Sustaining a Sustainability Company With World-Class Surveillance

Sustaining a Sustainability Company With World-Class Surveillance

Doing good for the world is not always a straightforward task. Even virtuous projects can be met with obstacles and setbacks. Here’s how the Tyco Cloud solution of our partners at Johnson Controls helped a leading West Coast recycling company to better monitor their recycling donation stations so they can decrease instances of vandalism and theft, and uphold their mission to be sustainable.


Let me first introduce the aforementioned company. This is a leading family-owned recycling business, founded on the principles of protecting the environment and supporting local communities.

Through their partnerships with non-profits, schools and community groups, they recycle clothing, shoes and household textiles, providing both environmental and economic benefits.  Their recycling efforts reduce the amount of landfill waste, and they also assist in funding local programs to ensure their recycled clothing benefits people in their area communities, as well as those in third world countries.  In addition, they work with local organizations to provide recycling education to surrounding communities.

From Vandalism to Theft – The Remote Recycling Challenge

As the organization evolved into a larger company that collected recycled content from metal boxes placed throughout communities, they discovered growing issues with remote locations – mainly with vandalism and theft of donations.  The mess that would be created around donation boxes was also an issue for both the city and property owners. It even led to permitting issues within certain municipalities.

With all these challenges they realized they had to develop a larger, remote donation station that could somehow be monitored. Considering various surveillance options, it was clear NVRs (Network Video Recorder) were out of the question. That’s because the stand-alone units needed to run on as little power as possible, with just a small amount of internet bandwidth.

Outside of sustainability concerns, they wanted a security system that could act as a deterrent to graffiti and other acts of vandalism, while enabling managers to respond immediately to attempted acts of theft or donations left outside the unit.

Using Solar Panels for Self-Powered Surveillance Configuration

Before they could properly monitor their multiple donation stations, the company needed to build units that could support larger amounts of donated goods and find a solution to make them self-powered.

 The solution they came up with was to repurpose 20-foot shipping containers – cool looking and functional.   Each shipping container is equipped with solar panels, two surveillance cameras, and a cellular network to provide internet connectivity. The off-the-grid configuration works because each IP camera connects to Tyco Cloud, a remote video surveillance management system. This allows them remote management capabilities while bypassing the need for a typical onsite NVR or DVR, which would consume a lot of power.

 “We were lucky to find Tyco Cloud from the beginning,” said one of the company’s co-owners. “It’s ability to run off little power, while not using much data or bandwidth was perfect for what we needed.”  The simplicity of Tyco Cloud makes it both easy to apply and to monitor.  “It’s such a simple system to take care of and deploy.”

With dozens of stations and hundreds of cameras, it was imperative that they be able to review footage in real time, to ensure stations were kept clean.  Using Tyco Cloud, as soon as something is left outside a donation station, the company is able to dispatch drivers immediately to pick it up.  In addition, having high availability of high-resolution recordings allow proper investigation of vandalism or theft attempts. 

High Confidence in Video Data with WD Purple™

I’m happy to share that Tyco Cloud utilizes Western Digital’s WD Purple microSD™ cards on all its cloud cameras for parallel video storage.  Our WD Purple cards are designed for surveillance workloads that require continuous recording and longevity. For the customer this means reducing the frequency of card replacements.  They also support a wide operating temperature range, making them particularly suitable for outdoor installations such as these donation stations. 

WD Purple cards work together with Tyco Cloud remote cloud and on-premises storage to ensure high quality video is captured and stored reliably, even in cases where the cellular network can become disrupted. The result is high confidence in the availability of high-quality video for forensic analysis, particularly in cases of investigating vandalism or attempted thefts. 

In addition, Johnson Controls has selected WD Purple surveillance hard drives for most all of their Tyco Cloud gateway systems.  WD Purple drives deliver uncompromising video storage that can handle the extreme demands of high temperature, high write volume, and 24/7 surveillance systems. Perfect for long lasting reliable operation as a key part of the Tyco Cloud solution.  They also come in a variety of capacities so one can best fit the number of cameras and recording resolution needed.

Partnering to Deliver A World-Class Cloud-Based Security Solution

Tyco Cloud’s ease of set-up and dynamic manageability functions, coupled with our reliable video storage, both in the camera and in the gateway, enables users with fast and extremely reliable access to security video.  Together, we’re helping move security to the cloud so more organizations of all sizes can leverage video monitoring in smarter and more sustainable ways.

The Solutions Provider – Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global leader creating a safe, comfortable and sustainable world. Our 105,000 employees create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions and integrated infrastructure that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities in 150 countries. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. We are committed to helping our customers win everywhere, every day and creating greater value for all of our stakeholders through our strategic focus on buildings. For more information, visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

The Surveillance Storage Provider – Western Digital

Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. As a leader in data infrastructure, the company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Our data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital®, G-Technology™, SanDisk®, and WD® brands.  For more information, visit or follow us @westerndigital on Twitter.

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