Grand Canyon Monitors Skywalk WirelesslyBy Charlene O'Hanlon | Posted 2009-03-19 Email Print
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The Grand Canyon’s glass Skywalk allows visitors to peer deep into one of the world’s most famous natural wonders. Solution provider DBN One Computer Consultants designed and built a D-Link PoE video network to ensure visitor safety.
Visitors to the Grand Canyon have the chance to experience the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass platform that juts into the canyon and gives visitors the opportunity to walk out past the lip of the canyon and view all the way to the bottom. But installing a camera system to keep the Skywalk and its visitors safe needed a solution as transparent as the platform.
The problem: Because of the remoteness of the Skywalk, there wasn’t enough power onsite to run a network of cameras to monitor the Skywalk, the retail shops, ticket facilities and a photo department. Plus, the monitoring facilities were more than 250 miles away in Las Vegas.
The solution: power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras from D-Link, which could be powered over the Ethernet wiring, eliminating the need for separate electrical installations.
DBN One Computer Consultants, a Las Vegas-based D-Link solution provider, suggested the D-Link DCS-1110 PoE cameras and related monitoring software after determining the Skywalk’s needs and technology restrictions.
"We were originally contacted to put together a surveillance system for [Grand Canyon Skywalk’s] corporate office in Las Vegas," said Herb Thames, president and CEO of DBN One. "We sat down and designed the system that we wanted to install. They had let us know they also wanted to install cameras at the Skywalk."
DBN One had successfully installed D-Link PoE cameras at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport, and had come to rely on the technology for most of its surveillance installations. The PoE technology along with the quality of the video convinced the Grand Canyon Skywalk team that the D-Link was the right solution.
"Everyone else that had proposed a solution required running electrical, which was going to be a much costlier solution," Thames said. "Once they saw these cameras – the Power over Ethernet coupled with the reliability of the system and the quality of the pictures – they were sold. It was a slam dunk from there."
DBN One was contracted to install the solution at the Las Vegas site, which would serve as a testing ground of sorts for the cameras. Once the Skywalk team was convinced of the camera’s quality, the installation of the cameras at the Skywalk location was under way.
The Skywalk team took over installation at the Grand Canyon site, including laying the Ethernet cable, Thames said. "Their team actually did the installation on site. They watched us perform the initial installation here and consulted with us to make sure everything was set up correctly."
Everything recorded feeds via a satellite Internet connection into a data center in Las Vegas, 260 miles away from the site, which also has the D-Link DCS-1110 cameras installed. In total, 33 cameras were installed between the company offices, the Grand Canyon Skywalk site and the Las Vegas data center, company warehouse and tour company offices – a large number for most surveillance software systems to handle.
"Most software allows you to watch only four cameras at a time, but with the D-Link software you can monitor up to 16 cameras at a time. That’s huge," Thames said. "Sometimes with surveillance systems the software is more expensive than the cameras themselves, so that was another thing that made this solution much more cost-effective. They didn’t have to license separate software."
But it’s the cameras that often make the sale, he added. "The
reliability of the camera is incredible. We have counted on their
reliability in all our installations, and they’ve turned out to be the
best camera. And that was even before it featured Power over Ethernet."