Case Study: Video Surveillance System Upgrade

Hotel Commonwealth, Boston, MA

The Hotel Commonwealth sits at the crossroads of business, education, and sports. As the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox, it features three restaurants, shops, and 245 hotel rooms. Many of the rooms have a great view of historic Fenway Park. Since the property is located in downtown Boston, security is a top concern. When they decided to upgrade their video surveillance system, they called K&M Communications.


According to Lucas Mulkern, Director of Rooms, the hotel had challenges caused by the old system. “We wanted to upgrade our older analog cameras, as well as improve coverage of the parking garage and back alley. We also needed a system that provided remote access via VOIP.”

The design of the hotel was another challenge. It consisted of two main buildings built at different times. The original building used analog cameras and the expansion building used digital cameras. Some of the existing cameras were not working properly and in need of upgrades. “There is a parking garage accessible by the public 24/7 which was difficult to monitor and needed increased camera coverage.” There is so much activity in the alleyway between the two buildings we wanted to increase our camera coverage.”


Savings from Reconfiguring Existing Cameras

Actual Camera Images


Mulkern reached out to the vendor of the existing digital cameras. That company sent a quote with an equipment list without visiting the facility. IT services provider, Boston Help Desk, recommended K&M Communications to install the cabling. K&M and Axis Communications, the camera manufacturer, came to the hotel and walked the property. They made several recommendations and pointed out flaws in the existing layout. They also explained the advantages of using Axis equipment and their VOIP technology. “K&M made some great recommendations,” Mulkern explained. “For instance, they suggested reusing 26 existing digital cameras and wire them into the new system. We liked their suggestions and went with K&M and Axis since they offered a complete solution.”

Rob Lane, President of K&M explained, “K&M is a fully licensed and insured system integrator. We work with burglar alarms, video surveillance systems, and video conferencing systems. We also install wiring and cabling for computer networks. It was great to work with Axis Communications on this job. We were able to save the hotel 40 to 50% by reusing their existing digital cameras.”

Chris Cultrera, a Tier 3 Security technician from K&M led the installation and wiring team. He was Mulkern’s day-to-day contact and wired all of the new and existing cameras. But like many jobs, things didn’t always go as planned. “When I got to the job,” Cultrera said. “I needed to walk the installation several times to locate the cameras and understand the job. Many of the cameras were identified. But several of them had no labels or had creative names that I had to figure out. I also learned the hotel had several buildings which meant the cabling was challenging. There were two different cabling systems in place. One system was 15 years old and the other system was a few years old. At the end of each day, it was really satisfying to show Lucas the new cameras and how the system works.”

Hotel Commonwealth purchased 31 new Axis cameras plus recording equipment and accessories. The system featured a high-definition video recording station with 24TB of storage. K&M did recommend one important upgrade. K&M installed a 65” LED television allowing the hotel security team to view an 8 x 8 grid of images at one time.

“Working with K&M was great. They were knowledgeable about the cameras and how to use different types in different situations. They were also helpful migrating existing cameras into the new system so we got more than what we bargained for. The image quality is excellent and seeing the images on the large HDTV screen is great. You can see everything. We plan to keep expanding the system a little at a time. K&M even ran extra cables to accommodate the new cameras when we’re ready to expand.”

Lucas Mulkern, Director of Rooms, Hotel Commonwealth

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