Glens Falls Housing Authority
Created in 1966, the Glens Falls Housing Authority (GFHA) provides safe, well-maintained, and affordable housing to senior citizens and families in and around Glens Falls.
GFHA operates three senior citizen high-rise apartment buildings. The Stichman Towers and Cronin High Rise buildings, located in downtown Glens Falls, provide the area with 181 quality, one-bedroom senior apartments. The third location, Earl Towers, is situated near the historic Village Park in downtown Hudson Falls and provides an additional 75 one-bedroom apartments.
Further serving the community’s needs, La Rose Garden Apartments provides housing for low-income families. This complex, located in a residential neighborhood of western Glens Falls, consists of fifty apartments – one, two or three bedrooms – with rental subsidy available for those qualified.
As management began to strategize ways to bring even more value to the properties, it became obvious that part of ensuring a safe environment for its tenants entailed installing video surveillance of the buildings and grounds.
How Does Video Surveillance Help Protect Your Property?
The first step in bringing in the new technology was to find an informed and professional vendor that was able to bring the most to the table within a reasonable budget. After vetting several such companies, the GFHA board agreed on local company, Tech II Business Services, Inc.
Tech II proffered a full-fledged solution that included a technology design suited specifically to GFHA’s needs and environment, with a plan that encompassed not only the physical installation, but also a site protocol that provided guidelines for the installation team’s on-site behavior.
Site Protocol Guidelines:
The first technological hurdle faced was how to practically and affordably connect the properties with enough bandwidth to seamlessly stream video feeds without putting in place expensive point-to-point circuits through an internet provider. Because GFHA’s properties are some of the tallest in the Glens Falls area, Tech II engineers were able to design a solution that used wireless bridges. Commercial-grade transmitters and antennas were placed at the top of the buildings to beam data through the air to be received at the other buildings – all with 450 MB connectivity to stream high-quality video signals. The longest distance covered by the wireless bridge is about 3 miles as the crow flies, and in ideal conditions, they could travel much farther.
La Rose Gardens
With the network in place, the camera styles and placement were next on the list. Of all the locations, only La Rose Gardens had any video surveillance already in place. Continually keeping cost in mind, Tech II was able to reuse the existing analog cameras side-by-side with the new digital cameras. Bringing in a state of the art NVR controller allowed all of the devices to work on the same infrastructure without additional capital output.
Because GFHA received a grant requiring high-level security hardware, which included concerns about country of origin for hardware, Tech II proposed American made NVRs and cameras. Each location had a mixture of 3 megapixel interior dome cameras and 5 megapixel external cameras installed – some with pan, tilt and zoom capability that could be remotely controlled. This provides coverage internally of elevators, lobbies, common areas, hallways, and entrances. Externally, the parking lots and entrances are also monitored. Each location has license plate recording capability to monitor access to the property, and Cronin High Rise’s cameras secure the garage, which also hosts equipment for the Glens Falls Police Department.
Once all the equipment was installed, there was still the critical step of training the staff on how to access and use the product. Tech II used this opportunity as a second level of testing. Anything that didn’t look right was addressed and adjusted so that the final product met GFHA’s custom needs.
Ease of use was further enhanced by choosing a product that offered an unlimited number of users for the software viewer, which assisted in keeping down recurring costs. Additionally, because the cameras were integrated through their existing firewall, the video feeds became available both onsite and anywhere with internet connectivity. If needed, cameras may be monitored on smart phones and tablets, in addition to PCs.
When all was said and done, the directors and staff of GFHA attested that the functionality and usability of the system met all their expectations, and the considerations taken as it was rolled it out to the staff addressed their needs. Working with a conscientious partner that did what they said they would, when they said they would with confidence and professionalism made the daunting process of taking on such a large project a much better experience than anticipated. The project came in right on budget, even with the tweaks and additions that cropped up through the progression of the installation.
The surveillance system has already begun to pay for itself in showing where liability is – and is not – attributable to the Housing Authority. It is no longer simply a game of He Said/She Said when there is video as an unbiased observer.
Tech II’s follow up service has been beyond expectation. Because of built-in offsite error monitoring, there have been times when Tech II was aware that there was an issue before the site staff were. In Robert’s words, “That’s rewarding to us – to know that somebody else has got their eyes and ears on it other than us, because we’re running around trying to do housing business.”
As GFHA continues its journey into an ever-changing technological landscape, Tech II will be there to support and guide. With next year’s grant, remodeling the Larose Gardens property is next on the list. The older cameras were able to integrate with the new system, but they’re looking forward to putting in more of the new, high resolution equipment which will seamlessly merge into the existing system.
To find out more about the Glens Falls Housing Authority, visit their website at http://www.glensfallshousingauthority.org/ or contact the office directly at (518)793-2583.
For more information on the many services Tech II has available to help your business, visit us online, or give us a call at (518) 587-1565 and allow us to help simplify your technology.