The key to unlocking the restraints of legacy prison systems


Many prisons and correctional facilities are still using mechanical switches to call up security cameras, engage intercoms or open doors. It may seem cumbersome and risky, and it may be that limited budgets force many corrections facilities to continue using analogue systems. However, here, BCD Video explains how there is a solution that is able to help gradually upgrade and combine a legacy system with new open architecture technology to give the benefits of additional security, but without the associated cost of a complete refurbishment.

While the perception is that keeping the status quo is more affordable, legacy systems have their own set of costs. An ageing infrastructure of coax and unreliable components leads to maintenance and downtime, hard-to-find replacement parts, non-compliance and generally more cables, equipment and manpower. Most importantly, older technology increases vulnerability to security breaches and potential violence.

The good news is that it’s possible to make incremental moves forward toward Internet protocol (IP)-based cameras, digital video management software, and video appliances. But only a system with true open architecture can deliver a total lower cost of ownership and future scalability

Open architecture generally refers to a system where interfaces, communication and protocols are publicly available, well documented and free to use — there are no commercial or proprietary barriers.

But we may ask the question, “Why is this relevant for budget-constrained corrections facilities?” An IP-based VMS with open architecture will always equal cost savings — which is why, according to BCD Video, it is a must-have for corrections, security upgrades or new designs. Users can deploy or expand existing hardware and integrate many types of cameras, both analogue and digital or IP cameras. The procurement cycle can be carried out gradually.

For example, maybe you require bulk data storage to the tune of a few petabytes depending on archive retention needs. Or you might simply need video viewing workstations. Down the road, perhaps a video wall or higher-definition cameras with better image quality and frame rates. A VMS built on open architecture also lets you easily add on cutting-edge technologies in the future, such as analytics, smart cameras, facial recognition or mobile credentials and more.

In an open architecture deployment, budget management is easier and frees you to take advantage of new features, competitive pricing and multiple vendor options as the organisation evolves.

With hundreds of corrections deployments under its belt, BCD has experience in ensuring corrections teams gain all the benefits of open architecture: Regardless of how or when a corrections facility moves to IP-based VMS, security threats will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. Ultimately, beefing up security while keeping costs down will require stable, reliable, and high-performing video data infrastructure.