Many schools, colleges and universities rely on their video management systems (VMS) as the hub of their surveillance operations. However, as they look to the future and realize the benefit of taking an integrated approach to managing their campus-wide security plans, the road ahead can be unclear, with variety of systems and solutions available at a wide range of price points. This was the challenge The University of Vermont had been facing.


An extensive and expanding CCTV camera network positioned in and around the buildings and grounds owned or controlled by UVM is a cornerstone of its safety and security operations. This infrastructure is relied upon by the Police Dispatch Team, a group of on-site officers who monitor live camera feeds, coordinate the response to an incident and use footage to conduct investigations. This operation relies on the performance of the university’s video management system (VMS).

For many years UVM has entrusted its VMS requirement to Qognify, a leading provider of video and enterprise incident management solutions with a wealth of expertise in the education sector.

The university initially deployed its open-platform IP video surveillance solution, NiceVision, before migrating to VisionHub in 2017, taking advantage of continuous advances in VMS technology. As a result, its estate of almost 500 cameras (predominantly IP cameras from AXIS) and CBORD CS access control system were integrated, with cameras mapped to entry and exit points around the campus. When Qognify eventually announced the launch of its next-generation enterprise-class VMS – Qognify VMS in 2022, UVM was excited about its capabilities to improve how its Police Dispatch team managed real-time emergency events, as well as for post-incident investigation and daily on-campus surveillance. This is why UVM was one of the first organizations to make the transition to Qognify VMS.

Photo by Sally McCay


The university opted for an on-premise deployment, transferring UVM’s entire camera estate onto Qognify VMS. During the rollout it was vital that the duties of the Police Dispatch team would be uninterrupted. Harlan Howard, Equipment Technician at the University of Vermont’s CATcard Service Center, states: “The university is required by the police to keep 30-days of recorded camera footage so that they can review it if an incident is reported. Together with Qognify we took the decision to run VisionHub and QVMS side by during the deployment. The transition took place over 60 days and was very smooth. In fact, throughout the process the Police Dispatch team was already using Qognify VMS as its sole interface for accessing video.”


A major benefit for the Police Dispatch team that Qognify VMS delivers is ability to quickly create and conduct ‘virtual’ patrols. A route around the campus is designed and the relevant cameras are selected. Live feeds from these cameras are them automatically cycled and displayed on one of the monitors. Harlan comments: “The feedback we have from the police is that this is one of their favorite features of Qognify VMS.” He adds: “In essence, this proactive monitoring has given them an extra patrol, which has resulted in them being able to catch more people in the act.” Another advantage is the ease with which video footage can be exported for evidence purposes. “It was quick before, but Qognify VMS makes it much easier for officers to share video regardless of their technical skill level,” notes Harlan. In addition to the improvements for the Police Dispatch team, the new system is also making life easier for UVM’s CATcard Service Center to manage its expanding camera network. “It is now a much more streamlined process,” says Harlan. “It may take half an hour to physically install a camera, but it is the work of a few minutes to add it to the network via Qognify VMS.”

This speed of install and camera management has helped UVM as it grows the number of cameras in use around the campus. A good example of this is the University’s Fleming Museum of Art, housing Vermont’s most comprehensive collection of art and anthropological artifacts. During the pandemic the previous VMS enabled administrative staff to monitor live camera feeds remotely. Now, with its doors open to visitors, the number of cameras has been Today, the number of cameras has increased to more than 30, and the live monitoring through Qognify VMS helps provide peace of mind to exhibiting artists that their work is being kept safe. Cameras are also being used to monitor transaction points at unattended dining facilities around the campus, where students can purchase food using their CATcard (identification and debit card). Again, connected to the network and managed by Qognify VMS.

Looking to the near future, the university is looking to take advantage of a Homeland Security Grant to increase and improve camera coverage across the campus. “The positive experience of the Police Dispatch team in using Qognify VMS is driving the initiative to expand our surveillance operations. They recognize that more cameras integrated into the system will lead to them dealing with more incidents quicker and more effectively”. Harlan concludes: “For us in the CATcard Service Center, Qognify VMS means we can provide better support to the police and be far more efficient in how we manage and maintain our core security systems.”

Photo by Sally McCay


Located in New England, The University of Vermont (UVM) was founded in 1791 and is one of the oldest universities in the U.S, as well as being a top research institution. Its campus is spread across 460 acres in the city of Burlington, and has a population of more than 11,000 undergraduates, 900 graduate students and over 4,000 full and part-time staff. Being a largely open campus, in the heart of the city, UVM is at the heart of the community sharing public spaces, as well as being the largest employer in Burlington.

Photos by: Sally McCay.