Surveillance cameras have evolved massively in recent years; a good camera now delivers high-resolution 4K video that is streets ahead of the old grainy video we used to rely on. But new technology comes with new requirements, and installing a network is part of that deal. Or is it? Razberi Technologies has come up with a novel way to keep your costs down without cutting back on your coverage. We caught up with CEO Tom Galvin, who explained the company’s products and spoke about their 2016 installation in Oklahoma with the Kaw Nation Casino.
Casino International: What’s the heart of Razberi Technologies’ products?
Razberi Technologies: We make an intelligent network appliance, the Razberi ServerSwitchIQ, which is known for its all-in-one feature-set of server, storage, network switch, cybersecurity and health monitoring, and PoE (Power over Ethernet).
CI: Which means what, in lay terms?
RT: We have combined the server for video recording, the storage for the video, the network switch, and the camera power, all into one unit and under one part number. In the traditional design all of that would be separate, you would have a network switch, an array for storage, a separate server to orchestrate the video, and you would need to stream video continuously to the corporate network. This gets expensive and can negatively impact other network services and applications. We have combined it all into one, and you only call up the video when you need it.
This is a superior alternative to general-purpose servers, switches, storage, and power for IP video surveillance. The appliances are deployed in a distributed architecture closer to the edge where cameras live, allowing our customers to record high- quality video without making resolution and frame rate trade-offs. Because it works with leading video
management software, customers can access video in the event of an incident. It improves video quality and cyber protections while reducing capital, bandwidth, and space costs.
CI: Is the reason for these components being separate historically so you only have to replace one part if it goes wrong? What is the advantage?
RT: While that is another value, the big advantage is the Virtual LAN (VLAN) configuration. When you have everything all in one you don’t have to configure or provide a separate network for the video. In the past, it doesn’t matter which part of your system goes down, it’s still going to affect the whole system. By combining it into one we reduce the bandwidth usage by 95%, reduce the capital cost, the physical space requirements. We also prevent any kind of cyber-attack, because surveillance cameras don’t need their own IP address, they sit behind the appliance. Our cybersecurity software prohibits rogue devices from using Ethernet connections intended for cameras. A one-click VLAN setup establishes a private, secure network for camera traffic. Once video streams are flowing from the camera, the appliances go to work to automatically detect potential breaches. A recent new product from Razberi also provides camera hardening with Razberi CameraDefense software to easily lock down cameras from cyber attacks. This is a growing area of concern for everyone with an IP network.
CI: Is this a solution geared toward a smaller scale gaming operation?
RT: Razberi is scalable for use in a convenience store level all the way to enterprise class. We provide entry-level 8-port appliances up to 2U enterprise- class 24 port appliances and the ability to have a complete enterprise solution.
CI: You enjoyed a successful installation in 2016 in “gasinos” in Oklahoma – what is a gasino?
RT: That is an unofficial term that refers to a gas station or smoke shop with an internal gaming centre inside. There can be several in a county with one main casino and several smaller casinos.
CI: What size are these operations?
RT: They usually have about 24 cameras, with perhaps 40 slot machines and no tables. It’s really just about slots, no electronic table games either. It’s a low maintenance area that can run 24/7 and needs a low maintenance security solution that can also run 24/7. Kaw Nation, like all the nations in Oklahoma, has a main casino, which may be 300 or more cameras; they have a huge investment there for video cameras, storage, surveillance, licenses; then when you add on a smaller gasino, it’s not cost effective to add those 24 cameras onto the main system. There is usually not the bandwidth between the two facilities to do that. In the past, solutions were not cost effective, but we can now provide customers with something that is cost effective for smaller applications, but also cost-effective for larger operations so they can standardise with network storage and connectivity across the board regardless of the size of the operation.
CI: How is it possible to run an installation like that and monitor it, while staying cost effective? Is monitoring still centralised?
RT: There is a casino technician on site, that’s required by the gaming commission and the video is recorded internally for that facility; it’s not going back to the larger facility. That person is responsible for cash, ticketing, video monitoring, slot maintenance, running the facility day to day. So there is someone watching.
CI: We’re still mulling over your solution being one piece…
RT: Yes it is, including the network switch. The power for the camera is also in there. Think of it like a network switch PoE that has the camera storage and server built in. In all gaming there are two networks – front of house, and back of house, which is for management, HR, facility management, employee data. Front of house is gaming, and all the surveillance. So all casinos have to purchase and budget for two networks. We go in and say, ‘we’re going to give you a server with your camera power and storage, and we are going to include your network switch so you don’t have to purchase a second network switch for all of the video.’ It is all in one box. And it’s a very competitive price. We are processing 4K video too, so it’s the highest quality, and the casino gets the most out of its camera investments.
CI: Most casinos have quite low ceilings because of the combination of video surveillance and low light that is required; with gasinos, are they custom-built for gaming, or are there inherent issues that make your product particularly good for such a setup?
RT: Yes, the small size of our appliance works well for organizations with space constraints. Many of these smaller operations have no room available to house servers, cabinets and other equipment traditionally used for video surveillance systems. Our Enterprise version accommodates up to 24 cameras, so it is easily scalable.
CI: How many installations have you done with the Kaw Nation?
RT: So far we have done two; one is for a larger casino, with about 118 cameras, and we did a new convenience store that houses 65 gaming machines. Both are distributed video, where it is stored on site. For Kaw Nation the need to provide video surveillance for its casinos was an industry requirement. As with most casinos, the Oklahoma Gaming Commission regulations maintain that all casinos provide video surveillance for its gaming tables, cashier windows and cash counting rooms. In addition, Kaw Nation needed a monitoring solution for entryways, parking lots and other outside areas.
Razberi’s intelligent surveillance appliances perform extremely well for the 13 cameras in the convenience store located casino. Not only was our appliance the right size, it helped Kaw Nation meet mandated requirements and proved easy to install and highly reliable.
In the casino, four Razberi appliances back 118 cameras. They monitor the required areas, keep an eye out for suspicious players, and perform crowd control.
For instance, on opening day a $500.00 ticket was taken from a machine. Using Razberi as the primary investigative tool, Kaw Nation identified the individual and her counterpart, turned them over to authorities and returned the money to the guest.