Robert Full, chief of the department of emergency services with Allegheny County, Pa., is on a mission to leverage as much technology innovation as possible, especially as local governments across the country struggle with the down economy.

As such, the department is relying on solutions from Augusta Systems to cope with the growing number of video-surveillance cameras deployed by businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across the Pittsburgh area. Using software from Augusta Systems, these cameras are being tied together to create one converged view that will be leveraged in the county's operations center and used as part of its 911 operations.

"We are the county of three rivers," Full said. "With that, we have a tremendous economic base, as well as industrial and chemical base that is being transported up and down our rivers. There is tremendous value in monitoring in the name of port security. We're using camera technology and software to integrate these systems."

Full said the goal is to integrate these systems into its emergency operations center within a year, allowing 911 call takers to view the video from each of these cameras as necessary and quickly make decisions regarding the appropriate response.

The county's current generation of 911 systems will be able to leverage this technology from the start, Full said. First responders will be able access a Web link, look at the incident and determine how to respond.

"If, for instance, we can tie a call from the interstate, we can go to a URL and take a look at that action and actually confirm or make an analysis and see if an accident is far worse and up the number of responders or advise emergency responders — based on what we see, rather than listen to the 911 caller say it's a horrible accident that just turns out to be a fender bender."

Augusta Systems is building further on that concept. The software company offers products that enable different devices, systems and applications to become automated via a rules-based policy engine, turning a video camera into a smart video camera.

Allegheny's Department of Emergency Services has had experience with Augusta Systems' solutions since 2007, when it used the company’s ThreatViewer to monitor the U.S. Open. Multiple ThreatViewer systems featuring 360° imaging, image data-processing and wireless communications were deployed throughout the golf course. First responders were able to remotely monitor a location or situation in real time.

The department used the software in conjunction with its detection system that monitors air for varying concentrations of oxygen, flammable gas and radioactive materials. Through the system, Full's team was able to detect a propane leak from one of the concession stands.

The department is working with Augusta Systems again to monitor the G20 Summit in September.