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Converged Solutions Engage Security Personnel Ⅰ

Converged Solutions Engage Security Personnel Ⅰ

Editor / Provider: By a&s International | Updated: 3/8/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Security equipment may work beautifully, but is useless without proper operation. a&s explores how public transit authorities interact with security for situational awareness.

Public transit security is about being prepared for the worst as well as preventing it. Each system will have different priorities, depending on the location's purpose and unique concerns.

Management concerns can be aided by technology. People counting in a metro station can be added to video, eliminating a tedious manual task. “You can gather statistics and business intelligence on the flow of people for different times of the day and days of the week and use this information to improve operations,” said Zvika Ashani, CTO of Agent Video Intelligence, a video content analysis provider. “For example, you could modify the frequency of buses, change bus routes and look at traffic flow.”

Designated monitoring zones can also tell operators where passengers are located. “For security, the most common application is looking to detect people in unauthorized areas, such as people on the train or subway tracks and in other areas where they're not supposed to be,” Ashani said.

Real-time video gives operators a better idea of what's going on and how best to respond. “There is a big difference between handling violence or vandalism at a station, managing a response to pick pocketing or other disorderly behavior onboard a bus or metro,” said Patrik Anderson, Director of Business Development, Transportation for Axis Communications.

Network cameras are also useful for remote locations to intercept metal theft along the rail infrastructure, or detecting and preventing graffiti before a depot is defaced, Anderson said.

Management software can provide authorities with a record of what happened after an event. “The software provides automatic and on-demand downloading of video with access to status reports and event logs,” said Rodell Notbohm, GM of Apollo Video Technology. “The software is customizable to the agency's retention requirements and allows for easy-to-use yet robust data management.”

Communications
Getting messages to the right people is crucial for public transit, particularly with large distribution and scores of passengers traveling at high speeds. “Recently, we had a fire on an Israeli train. It unfortunately happened while the train was in transit, so the driver didn't even know,” said Udi Segall, Director of Product Marketing, Surveillance Division, Security Group, Nice Systems. “You need sensors and a means of communication to the control center, to know where it's happening and dispatch the relevant forces.”

If the event is even more catastrophic, such as a coordinated terrorist strike rather than a fire on an isolated carriage, communication is paramount. For situational awareness in an event such as the 7/7 attack, remote management should be available to security personnel. “If they cannot get into the control center, the security manager can manage the situation from his home office,” Segall said.

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A good management solution incorporates the transit authority's standard procedures. “From dispatching responders and communicating with field personnel to updating traffic signs and rerouting traffic to streaming real-time information and video to mobile devices, the VidSys physical security information management (PSIM) software manages the situation,” said David Fowler, Senior VP of Marketing and Product Development.

PSIM reports also track for compliance and integrate data from multiple sources. This can range from dynamic message signs, signal controllers, road sensors, video cameras, ramp meters and more, Fowler said.

Getting Along Integration is straightforward in terms of technology. However, it gets more complicated with multiple stakeholders, who all require access to security but are reluctant to share resources. “The biggest issues we run into when integrating into a system isn't with the equipment, although it takes expertise to integrate in bus or rail car,” said Craig Szmania, Mobile View Business Leader, UTC Fire & Security. “The biggest challenge is integrating into the networks, for wireless and computer networks for transit authorities.”

Security vendors must cooperate so third-party devices work as one unified system. “The public address system is often integrated with the camera, intercom, sensor and indication systems,” said Kaz Shimizu, Product Marketing Manager, TOA.

The sprawling Shanghai Metro comprises different video protocols and brands. To enable operators to see video regardless of the manufacturer, Infinova integrated all the matrixes and DVRs, said Mark Wilson, VP of Marketing.

The lack of integration for video creates problems not just for vendors but for operators as well. IP video standards, such as ONVIF and PSIA, are welcome. “Everybody will prosper if they have an agreement to work together,” Segall said.

A large distribution of equipment, both fixed and mobile, makes it difficult for operators to have a comprehensive view. “In the future, what they want is to have all those systems integrate together so the transit security force can access all their platforms and buses from one location,” Szmania said. “The technology is there, but the will and the investment is still coming along. Different departments in the transit authority are responsible for different parts of the business; getting them to talk together is a job.

Forming a solution requires identifying the relevant stakeholders. “If there's a fire in the metro station, it's not just a problem underground, but it involves the local police, the public transit authority and the mayor,” Segall said. These parties must be able to share information for maximum benefit, such as video, audio recordings or messages received.

On the Road with Public Transit Security Ⅱ

On the Road with Public Transit Security Ⅱ

Editor / Provider: By a&s International | Updated: 3/8/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Troubleshooting
From boarding public transit to reaching one's destination, a great deal can occur. Each step of the way has unique concerns, which must be considered in the system design.

Most systems require some form of payment, although some transit authorities subsidize rides. Interoperability problems are rare,as card reader formats are mature. “Moreover, the RFID inlays are normally strictly specified in the tenders, and this already eliminates potential problems,” said Samuli Str?mberg, VP of Marketing, RFID, UPM Raflatac

Sniffing Out Threats
Detection is moving from airports into mass transit. Some high-threat stations and terminals have chemical and sometimes biological sensors inside. These life safety systems provide multiple layers of protection. “Explosives are actually the most likely threat,” Edgar said. Programs to protect against the other threats of radiation, biological and chemical threats depends on the site's threat profile.

Transit operations also need to consider where buses and trains are stored. “The ability to get to and remove a vehicle off hours from storage and have it driven off into the city by terrorists is a concern,” Edgar said.

The operating environment will affect the system's design as well. In the Washington, D.C. Metro, detection equipment requires frequent maintenance due to dirt and dust which can clog the sensors. “You have to understand the background environment and guide the customer to a technically sound solution,” Edgar said.

Powered Up
Trains and buses require fuel to run, leaving limited power for other onboard systems. A power outage can be catastrophic, such as the December 2010 blizzard that knocked out power to several subway trains in New York City. Hundreds of frigid passengers were stranded for up to seven hours, until rescue teams reached them.

As onboard power is largely devoted to the bus or train, mobile equipment will use power sparingly or generate their own power supply. Public address systems deploy digital power amplifiers with a switching power supply, Shimizu said. Other sources of power include batteries, solar panels and cigarette lighters for vehicles, said Cosimo Malesci, VP of Channel Sales and Marketing, Fluidmesh Networks.

In the event the bus engine is switched off, some equipment can run off power from the car battery, said James Tseng, Senior VP of Telexper. Its mobile DVR is powered independently from the engine because events could happen once the bus is parked, such as the driver being assaulted or held up. Recording after the bus comes to a halt ensures all video data is written, rather than abruptly stopping. Constant shutdowns before data is properly saved could shorten the DVR's performance, such as requiring disk reformatting every two weeks.

UTC Fire & Security MobileView, formerly a product of GE Security, works with a minimal amount of electrical draw on buses or trains. “It is a concern unique to the mobile atmosphere and different from fixed security systems,” said Craig Szmania, Mobile View Business Leader, UTC Fire & Security.

Equipment power consumption can be reduced, but the main issues for mobile power supply are unstable voltage and high peak pulse. “The power supply voltage of the generator varies badly — sometimes double — and the electric power includes high peak pulses, which affect the announcement's noise and distortion,” Shimizu said. “If the system does not have any protection against high peak pulses and sufficient tolerance for voltage, the passengers will hear very noisy and distorted announcements.”

To account for power spikes, surge protection must be designed into mobile equipment. “We caution against systems that are not manufactured specifically for mobile use as standard, fixed systems that are modified generally experience high failures related to power issues in mobile applications,” said Rodell Notbohm, GM of Apollo Video Technology. Shimizu added that only durable solutions could withstand vibration, dust, humidity and bad grounding.

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Video Issues
Surveillance keeps an eye out for events. If something does happen, footage has to be pulled up fast so authorities can respond in time. “The main challenge in monitoring bus and metro systems is accessing the video in real time in case of an emergency or an accident,” Malesci said.

However, the reality is mobile video is plagued with lag. While some transit authorities include real-time streaming, most footage resides locally on mobile DVRs . Some solutions can record for up to two weeks, which is ideal as events may not be reported to authorities right away, Tseng said.

While reliable security comes at a price, it is no longer an option. “Before it was a luxury, and now it's a standard in the way publictransit authorities are running their businesses,” Szmania said. “Frankly, the payoff in terms of accident claims outweighs the cost of the system.”

Wireless transmission is ideal for its flexibility, but is sensitive to weather changes and transmission drops. “Dry weather will affect humidity and transmission,” Tseng said. “We recommend using IP Internet with 3-G to send video.”

Chinese buses typically stream video over 3-G networks, making connectivity a priority, said Yingming Li, Product Director of Topshine Technology. Equipment with GPS enables route tracking for buses and can also monitor driver speeds.

Wireless video mesh is another option , which is less affected by environmental concerns. “Data rates, speed of vehicles, line of sight and hand-off times need to be taken into consideration to guarantee that the network will match the expectations of the customer,” Malesci said.

Rugged Design Mobile equipment withstands a great deal more vibration compared to fixed systems. For the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, it specified vibrationresistance as a feature for more than 700 mini domes installed inside its subway carriages, Wilson said. The driver's cab cameras also used vibration-resistant mounting, coupled with day/night functionality.

Video equipment onboard trains and buses have to operate for long periods of time, making heat dissipation an issue. This is further complicated by cramped spaces onboard. “Dustproofing is important, since the recorder is placed under the driver's seat or in the back of the bus,” Tseng said. “Dust will affect recording and heat, so good seaming is critical.”

Running public transit presents a challenge, particularly with so much equipment. In our next article, we explore the people issues in public transit. While technology aids operations, keeping everyone in the loop and the demands of different stakeholders requires effective communications.

Apollo Video Technology Surveillance Solutions Transport at San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

Apollo Video Technology Surveillance Solutions Transport at San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

Editor / Provider: Apollo Video Technology | Updated: 11/11/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has selected Apollo Video Technology's DVR and back-end management software for its fleet of transit vehicles. In the first phase of the project, Apollo will replace existing transit surveillance systems in 246 of MTS fixed-route buses and deploy wireless back-end equipment providing fleet-wide data and real-time video streaming.

The installation will include Apollo's DVRs, interior and exterior cameras, motion detectors and wireless local area network (LAN) equipment. The contract also includes Vehicle Information Management (ViM) software which will supply MTS with vehicle status reports, event logs, on-demand video clip retrieval and automated downloads of event video.

In addition to customer references, Apollo's financial stability and proven long-term reliability within large-scale deployments were vital to the company's success through the testing phase. MTS utilized an extensive RFP process beginning in October of 2009 to select Apollo Video as the contractor for the project.

MTS will utilize DVRs equipped with seven to nine cameras based on the specific bus types. Each camera system supplied by Apollo will provide MTS with Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities, allowing transit officials to monitor real-time video and location data. To capture potential incidents occurring inside the transit yards overnight, MTS requested that Apollo include motion detection capabilities to trigger the system to start recording at the first sign of movement. The passive IR sensor detects any movement inside the vehicle when the bus is turned off.

“The combination of passive IR sensors and the ViM software will ensure that MTS has video surveillance management while recording activity on the bus at all times,” said Rodell Notbohm, GM of Apollo Video Technology. “Apollo is committed to the landscape of mobile security and the value of making motion detection capabilities and other customized features available to our customers.”

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