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Video Keeps Watch at CordeValle Resort When Security Is Off Duty

When a golf cart went missing at CordeValle, a Rosewood Hotels & Resorts golf resort in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains near San Jose, California, it provided a wakeup call about the resort's need to upgrade its aging video surveillance system. The current analog CCTV system was more than eight years old, and some of the cameras were no longer operating. The CordeValle resort also wanted to add video coverage to reduce or eliminate risk and to enhance monitoring.
CordeValle first approached Engineered Lifestyles, a San Francisco Bay area integrator who specializes in hospitality technology, to assess the property and propose a new video system. Engineered Lifestyles specified a new networked system utilizing cameras and recording technology from Panasonic System Networks Company of America. The new 46-camera Panasonic system was a natural choice: Panasonic video technology had already proven effective at Rosewood's Sand Hill Resort in Menlo Park, California, in Silicon Valley, which Engineered Lifestyles had completed the year prior.
“We had good experience with Engineered Lifestyles use of Panasonic technology at Sand Hill,” says Charif Zahrane, IT manager at the CordeValle. “They were very happy with the product after they had it for more than a year.” Zahrane says that his biggest concern was the possibility of downtime, but he heard from colleagues at the sister property that the Panasonic system is dependable and that the cameras “never go down.”
Planning the New System
CordeValle, a Rosewood resort, is a 44-room golf destination located on 1,700 acres in the countryside of San Martin, California, about 25 miles south of San Jose. CordeValle has been ranked as the #14 golf resort in North America, and amenities include the Clos LaChance winery located adjacent to the 6th hole, a 5,000-square-foot full-service spa, hiking, tennis and “complete relaxation.”
In planning the new system, Engineered Lifestyles surveyed the property to identify camera locations and to make sure areas of concern were covered and that there were no issues related to guest privacy. Engineered Lifestyles interviewed each department head, noted areas of importance, and made an overall list of proposed camera locations. All areas were evaluated both by day and by night to determine lighting and lens requirements. Engineered Lifestyles proposed that all parking lot-based cameras would be IP-based network PTZ cameras given the need to monitor cars and guest safety.    
With Panasonic’s CordeValle does not have to worry about a Windows server or the need to bring in other experts. Employees with proper authorization can access the system through a browser anywhere on the property, or from home.
New Installation at CordeValle
For areas requiring a fixed day/night camera, Engineered Lifestyles chose Panasonic's i-PRO WV-NW484S Super Dynamic III vandal-proof network fixed dome camera, which provides true day/night functionality and a clear, crisp image. Super Dynamic III (SDIII) technology delivers 128x wider dynamic range compared to conventional cameras. The camera also features built-in MPEG-4 and JPEG digital signal output (VGA) at up to 30 images per second and day/night switching for optimal clarity in any lighting condition.
Three WV-NW484S cameras were installed outside the security “bunker” near the entrance to the parking area, with others on the tennis court, at the side of the building, above the cart garage entry door, at the swimming pool and on the loading dock, among other locations. Adjustments and modifications can be made directly on the unit itself, which allow for site specific modifications. A ruggedized dome housing protects it in outdoor environments, and the IP66-rated dome is resistant to water and dust as well. At the angle and with the lens in use, the camera can show the license plate of cars entering the property at night.
For well-lit indoor areas, Engineered Lifestyles chose Panasonic's i-PRO WV-NW284 network color dome camera. Management liked that they are able to recess the dome so the amount of the camera visible is minimal, especially in public areas. Locations for the indoor model included behind the front desk, the lobby wine storage, the lobby bar, the spa shop, the ceiling in the kitchen and loading dock hall, and the entrance of human resources.
For outdoor day/night applications needing pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) functionality, CordeValle uses Panasonic i-PRO WV-NW964 all-in-one network day/night PTZ camera with SDIII technology. Features include an auto image stabilizer for applications where vibration or wind is a concern and a built-in sun shield to permit camera locations in direct sunlight. The PTZ model is used on light poles in the parking lot, at the entry driveway of the executive offices, at the bar patio, and at the employee back lot. CordeValle likes the responsiveness of the PTZ movement, which has no lag even though some of the cameras are located hundreds of feet away and connected by fiber-optic cabling. CordeValle also appreciates the quality of the images and the weatherproof dome. For day/night indoor PTZ applications, CordeValle resort uses Panasonic's i-PRO WV-NW202 color network PTZ dome camera. Locations include the pro shop and the hall outside the spa shop.
Video is recorded on Panasonic's i-PRO ND400 with 9 terabytes of storage, which provides up to about 30 days of archived video – more than the integrator expected. The human resource department also uses an off-site, cloud-based digital storage area to keep video for longer periods. The cameras accept Power over Ethernet (PoE) through user-owned PoE switches.
The installation uses a rack mounted patch panel to accommodate cable connections. The use of patch panel ports facilitates troubleshooting and keeps the cable connections clean, organized and easily managed inside the data closet. Camera connections are identified by different color patch ports to aid technicians. Access to various ports is restricted to authorized users.
Image Quality 'Amazing'
The new Panasonic system also ties into the corporate network to provide video access throughout the enterprise. However, the camera side is untouchable. In the security bunker, there are four monitors operating Panasonic's WV-ASM100 monitoring and management software, and security employees stationed at the bunker gate house control the cameras from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Front desk personnel have access to cameras through a web interface to view the parking gate and other key areas after hours.
“The image quality is a whole lot better than what we had,” says Zahrane. “It's amazing. It's an engineered solution so there are no other products in the mix. It's all Panasonic, so all warranty and trouble-shooting involves only a single company.”
Almost immediately, the new system demonstrated the value of improved video surveillance. For example, now if there is an incident the resort can view recorded video of the event. One morning, the resort once again couldn't locate one of the golf carts. In reviewing the video from the night before, resort personnel found images of a vehicle driving on the parking lot after hours, and they could see that one passenger exited the car and drove away one of the golf carts. Personnel were even able to see the face of a person waiting outside the gate house on the video.
In another incident, when a guest lost his watch and wallet on the golf course, the video showed which employee got into the guest’s golf cart right after the guest. “We looked at the recordings and knew exactly what happened,” says Zahrane. “The guest’s belongings were successfully returned, but we wouldn't have known which employee to approach without the video footage.”
A Standard of Performance
Rosewood plans to move toward standardizing the use of Panasonic video surveillance in its various properties, which include 17 iconic hotels and resorts in six countries. Engineered Lifestyles has already completed two installations at Rosewood properties, has another in design, and others still pending. Because some Rosewood properties operate autonomously, Panasonic has to excel repeatedly when compared to competing technologies to get the jobs. One advantage of uniformity across Rosewood properties is the ability of an employee to move from one property to the next and be able to operate the system.
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