Case Study

Kentucky Underground Storage


Kentucky Underground Storage, Inc. (KUSI) is a family-owned business located just 20 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. When the family purchased the former limestone quarry at a foreclosure auction back in the late 1970s, it turned the cave—some 130 feet below the earth’s surface—into an underground storage facility and bottling location for its sister company Highbridge Spring Water, Inc. because of its ideal controlled temperature and rural setting.

Spanning an impressive 32 acres, KUSI’s main facility has millions of cubic feet of subterranean storage space, including specific areas designated to provide specialized protection depending upon the client’s needs. The company stores a diverse range of items, such as medical, legal, and educational files, and even boats and RVs. Because the company also specializes in digitizing records for its clients, KUSI must follow different guidelines and regulations for many of the 450,000 boxes of records it stores. It also needs to ensure its employees, entrances, and facility are secure, and continuously monitored to protect its assets and those of its customers.


Because KUSI is in the business of securing important documents and personal items for customers, it is always interested in the latest developments in the surveillance industry. “We wanted to not only expand our surveillance coverage, but also needed to upgrade cameras for better picture clarity and capability. Tyco developed a plan to help us achieve those goals,” recalled Jeff Baier, director of business development at KUSI. With a need for a change, KUSI also saw an opportunity to increase surveillance in areas it had not monitored previously or had monitored with analog cameras.

“We decided this was a great time to increase security and visibility with more cameras and higher quality, updated equipment,” noted Jared Porter, operations manager at KUSI. Porter added that the analog cameras previously used at the facility had poor clarity and zooming capabilities. In addition, the company needed better review capabilities. “We needed to be able to go back to surveillance and review and zoom in with clarity and detail,” he explained.


Armed with its needs and wish list, KUSI turned to its integrator of many years for fire protection and alarm monitoring services, Tyco Integrated Security (TycoIS), to execute the plan. “We looked at a few other vendors, but the relationship we already had with [TycoIS] and their ability to understand and handle all of our needs at once made them a great fit for the project,” said Baier.

Together, the teams determined that Illustra HD Cameras from Tyco Security Products’ American Dynamics brand would accomplish KUSI’s needs for high-definition, clear pictures that could be easily and reliably retrieved while maintaining image quality and clarity.

“Prior to this project, [KUSI] was dealing with the pains of analog surveillance,” said Mike Joseph, project manager and sales rep at TycoIS. “Anytime they were using recorded video, it would pixelate out as soon as they zoomed in. They needed much better quality video and HD, IP cameras were the right answer.”

While the temperatures and environmental conditions of the cave are ideal for electronics, KUSI and its integrator still had challenges to tackle because of its unique location and 300,000 square feet of inside space to secure, including long distances between cable runs and high ceilings (with cameras as high as 15 feet above the floor of the cave and ceilings as high as 30-plus feet). TycoIS used as much existing cabling as possible to save time and money on the project and the Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology of the new equipment streamlined installation further without affecting network traffic, according to Porter.

The five installed Illustra Cameras, which included the Illustra 610 Mini-Domes with wide angle and varifocal lens, provide widespread protection for both the interior and exterior of the facilities. KUSI is also using surveillance to track a visitor’s progression down aisles in the facility.

Additionally, one 1.8 mm wide angle camera was mounted at car height and integrated with the existing intercom so that visitors can announce themselves verbally and visually, allowing security to get a clear image of the person and car before raising the entry gate.

“Previously, we had a zoomed out area of the entrance, and now we can capture a face and vehicle to identify someone. That has been an important addition for us,” said Porter.

Another area in which KUSI wanted to improve security was the parking lot outside of the cave entrance. “It was important to have surveillance on that area in the event an incident occurred,” Joseph explained. In addition, staff wanted to increase security and keep a close eye on equipment and visitors in the parking lot itself.

One of the selling points for the upgraded integrated solution for the KUSI team, which became even more important after installation, was the remote monitoring capability achieved with the American Dynamics video product. The application allows KUSI security to keep track of surveillance from anywhere via a mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

“The mobile abilities provided by the system made it a very popular capability,” Joseph explained. “Being able to view video offsite has been very beneficial to KUSI’s security team.”

The Future

KUSI takes the responsibility of securing its clients’ documents and assets very seriously. “We have endless records, back-up tapes, and other assets that are valuable and important, and we need to offer security and protection,” Porter said.

With a total of 22 cameras throughout the KUSI facility, TycoIS and KUSI have designed a new system built for the future.

“We really wanted to make sure this project was designed with the future in mind. The systems installed give us the capability to upgrade our cameras as they fail, and that was really important to us,” Porter said.

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