In 2003, Kyoto University opened its third campus. This new area, labeled the "Katsura Campus", is notable for the distinctly forward-thinking mentality in which it approaches education. Nicknamed a "Techno-science Hill", this campus architecturally blends both Kyoto's natural beauty with the university's modern technology to foster a unique learning environment for its graduate students.
For any school, let alone such a scientifically-intensive one such as Kyoto University, security is a major concern. Added to this is the fact that Katsura Campus is composed of five distinct areas – or "clusters" as they are referred to – and the total area provides a number of significant security challenges.
Originally, a comprehensive analog CCTV solution was implemented to secure the Katsura Campus. However, in 2011, with a desire to move from analog to an IP-based CCTV technology, Kyoto University made the decision to upgrade its existing Katsura Campus security infrastructure.
A Uniquely Japanese Solution
Unlike many CCTV upgrades, the new solution at Katsura Campus would be mitigated by a number of important decision-making factors.
From the very onset, the fact that the original analog CCTV system was still relatively new had important budgetary ramifications. In essence, university officials decided that any upgrades would need to be largely compatible with the already existing components. This would eliminate wasted financial expenditure and the needless replacement of still-operational security apparatus – both hallmarks of a larger Japanese mentality to fight waste.
Furthermore, on a more practical level, a surgical – rather than a wholesale – upgrade would help the university save funds through a notoriously difficult economic time period.
Additionally, any IP-based improvements were required to do more than simply improve the quality of security provided; upgrades must also streamline efficiency and provide stability – all requirements that echo a larger Japanese value system. Haoze Lu, a technical support advisor for Javatel (the authorized distributor and integrator for Genetec Inc. – the firm that partnered with Hikvision to administer the Katsura Campus Project) remarked, "This was an interesting case. We needed to provide quality, but within a framework that both simplified and improved upon the existing CCTV solution."
Options, such as new IP cameras, were quickly ruled out based on the stated criteria. Instead, Mr. Lu turned to Hikvision to meet the customer's needs: "Earlier, I had tested a number of Hikvision products. I was extremely impressed with both their reliability and their easy-to-use functionality. I felt Hikvision's reputation for quality perfectly matched the requirements that this Kyoto University project called for."
Specifically, Hikvision's DS-6101HFI-IP Digital Video Server was selected. This digital video server addressed a number of major security shortcomings that Kyoto University had recently voiced concern over. Chief among them was the space required for storing analog data.
The DS-6101HFI-IP immediately solved this pressing issue with its state-of-the-art digital technology. When compared to the original, which utilized an MJPEG/MPEG4 compression algorithm; the Hikvision DS-6101HFI-IP's improved H.264 compression algorithm greatly minimizes video-stream data, and helps save on storage space. Furthermore, as Mr. Lu explained, "Like other Hikvision products, this unit is extremely stable. There were no technical concerns that might arise when working with other components – both pre-existing and into the future."
The DS-6101HFI-IP Digital Video Server is able to accomplish this by utilizing a number of Hikvision technological improvements, such as high-performance DSP hardware compression, H.264 video compression, dual stream technology, and the ability to support both variable bit rate and frame rate.
Importantly, all of these improvements were achieved not by adding additional burden to security personnel at Kyoto University; but instead by simplifying their work-related efforts. "Now," as Mr. Lu explained, "it was much easier and far more efficient to both store and retrieve data." Furthermore, Mr. Lu related that security staff on the Katsura Campus "were both surprised and relived to find how easy the switch from analog-based video recording to IP digital-based actually was. This was in large part due to Hikvision's easy-to-use functionality."
In Japan, the decision-making process is often noted for its deliberate and careful pace. In effect, it is considered imprudent to quickly decide upon a relatively unimportant issue, let alone something as significant as a university's security. Instead, a process of deliberation and analysis is valued. But, the success of Hikvision technology has made this decision-making process much easier for Kyoto University's administration. Both proven benefits and problem-free functionality have laid the groundwork for the DS-6101HFI-IP to be introduced across the university's other campuses in the near future.