Historically, the issue of security has always been one of prime importance to Pakistan. There are a number of reasons, both on a macro and micro level, which underscore this importance. Yet recently, security issues have taken on a heightened, almost acute, level of importance.
One Pakistani socioeconomic level now experiencing this trend is the education sector; with Pakistani schools now taking aggressive steps to ensure the safety of their students. And recently, the elite LGES school system – located in cities such as Lahore and Punjab – has adopted Hikvision security cameras to help protect their grounds, and their students.
LGES, which stands for Lahore Garrison Education System, is an elite schooling system found throughout present-day Pakistan. This school, currently offering over 150 branches throughout the country, offers primarily an elementary through junior high school curriculum, but does include higher level courses when needed.
What makes LGES truly notable is the fact that it is run by the Pakistani military. This provides a top-of-the-line education for the families of military members at a greatly reduced tuition rate. While students of conventional civilian families are able to attend; a large percentage of the student body consists of the children of the Pakistani armed forces' elite.
But, the benefits provided by LGES must also be balanced against the reality of the current political landscape. As a predominantly military-centric educational organization in Pakistan – and one that caters to the elite – there are those who see these schools as political symbols. As such, this school system has undertaken a system of security upgrades to ensure that LGES remains known for its high-end education and reputation; and not as a recipient of controversial acts of political violence.
The installation of this particular solution took a great deal of imagination and ingenuity. When LGES contacted Digital Links – the firm responsible for this security project – an analog solution was originally intended. Kamran Rashid, CEO of Digital Links, saw the opportunity for a higher technological level of solution. Specifically, Mr. Rashid wanted to implement an IP-based visual surveillance system.
This, however, was not so easily done. Mr. Rashid explained, "The Pakistani government had budgeted for an analog system, so at face value, the money was not there for a new IP-network solution. Also, it is not possible to simply request a larger budget when dealing with large, government-funded projects. We had to use our imagination to make this happen."
One area of key importance, however, could not be compromised. This was the selection of a primary security camera. Digital Links chose Hikvision's DS-2CD892P (N)-IR3 Infrared Network Camera to monitor the LGES school grounds. This camera has a number of features that make it particularly attractive for this project. One of which is its ability to see clearly in both day and night conditions. Mr. Rashid noted, "LGES offers both day and night classes, so the ability of this camera to use high-end infrared technology and accurately monitor both lighting conditions as crucial to this project."
Unfortunately these schools, like many other aspects of Pakistani infrastructure, are liable to receive threats. This reality intensified the search for both high-end technology and sound quality. The durability of the DS-2CD892P (N)-IR3 Infrared Network Camera, which carries an IP66 weatherproof rating, was a factor in this choice. As Mr. Rashid related, "These are big schools we are dealing with. And as such, we needed to have products that were assured of always working, and always working at a very high level. This is why we chose Hikvision."
Other Pieces of the Puzzle
While an IP camera with infrared technology was indispensable for this solution; it was but one piece of a larger IP-based puzzle. The impetus for an IP-solution was obvious, as Mr. Rashid explained: “I really wanted to go with IP for a number of reasons; foremost to do so was the ability to future-proof this solution and the ability to interconnect each individual branch."
In essence, the goal became to have one overall IP-network solution encompassing the entire LGES school system, instead of a hodgepodge of individual solutions working on a branch-by-branch level. But, again, the issue of budgetary restraints needed to meet.
Digital Links employed a creative strategy intermixing necessity with possibility. Certain elements, such as the above-mentioned Hikvision camera, were deemed of high importance and immediately put into play. Others, such as connecting each and every single LGES school branch, were left for the near future. But, importantly, with an IP-network solution, this was possible; whereas a strictly analog system – which was originally budgeted for – would render superior options such as this, largely moot. Mr. Rashid summed up the ideology: "We gave LGES a very smart, quality, IP-based solution; and we were able to do so under a smaller analog budget. We accomplished this by cutting down on margins, using resources to share costs, and never compromising on quality and technology."
One area where Hikvision assisted in this process was with its iVMS-4000 software for monitoring, recording and playback. Mr. Rashid explained that this software allowed LGES to "connect up to 800 channels to our PCs, while offering features such as simultaneous playback and recording, which were all essential to this project."
Overall, through a combination of Hikvision superior technology and creative decision-making skills; LGES now has the foundations for an IP-network solution that will safeguard its students for years to come.