Exterior of Physics Institute in Brazil

IFUSP increases security and decreases costs

Organization: Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Customer need: Access management, Property and asset protection
São Paulo, Brazil, 

The University of São Paulo, Brazil's largest public university, has experienced a complete return on investment for their Axis solutions that provide security, hybrid teaching, and access control for the Data Center. 

Security for universities 

The University of São Paulo campus encompasses 1.4 square miles. In addition to the Physics Institute, there are other teaching units, advanced research institutes and museums that function as an educational center. There is also an open park for the inhabitants of theSão Paulo. Therefore, security and access control to the buildings are essential to preserve the good use of the space by both students and visitors. 

Lab inside the IFUSP

The Physics Institute needed to replace its old analog video surveillance system installed in two of the 28 buildings that make up the complex. Rather than having to install a DVR server in each of the Institute’s 28 buildings, the Institute chose to switch to a 100% IP and PoE video surveillance network to monitor all areas of interest aiming to protect students, professors and employees anywhere in the institution and to control access to its Data Center.

“One of the challenges for the security team was the theft of bikes and bike parts,” says David Bärg Filho, Systems Analyst at the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo. Just the presence of cameras was enough to reduce the thefts. From the video images managed by Digifort VMS, the IFUSP security team was able to identify patterns of behavior of people with no ties to the university committing infractions, which include theft or illegal activities. This led to changing the position of the bicycle rack to minimize possible thefts or damage to property. 

This was just the first success that the IP video surveillance system brought to the institute. Thefts were also rampant inside the IFUSP Main Building, which is three stories high and attracts 4000 people daily. To mitigate that, access control with turnstiles were installed and integrated into the University’s database using an Axis camera. 

Turnstiles inside IFUSP

"Although the USP system offers an application with QR Code, no turnstile could read the code, and this was crucial for us, since besides classes, there are academic events that gather more than 400 external guests, making manual registration impossible. The solution we found was to use an Axis camera attached to the turnstiles to read the QR Code,” explains Filho. With the cameras and access control integrated into the University's database using Averics software, the theft rate has dropped to zero. 

Video intercom: security and economy 

As a public education institution, the brand and model of any security technology equipment cannot be chosen without obtaining multiple competitive bids. Ziva Technologies and Solutions presented Axis in the process with the mission of automating the entrance of some of the buildings that had 24-hour outsourced security guards. Ziva’s solution using Axis met and exceeded the needs of the Institute with the best cost-benefit.

Administrators were unsure of the value of a new IP system and hesitant at first to invest. However, once they witnessed the image quality of Axis network cameras and the ease of installation and expansion, they committed to the IP solution as the right choice. 

Intercom at IFUSP

The solution was an Axis video intercom with a full HD camera and features to deal with the challenges of lighting, visitor height, and surrounding noise. Besides the technical challenges, there was also the cultural issue: founded in the 1970s, would the IFUSP community adapt well to the technology? Thus, the system needed to be robust, because any problem could be used to discredit the project. 

Before installation, Ziva performed a Proof of Concept with the Axis video intercom and access controller, plus the Polycom VVX VoIP phone, where the guards could see the video intercom image, talk to the visitor, and release access remotely. The test also showed that entry could be granted via the University's QR Code system only to students, faculty and staff, or in other cases, the doorman could talk to the person and grant access remotely, like a remote gatekeeper. 

"We installed the system in two entrance gates, and, at the time, I was a little worried because I thought the cost was getting high. My surprise came when I compared it with the cost of three professionals needed to carry out 24-hour surveillance of the entrances which was higher. The result is that the solution paid for itself in a few months. The concern now was: will it work? And what I can say is that every day I come here, and I am amazed at how well the system and the integration work," testifies David Bärg Filho. 

In all these years, our experience with Axis has been the best. All the cameras installed six years ago are still working without losing quality. How many cameras would we have had to buy if the service life of the equipment was shorter?
David Bärg Filho
Systems Analyst at the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo

Security for Data Center

The University of São Paulo is ranked #9 in the world for producing the most amount of research, according to the Center for Studies in Science and Technology of Leiden University in Holland. At the Institute of Physics, professors, researchers and undergraduate students participate in research groups to develop Brazilian science. The task requires High Performance Computing (HPC) machines that are allocated in the Data Center of IFUSP. 

"Our Data Center centralizes the machines from the different research groups, it is a colocation model - that is, we provide electric power, no break and air conditioning, but the maintenance of the machines corresponds to each project. Therefore, sometimes researchers need access to the site to perform some intervention at any time, but we could not simply distribute access keys without an entry control," explains the systems analyst. 

The solution was to automate the access doors with permissions according to hierarchy, so that only employees and those responsible for each computer cluster could have access, even at night or on weekends. An Axis Network Door Controller, which offer the benefits of open architecture IP, made the project possible by being a smarter, more flexible alternative to traditional access control. Still, Axis network cameras capture who has entered and left the room.

From video surveillance to hybrid education 

In the future, the high-resolution video and audio capabilities of Axis network cameras could be used for solutions far beyond security. During a visit to the Axis Experience Center in São Paulo, IFUSP System Analyst David Bärg Filho realized that the quality of the images from the cameras could meet a demand that has grown during the pandemic: hybrid classrooms. And, more than that, that the equipment already installed could be used for this purpose through an application, demonstrating a future-proof power that was one of the differentiators presented by Ziva. 

"Ziva already has a history of projects with USP and we always present players that offer more than just cameras, but solutions that will add value in the long term, adding new services and features. We understand the difficulty of obtaining public resources and, therefore, our task is always to present a solution that we know the customer is able to expand, change, evolve the project with us or with another partner," says Paulo Alexandre Dias Oliveira, Account Manager at Ziva. 

In this sense, the visit to the Axis Experience Center was not intended to sell, but only to demonstrate what the manufacturer has to offer for the Institute and University security in general. During the demonstration, David Bärg Filho, identified the right product for the Institute's auditorium that is used for hybrid classes and events.

"The next day we integrated three Axis video surveillance cameras into Zoom. I like new things, but with each new project, I enter new terrain that I must carefully assess so as not to waste public resources. However, because I knew the quality of Axis and also of the Digifort software, I was put at ease”, concludes Bärg. Today, four of the Institute's six auditoriums already have Axis cameras integrated into remote teaching platforms for hybrid activities. The fact that the solution can be used concurrently with property surveillance has brought versatility and savings both in terms of camera acquisition, as well as infrastructure for installation and use.

The next step is to fully outfit the auditorium with the appropriate Axis video and audio equipment to enable hybrid learning. Within this context, the visit showed that Axis equipment offers all the necessary requirements for this purpose and already has the experience and confidence of IFUSP. Thus, it is certain that the manufacturer and the integrator, Ziva, will enter the competition to continue this winning partnership for Brazilian science. 

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