Success Story

How a property developer saves five days a month on case management with Solink

July 28, 2023

Table of Contents

“We're extremely happy with what Solink has been able to provide us, and we're looking forward to continuing to grow our relationship.”


  • Every building had a separate surveillance system.
  • Investigating an incident could take a whole day.
  • Accessing video footage required visiting the site and spending hours watching an entire day of footage.


  • Solink connected all existing cameras and systems, creating a single unified video surveillance system with a low upfront cost.
  • Motion search allows finding an incident in a few minutes, which can then be shared with law enforcement by email.
  • Solink’s cloud-based video management system means all cameras can be accessed remotely, on a laptop or mobile device.

Table of Contents

The Client:
Van Aken District

The Van Aken District is located in Shaker Heights, Ohio and includes their main street, filled with interesting local retail and restaurant options. The outdoor areas host live entertainment, making the district a one-stop destination. Jesse Rathner, General Manager of the Van Aken District, sat down with us to discuss how they are using Solink.

Solink protects property developers by providing them 24/7 access to their business remotely and on any device

“The Van Aken District is a mixed-use commercial real estate development currently consisting of three parcels of land with a fourth development happening right now. There’s residential, food retail, non-food retail, entertainment space, and office space. We focus on local small businesses, so it’s pretty unique for the lack of big box stores. The district prides itself on supporting the local community.”

The Challenge:
Tie together four separate systems across multiple buildings and outdoor spaces

Large developments like the Van Aken District are built over several years in phases. Each phase has different developers, contractors, and architects involved. One result of this process is that each building has its own systems installed, and they don’t necessarily communicate with each other. In this case, the Van Aken District had multiple NVR systems that didn’t communicate, requiring multiple site visits during the investigation of a single incident.

“The way the property was designed and the way the contracting process went, there were different architects involved during each phase of development. As a result, each building had its own system and they didn't talk to each other. Whenever there was an issue, we’d be running from one side of the district to the other. Sometimes we’d need to go to four different building command centers to get footage of one situation.”

In addition to the running around, using the NVR systems themselves was not simple. The lack of advanced AI video analytics features meant that investigations could take all day. Searching for video evidence of an incident required scanning hours of footage—and then again for each additional camera angle. Then, saving the footage and sharing it with law enforcement became a second time-consuming process.

"We could only access our security cameras from the building command center, and finding the right footage took a long time. Then, the police often want as many angles of the incident as possible, so it isn’t even the time it takes to find the initial footage on one camera. It’s that again three or four times. If we have to go to the next building to find the next angle, then the timestamps don’t line up, the control interface is different, and you are basically starting from scratch again. Oh, and since there was no way to save the video in the system, if another officer needed the footage you had to run through the whole process again with a second flash drive.”


The lack of advanced features, especially remote access, reduced the security value of the district’s security cameras. In fact, Jesse Rathner dreaded using the security system as it felt slow and unproductive.

“Getting needed video footage from our old system was so bad without cloud access. I’d honestly put it off all day until the last possible moment because I just didn’t want to do it. It was tedious and took a long time.”


  • The Van Aken District was constructed in phases, with different architects involved in each one. This led to four separate security systems being installed.
  • Case management of incidents had multiple pain points. First, finding the evidence required scanning hours of footage, and then again from every separate camera angle, sometimes requiring visits to multiple buildings for a single incident. Then, the footage needed to be downloaded to a USB stick. Finally, sharing the footage with the police would require mailing them a copy of the saved clips.
  • None of the security systems communicated with the others. They also weren’t accessible in the cloud, making remote video monitoring impossible and prohibiting the use of time-saving AI video analytics tools.

When looking at the issues not being resolved by their current security cameras, it was clear that the Van Aken District needed to upgrade their surveillance capabilities. However, with 76 cameras operational, the idea of ripping and replacing expensive infrastructure and spending more money on the installation of new cameras wasn’t feasible. 

Solink takes a technology-agnostic approach to video surveillance. In this case, Solink was able to work with all of the Van Aken District’s current analog cameras while sourcing new ones to improve their coverage over time.

“We're still operating all the analog cameras that we had. That was a big benefit to going with Solink. We knew that our camera system was not getting us the coverage we needed, but we still didn't want to get rid of a camera system that we paid a lot of money to install. That the Solink software could upgrade our system to a cloud-based security camera system with lower upfront cost was a big deal. Now, we have a functional security command center. Additionally, Solink has since helped us expand our coverage with new cameras.”

Overall, Solink has helped tie together four separate NVR security systems into a single cloud-based video surveillance system. This improves the security level provided and makes it easier and faster to use. 

"Solink has been great! Searching for security footage is no longer a pain point. Previously, tracking an incident might have required a whole day and visiting four buildings in person. Now, I can use Camera Linking on my iPhone to track an incident through the district, save multiple angles of the video, and share it with the police without needing to manually download the video to a USB stick from the NVR.”

Having remote access to the entire district’s security camera network, and being able to analyze all of the footage with advanced AI features, has drastically reduced the time it takes to investigate incidents. In fact, given the number of incidents that can occur over a month, Jesse Rathner estimates that Solink has saved him five days per month when doing case management.

"In June we had a lot of issues. The most egregious incident was a robbery that looked like something out of a movie. At about 4:30 in the morning, a truck backed into one of our shoe stores and took down the entire facade. They shockingly only stole about 10,000 dollars worth of merchandise, but they also caused 100,000 dollars worth of damage. Obviously, we needed to be able to pull the footage from that, as well as footage for a couple of youth fight incidents, a stolen flower basket, and some other minor things. I would say that Solink absolutely saved me five days of time in June compared to our old NVR system.”

Van aken utilizes Solink's software to protect every aspect of their business

Solink provides remote access to every camera across the Van Aken District. Camera Linking automatically connects all of the overlapping camera fields of view using advanced AI technology, so you can intuitively move through your camera feeds. That means that finding multiple angles of an incident or tracking an incident across the district no longer takes added time. 

"The old system didn’t help us find or interpret video. Sharing footage with law enforcement was a real problem. With Solink, I can now do anything far more quickly, so I am able to be more helpful. Today, a restaurant manager had their car get hit in the garage. Before I'd have to go and stand in front of the computer in that building’s command center and literally scroll through 12 hours of footage, then upload it to a flash drive, and give it to him. Now, I’m able to type in the timestamp of when he was here, download it, and email it to him and say, ‘here is all the camera footage, please look through it.’ It allowed me to take what was an hours-long process and do it in about 10 minutes. Solink has helped me take my ten hour days down to eight hours."

The Result:
One functional security system that protects the entire district

The Van Aken District now has a fully functional security system. As the main street of Shaker Heights, this means not only a safer district but a safer city. Now that it is easy to provide video evidence of incidents to law enforcement, the district has a deeper relationship with the police. Since Solink allows unlimited users with varied permissions, Jesse Rathner has gone one step further, giving the Shaker Heights Police Department their own user access to the camera systems. 

"We generally use Solink for reactive investigations when issues come up. We’re still regularly in the system though because there is so much going on here. One thing that’s been really helpful is that we can give our partners access. For instance, our outsource security company has access to the cameras. When they're working on something, they're able to use Solink, too. I've also given access to the Shaker Heights Police Department. Now, I don't even necessarily need to be involved in every investigation. Before, this would have required me being present to give them access because the NVRs were all behind locked doors somewhere in the district and we couldn’t give out keys to these command centers."

As Jesse Rathner becomes more familiar with Solink and its capabilities, he is seeing new ways to use the platform. For example, since he manages both the security and maintenance of the district, he is now using the security cameras to review adherence to other procedures.

"There was one day where I was wondering if the team had been taking out the trash in the common areas. I accessed the cameras on my iPhone and saw the garbage bins were all overflowing. Solink told me that we needed to get some people out there immediately."

A lot of the maintenance and other tasks are performed by outsourced contractors. As it becomes time to renew these contracts or request new tenders, Solink can help audit the contractor’s compliance to their contract.

"We are starting to audit our contracting partners. It's coming up on time for us to talk about contract renewals, and it is now easier with Solink to check on their performance."

One surprising insight from installing Solink is that there aren’t enough cameras. When developing a large area like the Van Aken District, the design is based on a theory about how people will use the different areas. However, there are always unexpected uses that come up. In the case of the Van Aken District, that means some cameras aren’t well-positioned to see activity, while other areas are lacking camera coverage entirely.

"The original camera system was installed before I was here. I don't know what the logic was behind where certain cameras were placed, but part of the issue is that there was a theory of how the space would be used. When you design a place, you design it with an idea about how people will use it. Sometimes that's right, and sometimes it isn’t. The district is just so big that there are places where the design theory was way off of reality. For example, we do a seasonal park outside where we close down a road and put out picnic tables with a live band daily. We have no cameras out there that really have a good view of that event because it wasn't a planned place when the district was built. Unfortunately, that’s where most of the action happens, so a lot of fights for example have happened right there because it's become the heart of the district. Solink has really helped us understand where we need more cameras, source them, and have them installed. We are at 76 cameras right now, and I think we need about 20 more to have really good coverage of the entire district. I’m really excited for these new cameras because they will be the latest technology, so a big step up from the current analog ones."

In addition to not having all the cameras such a large district needs, some of the current analog cameras weren’t working. Solink provides automatic health checks of connected systems so you know when cameras are offline.

"We also learned from a Solink audit that some of our cameras were not functioning so we replaced them. Over time, as they break down, we’ll be replacing our other analog with the latest technology through Solink. For now, it’s incredibly helpful having access to them remotely."

In Van Aken District’s words

"Contacting Customer Support is really easy. They’re very accessible, fast, and helpful. It's been great."

“Solink is really looking out for us. They aren’t just trying to make as much money on us as possible. I couldn't tell you off the top of my head what an NVR does, so having someone who knows the technology and I can trust is extremely helpful.”

"Solink gives me back two hours of my day, so now I can focus on other important things. That’s going to be a huge ROI over time."

Van Aken District’s three favorite features

Remote access

Solink makes your data, cameras, and more available from anywhere, anytime. Our cloud video surveillance system gives you eyes on all of your locations from one easy-to-use interface. From security to business intelligence, we offer you the ability to stay connected to your entire business as you grow from one to hundreds or thousands of locations.

Mobile app

Solink has a full-featured mobile app for both iPhone and Android devices. Gain peace of mind by being connected to your locations remotely from anywhere. Save and share clips, review footage using motion- and event-based search functions, and monitor your core metrics. With the Solink mobile app, you can do everything remotely.

Camera Linking

Solink’s Camera Linking AI automatically creates associations between cameras by detecting motion patterns across adjacent fields of view. When reviewing footage in Solink’s video player, you can navigate from one camera to another intuitively without prior knowledge of the site’s layout.

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Warelinked in icon email icon

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.