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Success Story

How DCSP protects the vulnerable in Winnipeg using Solink

May 6, 2024

Table of Contents

"Solink is an extension of our team. You take the time to understand our goals and our use cases, and then help us execute on them.”

Concerns

  • DCSP needs to have remote access to cameras from multiple locations together.
  • Real-time monitoring is critical to responding to incidents as quickly as possible.
  • The organization was new to using security cameras, so they didn’t have expertise on how to use them internally.

Results

  • Solink connects owned cameras and partners’ cameras across an expanding swath of downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba so they can be monitored remotely at the DCSP’s central communication & dispatch hub.
  • DCSP staff can monitor all the cameras on the Solink Video Wall in real time to alert response teams to any potential incidents.
  • Solink Sales and Customer Success Teams have become extensions of the DCSP Team, helping them reach their goal of a safer community for everyone.

Table of Contents

The Client:
Downtown Community Safety Partnership

The Downtown Community Safety Partnership (DCSP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a safer and more welcoming downtown. They provide 24/7 assistance to support vulnerable and at-risk individuals and enhance community safety, health and well-being for everyone who works, resides, or visits downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Glenda Vollrath, the Manager of Business Systems and Community Engagement, and Sina Aiello, the Marketing Strategy Consultant, at DCSP discuss how Solink has helped with this mission.

"The DCSP is 100% about safety. If you live downtown, work downtown, play downtown, learn downtown, or just happen to be downtown, we are here to help. We're here for everybody, and our teams recognize the diverse needs of those individuals that frequent the downtown Winnipeg area."

Security personnel monitoring multiple cctv screens showing various outdoor locations in a surveillance control room.

The Challenge:
Utilize existing and new security cameras to protect the vulnerable in downtown Winnipeg, MB

“This is our first foray into cloud video security. We didn’t have access to any security cameras before Solink. We envisioned the Beacon Program and then sought out a partner to help us execute on it. We performed a thorough review of the market thereafter.”

Summary:

  • DCSP primarily accesses external cameras owned by community partners. However, they do own or purchase cameras when a potential community partner lacks external cameras and is located at a strategic site. To coordinate outreach, they need to have all of these camera feeds available remotely from their dispatch center.
  • When vulnerable people need aid, for example due to being caught in the cold or an overdose, minutes matter. As such, DCSP needs to be able to monitor all of their cameras in real time.
  • Before implementing Solink, DCSP had no experience with installing or monitoring security cameras. They had clear goals for their usage but needed help from experts to achieve them.

DCSP has been serving the downtown Winnipeg community since September 2020. About two years ago, they formulated a plan to extend their monitoring capabilities with security cameras under the “Beacon Program”. This would require mainly outdoor security cameras owned by community partners, secondarily potentially newly purchased cameras when a community partner was lacking external cameras and thirdly a platform that would allow for real-time remote monitoring.

 

While the potential benefits of security cameras were clear, they didn’t have experience utilizing this technology. They ultimately chose Solink because the Solink Sales and Customer Success Teams went out of their way to understand the unique use cases, goals, and challenges faced by DCSP and help them achieve their goals.

"We did an extensive review of the market and met with several of Solink’s competitors. Solink has a solid product and it was clear that you could help us achieve our goals. However, what really sold us was the way that Solink took the time to understand our needs and clearly articulate your value proposition. You made choosing and implementing Solink very easy. This extended long after we signed the contract. They’ve really supported us in realizing our vision.”

The Solution:
Remote access to multiple camera systems and guidance on their use

When DCSP conceived of implementing security camera monitoring within the Beacon Program, they were worried about the potential backlash. Thankfully, the community was on board.

“When we first had the vision for the Beacon Program, I was worried that there’d be some objections to the use of security cameras. We’ve instead found overwhelming receptivity to the plan, including from many of the large businesses and educational and entertainment institutions downtown. It’s helped strengthen our great relationships within downtown Winnipeg and move the ball further down the field in our overall goal of engaging the community in making a safer downtown core.”

While DCSP relies on their business partners’ outdoor cameras to the extent possible, they also needed more coverage around key locations where existing third-party cameras weren’t available.

“We didn’t own any cameras when the Beacon Program started. Solink got us in touch with a local business to purchase and install cameras. They were very professional.”

In addition to their owned cameras, DCSP has access to the outdoor cameras of a growing number of local businesses. This helps expand their capabilities without excessive upfront costs or delays. Solink gives them real-time remote access to multiple camera systems from their communication hub & dispatch center.

“The fact that we don’t need to own the cameras is huge for us. We can enter into an agreement with a business, have Solink installed on their premises, and then gain access. That’s faster and more cost effective than needing to get permission to install cameras, purchase them, and then have them installed. It’s helped us build these strategic relationships with local businesses, too.”

DCSP’s mandate focuses specifically on the downtown region, and as their capacity expands it makes the visibility gaps clearer. This has led them to reach out to specific new partners in hopes of expanding their security camera footprint.

"Our mandate is focused on a very specific catchment, and we don’t go outside that area. We are now reviewing where we have cameras or access to them and where we don’t. We can now look at specific streets without coverage, see who has cameras there, and approach them to see if they’d be interested in joining our program. We are also partnering with Winnipeg Police Service and will soon have access to some of their cameras to further enhance the safety downtown."

While the vision for the Beacon Program was clear, DCSP was new to security cameras and needed guidance on how to execute on their goals. During their extensive industry review, they chose Solink because the team made sure they were equipped with the skills needed to achieve their goals.

"We were looking at security cameras as another part of our safety toolkit. We weren’t just looking for a vendor, but also a partner who’d understand what we were trying to create and help us get there. Maybe there were other vendors who could have helped with the monitoring aspect, but only Solink actually took the time to understand who we are and what we want to accomplish. He understood we are a not-for-profit and were solely focused on the safety aspect. He got our use cases and objectives and helped build out a custom solution. That level of customer service has not changed even years after signing the initial contract.”

The Result:
A clear vision for a safer downtown Winnipeg

DCSP is committed to expanding their capacity to help the people in downtown Winnipeg. One way they are doing this is by expanding the number of security cameras they are actively monitoring as well as the number of hours per day they are monitored.

"We are expanding our network of cameras. In fact, we’ll be discussing the next phase with Solink shortly. As we grow the number of cameras in our network, our goal is to also expand to 24/7 video monitoring. That’ll hopefully happen by the end of this year.”

Another way they are looking to broaden their capabilities is to utilize more of the features offered by Solink. 

"We haven’t gone through the process of setting up our Solink Dashboard yet. We aim to do this soon. We are getting good information about what types of motion and where would be worth alerting us, so as we capture that information we want to utilize it. We are a very data-driven organization so we definitely look forward to utilizing all of this. Even for community engagement, gathering this data on the Solink Dashboard will help us show current and potential partners the scale of what we are doing and how they can and do help us."

In DCSP’s words

"The Solink Team is so reliable. I know that, if I send an email right now, you will respond very promptly. You are so creative, too. When we give you our objectives, the Solink Team always figures out how to best accomplish them."

“Solink is a compassionate business that truly cares about our success.”

DCSP’s three favorite features

Video Wall

“Solink Video Wall turns the platform into a heads-up display in our central communication & dispatch hub.” Adjust the number of cameras displayed at once, make the POS camera screen larger, rotate through all of your camera feeds, or select a particularly important feed to always be on the display. Video Wall helps businesses monitor their entire location in real time.

Video Player

“The Solink Video Player offers seamless access to both live and recorded camera footage, providing a centralized solution for our needs”
Manage your security effectively with tools designed for quick searching and easy footage management. The Solink Video Player keeps you informed and in control.

Camera Linking

“Being able to save and share video footage directly from the Solink platform is helpful when incidents occur.”
Once video documentation of an event is found, it can be saved indefinitely and shared with all stakeholders, including law enforcement, members of staff, and government officials.