Utrecht University Centralizing video surveillance on campus

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With 30,000 students, Utrecht University is the largest educational institution in the Netherlands. Since upgrading to Security Center Omnicast™, the security team now monitors 300 cameras from one central location to maximize resources and keep everyone on campus safe.


With 30,000 students, 6,000 employees, 600 professors, and dozens of buildings, the Utrecht University is the largest educational institution in the Netherlands. Every year more than 550 students enroll in doctorate degrees and to date, twelve Nobel Prize winners have attended this internationally renowned university. Most buildings are located at the campus De Uithof in the northeast of the city, but the University also has several buildings in the medieval center of Utrecht. The security team manages security across the campus from a remote monitoring center, working closely with on-foot security officers to coordinate response.

“Every time someone badges in, the video pops-ups,” explained Rene Slegers, Chief Commercial Officer at Mobile Shutdown Systems. “This makes it easier for the operator to do his work. Instead of looking at every single camera to watch people going in and out, Security Center does that for him.”


Years ago, Utrecht University installed many analog camera systems with the help of their trusted integrator, Chubb Fire and Security. These standalone systems were not complicated, but difficult to manage. After every incident, a security officer would have to physically go to the video recorder to review evidence in the hopes of finding more information. The investigative process was inefficient and time-consuming. Eventually, the security team began looking for a better solution with support from Chubb. They wanted to be able to consolidate all independent video systems within a single platform and manage it all from a new central control room.

The import tool in Synergis saves Mobile Shutdown Systems tremendous amounts of time during the configuration and setup process of cardholders, allowing them to automatically import cardholders and credentials with pre-programmed access control privileges from the customer’s access control system.


Today, the security team at Utrecht University is handling incidents and investigations on campus faster. That’s because the university migrated to IP video surveillance technology using Security Center OmnicastTM. The security team can now access video from over 300 cameras from their central control room. That means when incidents happen, officers can quickly find video and conduct investigations without leaving their desk.

Since the Omnicast system is integrated with an intrusion detection system, officers are also immediately notified of potential break-ins anywhere on campus. Video of an intrusion event automatically comes up on the operator’s monitor in the control room so they can quickly respond. While maximizing resources has led to significant cost savings, the biggest perk for the university has been providing a more secure campus.

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The security team can now access video from over 300 cameras from their central control room. When incidents happen, officers can quickly find video without leaving their desk.


The system’s scalability has helped the university expand security operations over time. The team started with 10 cameras and are now monitoring over 300 cameras from various manufacturers.


The team has maximized resources while ensuring privacy. Many users have access to the system, but each person can only view cameras and handle tasks that are necessary for their job.


Guards access the system from anywhere using the latest web interface. This has reduced the number of manned desks and costs, while empowering on-foot guards with convenient remote viewing.


With many configuration options available in Security Center, the security team has maximized resources while still ensuring privacy. Many users have access to the system, but each person can only view cameras and handle tasks that are necessary for their job.

At the university, different people have access to the video system, but they do not all have the same rights. For example, a receptionist will have limited privileges, so they work from a very simple user interface. Operators in the control room can do much more, but not everything. Only the functional administrators have access to everything. For instance, they can access archived video and transfer files to the city police agencies if needed. All of this is quite simple to do because the user interface is very easy to use at all levels. Furthermore, everything from the software to the manuals is properly translated into Dutch. We can also customize the interfaces per user group, simplifying operations even further,” explained André de Beus, Specialist in Security Technology and Advisor at Utrecht University.


The Security Center platform is installed on approximately 40 client computers located in the university’s control room and at various reception desks. The security platform currently runs on two directory servers, one of which is situated on the campus and one in the city center. Redundant archiving is setup as well, so in the event of a power outage or maintenance, each archiver can take over the other’s tasks.

In case any issues arise, Chubb is available for on-demand support. The system experts can remotely log into the security management system and perform preventive and corrective maintenance. “We’re supporting a complex security management system with virtual servers. That’s why, as their trusted integrator, we value cooperation and communication with the university’s IT department and end users”, said Jos van Kerkhof, Account Manager from Chubb. “In addition, we regularly come by to check if everything is meeting our customer’s expectations and to discuss any new platform capabilities with the Genetec representative.”


While the security team reviews most incidents after they occur, they plan to do more live viewing moving forward. That’s because the university is looking at equipping on-foot guards with body wearable devices which are supported within Security Center.

“We want to equip our people with body cameras,” said de Beus. “In case of emergencies, our crisis team in the control room can watch what is happening in real-time to make better and faster decisions.”

The latest web interface in Security Center makes it easier and more efficient for guards to access the system from anywhere because software no longer needs to be installed on workstations. This allows the university to reduce the number of manned reception desks and associated costs, while still empowering on-foot guards with convenient remote viewing. With cybersecurity measures built into Security Center such as encrypted communication between cameras and client application, the university feels confident that their video system will always remain secure.


Since installing Security Center, the team is working with greater efficiency. While maximizing its resources has led to significant cost savings, the biggest perk for André de Beus and his team has been providing a more secure campus for students, staff, and visitors.

“When incidents occur, our team is retrieving video and information much faster, so we are able to respond effectively at an early stage. Offenders will also notice that the campus police officers react very quickly if they are up to no good. This is the best advertisement for our security efforts—that we can immediately act when something is wrong. This not only increases campus security but also gives students and employees the feeling that their safety is taken seriously,” concluded de Beus.

© Genetec Inc., 2018. Genetec, Genetec Omnicast, and the Genetec Logo are trademarks of Genetec Inc., and may be registered or pending registration in several jurisdictions. Other trademarks used in this document may be trademarks of the manufacturers or vendors of the respective products.

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