The two new video walls each consist of six screens in a horizontal array measuring 10 feet wide by about 4.5 feet tall. The wall can display images from a variety of sources including webcams installed across the county, weather channels, national news, and map and logistical data.
“We used to be able to display just one image at a time,” Schultz says. “Now we can show up to 18 screens at a time, and manipulate the images vertically, horizontally — any way we want to.”
Schultz laughs when asked if the wall is easy to manage.
“I can even figure it out — that shows you how easy it is,” Schultz says of CineMassive’s CineNet software. “It’s set up like a control panel. Just drag and drop from any desktop.”
Although the department hasn’t had any dire emergencies since the video walls were installed, they’ve proved valuable for training.
“We have the second-largest chemical plant in New York in our county, and a spill could affect major population areas,” Shultz explains. “We did a simulation of a spill taking into account weather and communication with other agencies and put all of that information on the screens, and it worked great.”
The agency did not have to upgrade any of its current technology to put the video walls into action. “It runs on Microsoft Windows, and we didn’t have to upgrade anything,” says Shultz.
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Marty Martin, director of public works, says the system plays a large role in the city’s mission to increase situational awareness.
“The video wall technology gives us the opportunity to compose visual information and take real-time camera input and other sources — online, live TV and active programming — and put it all in a single place for everyone to see at the same time,” Martin says.