American Dynamics: LAN, Camera, Action

By Baselinemag Print this article Print

American Dynamics the maker of closed-circuit televisions has fallen behind competitors who embrace Internet protocols to transmit digital images.

Traditional video-security systems are known as closed-circuit television (CCTV) for a good reason: These workhorses of perimeter security typically use dedicated coaxial cable to carry images in analog waves. They can't hook into companies' digital communications networks easily.

Managers like Scott Morrill increasingly want to watch what happens on the factory floor, and use digital technologies while they're at it. Morrill, security technician at trophy manufacturer O.C. Tanner, installed a face-recognition system to control access to a Salt Lake City storage room containing Olympic medals for the 2002 Winter Games. Morrill's goal was to integrate face recognition with video captured by his existing American Dynamics CCTV system so that, from their PCs, guards could monitor the identities of people entering the storage room and remotely observe them via video.

American Dynamics—owned by Tyco since 2001—had an answer: Its Intellex digital video recorder (DVR). DVRs translate analog video signals into digital and compress them so they can flow efficiently on a local area network or wide area network. DVRs run software that allows integration of access-control systems like face recognition. "The set-up gave us what we were looking for," says Morrill. "Video and access control on one network. Plus it makes handling video easier because storage is on a CD or hard drive. You don't have to mess with handling VHS tapes."

The systems have been expanded to cover Tanner's manufacturing operations in Utah and Toronto. The bottom line: Improved security with no increase in staff.

Retailer Mrs. Fields Original Cookies is testing the Intellex DVR in 20 of its stores. Dave Brickell, loss-prevention director, and other managers now can see from afar what's going on in stores. That's not only cut down on theft and bogus claims against Mrs. Fields, but, says Brickell, sales have improved by 5% to 6% on average, where remote viewing has been tested.

Seal Beach, Calif., police cars are equipped with digital cameras that use Internet protocols for transmitting files. The cameras can be controlled over the network so, in the event of an armed robbery, police can see what's going on before they get out of the vehicle. Because American Dynamics doesn't have such IP-addressable digital cameras, police are using Sony cameras and Cisco mobile routers. For its part, American Dynamics says it's evaluating the technology.

American Dynamics
6795 Flanders Drive, San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 642-2400 www.americandynamics.net

Ticker: TYC (Parent Company)
Exchange: NYSE
American Dynamics Employees: 200

Don Lyman
Senior Vice President
Responsible for American Dynamics' video-security business and Software House, maker of hardware and software for integrating digital video, alarm, fire and other security systems. Previously held management positions at at Ingram Micro and IBM.

Gene Hammonds
VP/General Manager
Oversees day-to-day company operations.Products
Analog video cameras, and analog and digital video recording and management systems. Digital products include Intellex, a digital video recording device that converts analog video into digital format and compresses it so it can be transmitted over digital networks.

Reference Checks

O.C. Tanner Co.
Scott Morrill
Security Officer Technician
(801) 493-3122
Project: Uses 60 American Dynam-ics cameras and Intellex digital storage and management systems to protect manufacturing facilities.

Mrs. Fields Original Cookies
Dave Brickell
Loss-Prevention Manager
(800) 343-5377

Project: Cookie retailer put analog cameras and recorders in most of its 1,300 stores to reduce theft, improve operations.

Four Seasons Town Centre
Wendy Ellis
Communications Manager
(336) 299-9230 Ext.125
Project: Shopping mall in Greensboro, N.C., installed closed-circuit cameras throughout the facility and in parking areas in 1998. Mall later replaced analog recorders with digital video recorders in order to ease task of reviewing tapes.

Kerasotes Showplace Theatres
Dan Lehman
Loss-Prevention Manager
dlehman @kerasotes.com

Project: Installed multiple cameras plus Intellex digital video recorder in each of its 77 movie theaters to monitor parking lots, ticket windows, other areas.

City of Edmonton, Alberta
Ted Harper
Electrical Foreman
(780) 496-1938
Project: Has installed 450 closed-circuit cameras to track and record activities in rapid-transit stations, parking lots and other sites.

Renaissance Tower
Willie Hall
Director of Security
(214) 571-6220
Project: Downtown Dallas office tower utilizes 80 analog cameras for safety.

Executives listed here are all users of American Dynamics' products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Background: American Dynamics

Est. 2002 revenue $260M

Digital video recorder, Intellex, accounts for 43% of revenue and 60% of profit.


Washington-Dulles International Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

U.S. Postal Service, various locations

This article was originally published on 2003-09-10
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.