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New cameras, IPs networks and explaining to other people

August 19, 2015

My boss, actually my bosses boss, walked into my office the other day, along with the project manager for our security camera project and asked why he could not see the new cameras working.  Well, since it is the bosses boss, I do not say what comes to my mind, which was this “how the hell should I know – I have not been involved in any of the communication about new cameras”.  Thankfully, I have a filter that keeps things from escaping my lips….

After a bit of investigation and discussion with the project manager, I have a better idea of the work that was recently completed.  I keep my cool because I always try to respect the working relationships I have with people (they are very valuable).  Armed with the new information, I called the vendor, Frontrunner systems and talk with the technician responsible for the work.  Ill call him Jake.  I spend about 30 minutes on the phone with Jake, after I created a print out of all the cameras and their names on a couple pieces of largess paper.


Jake informs me of the new cameras – where they are, which area, we have four.  WTCC, FLTCC, Newark main campus, and Newark ware house.  I identity the new cameras and their names and forward this information to my bosses boss.  I also reminded him that he or whoever he wants to show off the new cameras too can use a web client version of the software.  They would need to have an account with permission to the area where they want to view.

When I was done working with my boss and her boss and the project manager and Jake the technician, I was left feeling like I need a more thorough understanding of things.  I typically feel like this, since I am a person who always wants the conceptual understanding of whatever it is I am working on.  I need that birds eye view from which to descend and add meat to the bones.  To that end, I logged into the security camera software (Genetec) and looked at a couple options in more details.  One of which allowed me to see the IP addresses of each area – and upon clicking the ip address registered to the area, I could see the name of the camera.  Really the opposite view of how I had been looking at things – which was camera and then details, like ip.   Using the Configuration arm of the software (Genetec Security Center Configuration Tool), I choose Network and then was able to see

When I was talking with jake about the new cameras he said something like this, which is birds eye view and I latched onto it.

Process of configuring/adding new items (cameras) to the system

  1.  – Jake installed the cameras – physically
  2.  – Waited for Dave to configure the network (this is the part I would like to know more about)
  3.  – Then Jake could add IPs to the cameras (finish configuring them)

That process is interesting to me.  Makes sense that the cameras could be physically installed, but if the network is not ready, you cannot complete the installation, since each camera needs an ip address on the network.  Perhaps we needed to add more switches or actual ports on the network.  I am such a networking novice – only enough knowledge to be a little dangerous.

Another valuable view in the Config Tool is the Logical view.  It shows each area and all the cameras installed in that area.  Each area, like FLTCC has members or cameras.  So, FLTCC is an area and its installed cameras are members.  Conceptual, I like it!

Also – something useful in the software that i stumbled across was the video retention period, mainly set for 30 days – meaning the camera video storage would be around 30 days by default – after which the space is overwritten by the next 30 days.  If we have a problem and need to view camera footage, we have one month to do it.  I wonder if that is an industry standard?  Storage is not that expensive BUT, video storage is very demanding.  I did work with my customer a while back on a couple of the cameras and changed that setting to 40 days.

One final thought of the day…. partitions also have members, like areas.  The FLTCC partition has members like, cameras, and users.  Think conceptually – areas have members – patitions have members – areas have partitions (I think).  User groups have members – users.

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