Full steam ahead

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Latest video surveillance technology keeping passengers safe

The Client

Transport for West Midlands is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and was set up to co-ordinate investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure and create a fully integrated, safe and secure network. It is also responsible for assessing and planning the region’s future transport needs so the network can meet the demands of businesses and a growing population.

The Project

Transport for West Midlands decided to invest in a new video surveillance system which would play an important role in helping ensure the safe and reliable delivery of public transport across the West Midlands.

Camera Selection

Transport for West Midlands evaluated cameras available from 9 different manufacturers. The subsequent 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 which were taken into consideration.

Firstly, Hanwha Techwin has a close working relationship with its technology partner, Veracity. This meant TIS could be assured that there would be seamless integration between Wisenet cameras and the Veracity Coldstore ‘direct to storage’ solution. This negates the need for Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and thereby substantially reduces capital costs, as well as minimising setup and maintenance requirements.

The Veracity Coldstore recording solution is unique in the linear way that data is written to the hard drives. Only 2 hard drives are spinning at any one time, meaning a significant reduction in power consumption, lower heat generation 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 at some point in the future. Trials of the Wisenet People Counting application are currently being carried out. This utilises the analytics software developed by Facit Data Systems, another Hanwha Techwin technology partner.

The Cameras

A large percentage of the cameras installed are Wisenet SNP-6320H 2 Megapixel Full HD network PTZ dome cameras. In addition to being a true Day/Night camera which is able to capture high quality images in low light, the SNP-6320H’s powerful 32 x zoom capability enables operators to observe the 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 was impressive and further contributed to the selection of the Wisenet SNP-6320H, which are also equipped with intelligent auto-tracking capability to ensure a greater level of detail can be captured when no operator is present.

Other Wisenet cameras deployed as part of the project 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.

Progress

The project, which is targeted for completion in July 2018, has so far seen approximately 845 Wisenet cameras installed by Total Integrated Solutions Ltd (TIS) at over 50 railway stations, 11 bus stations, 3 Midland Metro park and ride sites, as well as the main Number 11 bus route around the City of Birmingham.

The remaining work includes the deployment of the latest generation of Wisenet high definition IP cameras at a number of car parks, together with significant camera upgrades in Walsall and Solihull, two of four Local Authority public space CCTV systems already monitored by WMCA. 

Live and recorded images from all the cameras are being monitored at a £1.2M state-of-the-art control room located in central Birmingham.

“Our approach to this very large, complex project was not simply one of agreeing to meet exacting KPI’s from a performance perspective,” said Eamonn Murphy, Coleshill based TIS’s key account manager. “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.”

A Successful Partnership

“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,” said Mark Babington, Safety & Security Manager for Transport for West Midlands.

“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.”

Commenting on the success of the project, 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 an 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.”

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