Founded in 1908, the City of Edinburg is home to many businesses, neighborhood developments, entertainment, and a top University of Texas school, UT Rio Grande Valley. With over 101,170 residents, Edinburg is a pro-business community with an excellent quality of life, educational facilities, and strong civic pride. It has been recognized as an All-America City three times by the National Civic League, placing it among a handful of outstanding communities in the nation.
Daniel Vera, Director of Information Technology (IT), has been with the department for 14 years. As Edinburg’s infrastructure has evolved over time, so has the need to upgrade existing technology—including the citywide surveillance system.
“I had a small IT department that managed the whole city, each building with its own surveillance system. We were getting a lot of retrieval requests and it got too time-consuming to maintain, retrieve, and archive the video.”
Vera inherited disparate on-premise DVR and NVR camera systems deployed across the city. Some of the systems were over a decade old with limited usability. To retrieve footage, he or a member of his team had to drive across town, find the login information, playback footage, and share the video via thumb drive. As the city grew and retrieval requests increased, Vera began searching for a solution that could help simplify video security management and remove inefficiencies.
“Managing the system is a key consideration for me, and Verkada caught my eye with how simple it is to install and maintain.”
With Verkada, Vera has a centralized solution that streamlines building management across the entire municipality. With customizable roles and an intuitive user platform, Vera has empowered end-users at the city hall, airport, fire stations, water plants, and golf course to effectively retrieve footage on their own. This has drastically reduced both incident response times and support tickets, so he and his team can focus on other tasks and technological innovations that drive the city forward.
Flexible, Low-Bandwidth Cameras with Data Encryption
“Some benefits I came across with Verkada were the encryption of the video and the low-bandwidth consumption—just kilobytes per camera. We’re also able to use access points to set up cameras at remote locations like our golf course.”
As he evaluated the cybersecurity elements of different camera solutions, Vera found Verkada’s solution to be the most secure. By default, video data is encrypted both at rest onboard the camera and in transit, providing protection from end-to-end. Additionally, Verkada employs independent security firms to regularly run penetration tests and identify issues before they reach customers. “When I researched some of the other systems that were similar to Verkada, I didn’t feel as comfortable with their infrastructure.”
Vera also uses Verkada’s hybrid cloud architecture to reduce bandwidth consumption to 20 kbps per camera. For remote city locations, he is able to deploy cameras via access points through an LTE connection, minimizing bandwidth consumption while ensuring reliability.
Intuitive User Dashboard to Streamline Incident Response
“We’ve drastically reduced the number of IT support tickets after deploying Verkada. Our departments had viewing access to their site as soon as they logged in, the whole platform is very straightforward and easy to use.”
Vera has set up individual accounts for end-users across each department, and limits their permissions to Site Viewers. Airport personnel have access to just airport cameras, each fire station has access to just their station, and so on for the golf course, and water plants. If incidents arise, they can go back in history and independently review footage without the help of IT.
Remote Access via Mobile or Web
“Before Verkada, we would receive calls for footage requests and I would have to send my staff to the location, sometimes after hours or on the weekends. With Verkada, I can just share a link of the video to whoever’s calling through my phone.”
Verkada’s intuitive Command platform was built with user experience at top-of-mind. By providing them with an easy-to-use dashboard, Vera has empowered users in each department to resolve incidents independently from IT. Through Command, Verkada’s mobile and web-based platform, he can easily share out footage through an SMS or email link. With the ease of remote access, he reduced the travel time and strain on his own team.
Straightforward Cost of Ownership with 10-Year Warranty
“With Verkada, I have a 10-year warranty on all the cameras. I’m able to maintain the city’s surveillance system from the IT budget, because the cost of ownership is straightforward and predictable.”
Whether it was a hard drive on an NVR or offline camera, repairs and replacements on the old system were unpredictable. At times, departments would offset funds from another account to fix the system; other times, they would have to wait until the next fiscal year. “Sometimes we wouldn’t have video available because there just wasn’t enough budget to fix a camera issue.”
Now with Verkada, Vera has a 10-year hardware warranty on all the cameras—regardless of software licensing time. He now handles the video security budget for all departments with Verkada deployed, and feels comfortable doing so because of the upfront pricing model. He has no additional costs to account for outside of two line items, the cameras and software license. Unlimited cloud archiving, user seats, US-based customer support, software enhancements, and firmware updates are all included in his software licensing agreement.
“My advice to others is, ‘It’s worth the switch from traditional to hybrid cloud.’ Other IT directors have asked me how I deployed Verkada, or how I got it approved budget-wise. I just showed them the simplicity of the system, and how much it’ll save us in the long run.”
For next steps, Vera is deploying additional cameras on light posts to improve security in parking lots, around the City Hall, and other City facilities using access points. He is also looking to have a viewing station installed at certain departments, enabling them to view events in real-time and stream multiple camera feeds at once.
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