resources have been reduced. XProtect Corporate’s use of Microsoft® Active Directory™ makes network access to the surveillance easier and more secure by streamlining firewall administration and system access authentication. Failover support guarantees against the system going offline in rare cases of server hardware failure.

UEA’s security officers can retrieve the details of incidents very quickly and use this intelligence to make well-informed decisions to keep the campus’ staff, students and visitors safe. The benefits of the upgrades were immediately seen on their control room screens: interactive maps provide a graphical overhead view of the campus that drills down into specific building views and to specific cameras for live video.

  • Multi-screen live viewing combined with XProtect Smart Client’s Camera Navigator tracks suspects from camera to camera through a building and across campus to identify and apprehend them before leaving the site.
  • Edge storage and mobile client access support a planned move to connect patrolling officers’ body-worn cameras and smartphones to the Milestone XProtect VMS.
  • XProtect Smart Client has such features as on-screen joystick pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) control, digitally signed video evidence export, more sophisticated alarm management and improved design for easier navigation.

The UEA upgrade to Milestone XProtect Corporate leverages their IP video choice for additional expansions well into the future. The Milestone Integration Platform also enables the university to explore further efficiencies across the security estate through closer integration with third-party systems.

The Campus Services Manager at UEA explains: “We have two main security systems at UEA: one is Cardax access control and the other is the Milestone IP video. Integrating the two is very exciting - you only have to look at security scenarios to realize the potential. For example, in case of fire at night it is possible to determine which students have left a residence hall following an alarm, comparing the numbers and identities detected by the access control with surveillance at the designated muster points.”

Integration between the Cardax and Milestone systems means that all access control alarm events (forced door entries, swiping a deactivated card, etc.) are linked with the video database. Access control alerts can be displayed in the XProtect Smart Client on the control room screens. The nearest camera to an entry can be moved via XProtect to view someone trying to force a door. Patrolling security officers can be dispatched to challenge such unauthorized entrants.

The Milestone system can also integrate with video content analytics to ‘face match’ the photo in the Cardax system with the XProtect video of a card user swiping a card. Theft or misuse of swipe cards to enter university buildings can thereby be easily detected and minimized.

Squeezing more from static security budgets

“Milestone was the only video management system that truly delivered our vision of centralizing the UEA’s security system without tying us into proprietary technology. It enables us to manage our constant expansions. Milestone’s open platform allows us to tap into the latest IP technologies and bring disparate systems together for further efficiencies,” summarizes the Campus Services Manager at UEA.

Two or three new buildings are going up each year and student numbers are rising, so a blueprint for further projects is being established. CYS is scoping the benefits of integrating the Milestone XProtect open platform with the UEA’s intruder alarms and fire detection. Milestone provides the key to gleaning better services out of static budgets to realize more efficiencies and productivity increases.

UEA’s security credentials

The UEA team of officers provide 24-hour security campus-wide. Based in a fully-manned 24/7/365 security lodge, they run four shift teams with one officer in the lodge to man the phones and alarms, completing incident reports. Every two hours officers rotate between tasks over their 12-hour shifts, with a range of activities including mobile patrol in vehicles and on foot, manning the central control room and security lodge, tending to locking and unlocking duties.

The UEA was voted third for 'Good Security' out of 113 universities in the Times Higher Education Supplement’s ‘Student Experience Survey 2011’. It was also voted the safest university campus in England three years in a row.

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