Video surveillance capabilities have come a long way in the past decade. So much so that a couple of years ago The Chattanoogan, a hotel and conference center in Tennessee, decided it was time for a refresh.
IT Manager Mike Willingham says The Chattanoogan went from seven coaxial cameras to 33 D-Link IP cameras to manage and protect 199 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of conference space. The new equipment replaced cameras that were installed when the hotel opened in 2001.
Willingham says the upgrade enhances safety and security for hotel guests and employees and allows more efficient package tracking.
"We get a lot of high-profile guests here, and even our rank-and-file guests expect a certain level of security. The cameras provide it for them," Willingham says. "We made the move because there was a general sense that we didn't know what was going on at the hotel."
The Chattanoogan installed cameras at every entrance and exit, at cash registers, at the front desk, at the valet area where people drop off their cars, and in shipping and receiving at the back of the hotel. The cameras in shipping and receiving are useful, Willingham says, because if a delivery truck has an accident in the hotel's shipping area, they can replay the video to identify who was at fault.
"The cameras are also helpful when we have trade shows at the hotel," he says. "Sometimes our guests send us so many packages that we lose track of them, but with the cameras we can look and see that a package was signed for at 12:35 p.m., for example, and watch on the video to see where it went. Then it's much easier for us to track down the package."
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The new D-Link cameras are also easy to manage. Because the cameras are IP-based, installing another camera is simply a matter of running a Category 5 or 6 cable to the switch, Willingham adds. The Chattanoogan uses a mix of D-Link DCS-6111, DCS-6113 and DCS-7110 cameras. The cameras are connected to three D-Link Power over Ethernet DES-1210-28P switches. Storage runs over a 7.5 terabyte Cybernetics storage area network.
"The SAN we have is fine for now. It is set to overwrite when it gets full, after about two months," Willingham notes. "That has never been a problem, though, because we always know before two months pass if we need some footage. If we do, we can burn particular video files over to a DVD for safekeeping. We may have to increase our storage space if we add cameras in the future. But for now, we're fine."