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The deployment of Wisenet cameras at Transport for West Midlands sites is nearing completion. The video surveillance, for safe and reliable public transport across the region, is being used to monitor activity at 50 railway stations, 11 bus stations, three Midland Metro park and ride sites, plus the main Number 11 bus route around the city of Birmingham.
See also the March 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
The project due for completion in July 2018 has so far seen about 845 Wisenet cameras installed by Total Integrated Solutions Ltd (TIS) on behalf of Transport for West Midlands. That body, the former Centro, was set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to co-ordinate investment to improve the region’s public transport. The remaining work includes the deployment of the latest Wisenet high definition IP cameras at a number of car parks, together with camera upgrades in Walsall and Solihull, two of four council public space CCTV systems also monitored by WMCA. Live and recorded images from all the cameras are being monitored at a £1.2m control room in central Birmingham.
Eamonn Murphy, Coleshill based TIS’s key account manager, said: “Our approach to this very large, complex project was not simply one of agreeing to meet exacting KPI’s from a performance perspective. “We felt the route to success would be to adopt a more partnership type approach, where we were not only the provider of technical solutions but were also involved at a strategic level in identifying with Transport for West Midlands a pathway of system upgrade, improved efficiency, cost reduction, innovation and utilising latest technology such as video analytics to the best advantage.”
Transport for West Midlands evaluated cameras available from nine manufacturers. The decision to source all the cameras from Hanwha Techwin, (previously known as Samsung Techwin), was partly due to the price/performance ratio of its cameras, but there were two other important factors considered. Firstly, Hanwha Techwin has a close working relationship with its technology partner, Veracity. This meant TIS could be assured of integration between Wisenet cameras and the Veracity Coldstore ‘direct to storage’ product. This negates the need for Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and thus reduces capital costs, besides minimising setup and maintenance requirements.
The Veracity Coldstore recording writes data to the hard drives in a linear way. Only two hard drives are spinning at any time, meaning a reduction in power consumption, less heat generated and greater longevity of the hard drives; reducing the overall cost of ownership. When drive failures do occur, the faulty drive can be swapped with a new drive allowing uninterrupted use.
The second important factor was the capability of the Wisenet open platform cameras to accommodate a variety of edge-based analytics such as ANPR and heat mapping, should Transport for West Midlands wish to deploy these. Trials of the Wisenet People Counting application are being carried out. This utilises the analytics software developed by Facit Data Systems, another Hanwha Techwin technology partner.
Many of the cameras installed are Wisenet SNP-6320H 2 Megapixel Full HD network PTZ domes. In addition to being a true Day/Night camera which is able to capture images in low light, the SNP-6320H’s 32x zoom enables operators to observe close-up detail of any activity. Trials were conducted where the cameras were capped at 2 Mbps and configured for the transmission of 25 images per second (ips) at 1080p resolution. The performance at this low bandwidth level further contributed to the selection of the Wisenet SNP-6320H, which also come with intelligent auto-tracking capability to ensure a greater level of detail can be captured when no operator is present. Other Wisenet cameras deployed include the SNV-6084R vandal-resistant IR dome and the SNB-6004 fixed camera, both of which are able to capture Full HD 2 Megapixel images.
Mark Babington, Safety and Security Manager for Transport for West Midlands, pictured, said: “Working on rail, Metro and bus station sites spread across the wider West Midlands area is a complex and challenging operation and the TIS team deserve recognition for its expertise and diligence. TIS’s engineers were qualified to the highest degree to support the latest video surveillance technology, as well as being experienced to cope with older legacy systems. Both were needed within the unique environment of a busy integrated transportation network which brings its own exceptional requirements of compliance with bespoke health and safety legislation.
“Suppliers such as Hanwha Techwin and Veracity have also worked extremely well in partnership with us to ensure we could achieve maximum benefit from this substantial investment in the West Midlands transport infrastructure.”
And Bob (H.Y.) Hwang Ph.D., Managing Director, Hanwha Techwin Europe, said: “We greatly value the opportunity to have been involved in this project. It is a excellent example of the benefit of all stakeholders interacting with each other in partnership at an early stage of a project to ensure the most suitable products are specified and subsequently installed to the client’s satisfaction.”