Comprising trains, stations, depots and the rail infrastructure, it is reasonable to say that the transport environment is fairly unique in its complexity. A public transport network can be exposed to a large number of security incidents in all of these areas every day: incidents that are a mirror of society’s problems, ranging from vandalism and graffiti to robbery and violence. At any given moment, there could be violence onboard the train or at a station, critical injuries near moving vehicles, metal theft near the track, vandalism at a depot and more. The security dilemma is to cover all of these key areas so that the transport authority is able to continue operating with as few unnecessaryinterruptions as possible. Therefore, deciding whether to and how to respond to an incident isn’t always easy, especially if the information received is vague.
There is a big difference in handling violence on a train or at a station, vandalism at a depot or metal theft along the infrastructure. But every incident is similar in that it passes through four stages:
- Detection – The sooner an incident or potential incident is detected, the greater the chance to limit its consequences.
- Prioritisation – Being able to evaluate the incident to enable informed decisions to be made is critical to a successful outcome.
- Response – Being able to act on the incident. Not to over-react or under-react, but to decide on the appropriate response, if any response required at all.
- Investigation – Post-incident follow up.
Which brings us to CCTV and how the most common use of traditional analogue systems is in fact for the final stage only – investigation, after the incident has happened. In other words, a forensic approach.
A network video (or IP) camera system allows these closed systems to become open network-based systems for authorised access from any location over a local network (a LAN), a much bigger network (a WAN), even the internet and wireless connection to PDAs etc. Offering real-time video at all the right places as the incident unfolds. With network video, the same cameras can be accessed remotely by emergency response resources using portable devices so that they know exactly what to expect right up to the moment of arrival. Network video has been around for some time, but it is only with the relatively recent developments in two areas – compression technology and image resolution that all the advantages of network video are now prevalent.
Compression means reducing the amount of data transmitted from the camera with little or no effect on the image quality in order to reduce the amount of bandwidth required. And less data transmitted means less data has to be recorded. Therefore, compression means a reduction in both bandwidth and storage, which means a reduction in cost. The latest compression standard is referred to as H.264 and effectively reduces bandwidth requirements of earlier technologies by 80 per cent. Axis Communications has developed its own powerful processing chip, which is tailored for network video use, and gives the most efficient implementation of H.264 in the industry – thereby reducing bandwidth more than comparable cameras.
The other major development is with image quality or resolution – and the one we’re most familiar with is HDTV. As with the demand in the consumer market, a similar trend can already be seen in the video surveillance market. The key thing with HDTV is that it is a set of standards, which means there is a guarantee of image quality. Higher resolution does not only mean superb image quality, it can also mean that one camera can cover a larger scene than a number of analogue cameras. Together with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), which enables the power to the camera to be fed in the same cable as the video and data, this significantly reduces the cost of installation, maintenance and on-going power consumption.
So how does all this fit in with how an incident develops through the four stages discussed earlier?Quick Detection
– Better detection, early detection reduces crime, reduces costs. Network video allows quick detection and verification of incidents in many ways: movement detection and trip-wire detection built into the camera, automatic alerts from other systems such as Access Control, Fire Detection, Point of Sale, etc. As well as enabling the same cameras to be accessed remotely by authorised stakeholders – realtime images can be displayed in all the necessary places immediately.
Efficient Prioritisation – Making the right decisions to resolve each incident results in fewer unnecessary delays and traffic interruptions. With high quality HDTV images, you quickly get a clear view of what is actually going on, how many people are involved and how to ensure the right response.Appropriate Response
– Incidents develop, and things can change. Using portable devices now means that response teams can prepare for the precise situation and conditions that are waiting for them right up to the moment of arrival. Throughout the whole process, correct decisions can be made to resolve the incident. As well as dealing with the incident quickly, correct decisions also means fewer unnecessary delays and traffic interruptions.Efficient Investigation
– The high quality video becomes even more valuable in the
investigation phase. HDTV image quality makes it possible to efficiently identify people and objects in the recorded video. No more grainy pictures.
Network video enables incidents to be handled quickly in the most appropriate way, throughout the whole process. With colour images now available in lowlight conditions and the use of thermal cameras for detection in complete darkness – 24/7 surveillance is now available for all conditions… Making the transition from forensic to real-time surveillance!Visit Axis Communications at Infrarail on Stand J61
For more information please contact:
Axis Communications (UK) Ltd.
Tel: 01923 211 417