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IndigoVision Surveillance System Soars at UK Airport

IndigoVision Surveillance System Soars at UK Airport

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 12/10/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

Cardiff Airport has replaced its surveillance capability with an IP video system from IndigoVision. Operated by TBI Abertis Airports, Cardiff Airport is the national airport of Wales with passenger traffic reaching more than 1.6 million in 2009. It is an important business and charter airport offering flights to domestic and European destinations as well as connecting flights onwards to worldwide destinations.

Choosing IndigoVision’s technology was an easy decision for the airport having had more than eight-year experience of operation from a similar system at London Luton Airport, which is also operated by TBI Abertis Airports. The system at London Luton Airport was first installed in 2002.

“All surveillance images are streamed as digital video in real time at 25 fps across the network. By using network protocols and IndigoVision’s multicast capabilities it is possible to view live video at multiple locations with no impact on the network bandwidth. Numerous separate viewing locations are able to view the surveillance images simultaneously,” said Steve Tyler, MD of Touchstone Electronics Limited, IndigoVision’s partner and system integrator for the project.

IndigoVision’s security management software is used to monitor live and recorded video from any of the cameras. It is used by the airport’s operations and security teams, and also by government authorities including South Wales Police and the UK Border Agency. Potential security threats can be identified much faster with IndigoVision’s analytics and search facilities on the platform, such as the thumbnail search feature that allows 24-hour of video to be searched in a matter of seconds.

Touchstone Electronics installed 96 of IndigoVision’s H.264 fixed, dome and PTZ cameras and 26 of standalone NVRs. The NVRs are mirrored creating a redundant and fault tolerant recording solution. Video from each camera is continuously recorded onto a primary and backup NVR simultaneously. In the event of a NVR failure, no recordings are lost. In addition, the NVRs have dual redundant power and network connections and are fitted with RAID configured, surveillance rated disks. A total of 104 TB of disk storage allows the airport to archive 4CIF 25 fps video from each camera 24/7 for more than 30 days. In the event of an incident, evidential quality video can be exported to assist with investigations and for use in court.

Biometric Access Control System Installed at Chicago Office

Biometric Access Control System Installed at Chicago Office

Editor / Provider: FST21 | Updated: 12/3/2010 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Los Alamos Technical Associates (LATA) has installed access control system from FST21 in its downtown Chicago office. The LATA entrance allows access by recognizing employees by the way they look, talk and walk as well as being aware if they are in distress and can even carry a conversation with them and their visitors.

The system modernizes the way people enter buildings, offices and secure areas. No key, no card and no code are required because the face and voice of authorized personnel works as a key. Using biometrics with a combination of face, voice, license plate and pattern of behavior recognition, the access control system provides automated convenient identity management access while maintaining the high level of security.

LATA, a diversified engineering, environmental and technical services company serving worldwide clients, has repeatedly set standards for excellence and has demonstrated capabilities for solving the scientific and engineering problems. LATA’s Chicago team focuses on information technology and systems integration with expertise in biometrics, security, GPS/GIS and applications to increase business efficiencies. The Chicago office works with local clients including the City of Chicago, O’Hare international airport, Cook County, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra heavy rail commuter system, the Chicago Housing Authority and others. The Chicago team also works with multiple public transportation and other agencies across the nation and is working on other security, access control and biometric time and attendance projects in the region.

“This is the system based on fusion technology that integrates facial recognition, voice recognition and behavioral recognition into a cohesive identification system.” said Pat Anderson, Department Manager and Manager of LATA’s Chicago Office.

Before the access control system was installed, LATA was using a hand reader with a keypad, which Anderson admits was invasive and a little time consuming for employees. Employees don’t even break a stride in walking toward the door and entering. The camera sees them, welcomes them and opens the door.

Xtralis Detection System Soars at Indian Airport Terminal

Xtralis Detection System Soars at Indian Airport Terminal

Editor / Provider: Xtralis | Updated: 11/18/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

Xtralis, a provider of solutions for detection of fire, gas and security threats, announced that its warning aspirating smoke detection (ASD) system has been deployed to protect business continuity at Delhi Airport Terminal 3.

The air transportation hub has the capacity to handle 34 million passengers annually. With eight levels 28 meters above the ground laid over four square kilometers, the terminal boasts more than 90 automated walkways and 78 aerobridges. It is rated as the eighth largest airport in the world and the largest public building constructed in India since Independence.

The system was specified for Delhi Airport Terminal 3 because it protecs large, open spaces where smoke will be diluted, an effect compounded by air-conditioning systems. “Xtralis solution is for early warning fire detection,” said Prabhakara Rao, CEO of Airport Development, GMR Group, the developer of Delhi Airport Terminal 3. “And because of the new terminal’s design with multiple levels, we knew the solution would meet our system design requirements.”

“Xtralis takes great pride in helping to protect the transportation hubs, and we’re pleased that the system was recognized as the best choice to protect the new terminal at Delhi Airport,” said Samir Samhouri, President and CEO of Xtralis.

Morpho Detection Upgrades Baggage Screening at HKIA

Morpho Detection Upgrades Baggage Screening at HKIA

Editor / Provider: Morpho Detection, explosive detection, baggage, airports, Hong Kong | Updated: 11/11/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

Morpho Detection, part of Morpho, Safran group’s security business, has been contracted to install four explosives detection systems (EDS) by Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), the operator of Hong Kong International Airport.

The new installation of systems will replace the airport’s existing deployment of Morpho Detection’s scanners. Both models use computed tomography imaging technology. The EDS offers higher resolution on-screen images, allowing system operators to make smarter, safer and faster decisions. Cleared baggage can be sent on to its destination while potential threats, including homemade and improvised devices, can be readily identified for further inspection.

Hong Kong International Airport has been recognized for the quality of service delivered. Named the “World’s Best Airport” among facilities serving more than 40 million passengers annually for the past three years by Airports Council International, the airport has relied for years on Morpho Detection’s detection solutions to ensure passenger safety and cargo security.

SightLogix Video Verification Soars at Buffalo Airport

SightLogix Video Verification Soars at Buffalo Airport

Editor / Provider: SightLogix | Updated: 10/21/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

SightLogix, a supplier of automated outdoor video systems for area and perimeter security, announced Buffalo Niagara International Airport has selected SightLogix video intrusion detection system. The system will be installed by U&S Services, a Tonawanda, New York, system integrator. The design comprises SightSensor detection cameras for detecting and tracking intrusions over large areas and trackers which automatically steer Pelco PTZ cameras to follow targets, providing situational awareness over the airport's perimeter.

The SightLogix system's longer-range capabilities allowed U&S Services to exceed the automated detection area originally specified in the design. By reducing the number of poles, trenching and communication requirements, U&S Services was able to design a more accurate security system within the existing budget.


Busy Airport Evolves in Security Measures

Busy Airport Evolves in Security Measures

Editor / Provider: SUBMITTED BY CEM SYSTEMS | Updated: 10/15/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

Growing numbers of passengers and security concerns lead to the collaboration between China's Changsha Huanghua International Airport and CEM Systems.

The Changsha Huanghua International Airport in China underwent a security makeover, complete with a fully integrated IP-based security solution for access control, biometrics and surveillance monitoring. The airport chose the AC2000 system provided by CEM Systems (a Tyco International company), and Tyco Fire & Security China was the system integrator.

The airport handled approximately 11 million passengers in 2009 and is one of the 20 busiest airports in China. As the numbers continue to spike, security and safety become a higher priority. As part of a US$270- million expansion plan, the airport recently enhanced its facilities and required a high-security solution to secure passengers and assist airport operations.

This is where CEM Systems, part of Tyco Security Products, stepped in. “The AC2000 system has been used to secure airports around the world for more than 20 years,” said Andrew Fulton, Business Development Director. “CEM understands the dynamics of airports and has a range of hardware devices that are ideal for airport security.”

The AC2000 system using CEM's IP readers/controllers takes advantage of the existing Ethernet infrastructure and provides the airport with a fully integrated operational solution. CEM readers feature aviation door modes, such as “Passenger Mode” for segregating arriving and departing passengers and modes for enabling air bridges and check-in desks.

“We recommended the AC2000 security system to the airport authority as it features the latest IP technology,” said Amy Lee, Security Account Manager for China, Tyco Fire & Security. “In order to get the highest security, CEM S610f IP fingerprint readers with an internal database and a graphical LCD were installed at critical areas throughout the airport.”

Featuring a controller, IP card reader and biometric solution in one device, the S610f fingerprint reader controls access to restricted areas where an additional biometric layer of security is required. Fingerprint templates are captured on the access control enrollment station simultaneously with cardholders' details and images, providing the airport with a single biometric and access control software interface.

With an internal database for storing server data and transactions, the S610f reader provides offline biometric and card verification at all times. The S610f reader also features a graphical LCD so that informative access control messages, such as “Card Expiring,” “Bad Biometric” and “Access Denied,” can be displayed. Cardholders can then approach system administrators in the ID unit with the reason for denied entry, thus saving time in trying to diagnose the problem.

The airport also uses the visual imaging and pass production system (VIPPS) to capture and enroll personnel details, images, signatures and fingerprint templates. The VIPPS allows ID unit administrators to print permanent or temporary IDs that can be colorcoded — for example, different badge designs for contractors, visitors, cabin crew and ground staff — to assist visual verification of a person's access rights.

The alarm event display module is also used to interface AC2000 to the airport's third-party surveillance system. This utilizes one user-friendly platform from which security staff can centrally view information on all video and access control alarms and events that occur in the airport.

With the airport's facilities expected to grow further in 2010, the AC2000 system can be easily expanded and developed as the airport's security requirements continue to evolve.

Aimetis Video Management Soars at Munich Airport

Aimetis Video Management Soars at Munich Airport

Editor / Provider: Aimetis | Updated: 10/14/2010 | Article type: Infrastructure

Aimetis, a provider of intelligent IP video management software announced that Munich Airport has expanded the use of Aimetis video surveillance to Terminal 2, bringing the total cameras under Aimetis management to 1,900.

Aimetis provides Munich Airport with a single platform to manage analog surveillance systems on an IP network and integrate the VMS into other systems on the network such as the command center and the burglary and fire alarm system. Aimetis' system is the core of the surveillance system and has been used in Terminal 1 of the Bavarian capital's airport since 2009.

During the past year, approximately 800 Bosch network cameras in Terminal 1 were equipped with Aimetis software. With the expansion being implemented at Terminal 2 to include legacy analog cameras with Axis Communication encoders, Aimetis software will manage more than 1,900 cameras, 1,000 I/O devices and 5,000 users in a single platform, all of which is handled by only six active and three redundant servers for system failover. In view of the airport's constant growth and expansion, it is expected that there will be more than 3,000 cameras installed in the future.

"For us, an aspect of integrating Terminal 2 into the surveillance system is the possibility to integrate it in a network platform and to use just one surveillance system for the entire airport," said Michael Fr?hlich, CCTV Project Manager at Munich Airport. "The Aimetis software has ensured smooth airport operations, helped prevent or clear up criminal activity and supply rescue teams with all the information necessary in special situations," said Michael Zaddach, CIO at Munich Airport.

In cooperation with prime contractor Alcatel-Lucent, which is responsible for system integration and overall project management, Aimetis is delivering a key solution for one of the CCTV projects in Germany.

"The Munich Airport had expectations in terms of performance and reliability for this critical component of its security system, and Aimetis is helping us meet those expectations, including the ability to upgrade individual cameras with video analysis algorithms tailored to its specific location," said Carsten Smago, Head of the Services Business at Alcatel-Lucent Germany.

"We are happy and proud to extend the use of Aimetis software at Munich Airport," said Marc Holtenhoff, CEO of Aimetis. "The project teams from Alcatel-Lucent, Munich Airport and Aimetis have worked hard to ensure the success of this project and improve the safety at the airport."

Piecing Together the PSIM Puzzle

Piecing Together the PSIM Puzzle

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/12/2010 | Article type: Tech Corner

Physical security information management (PSIM) promises to make life easier for security operators. Instead of managing systems separately, PSIM provides a converged platform, bringing the most relevant information to the fore while advising the best course of action. Operators can piece together the whole picture from many disparate systems. In the event of a fire, smoke detectors can sense the fire, cameras can offer video verification and the PSIM can list response measures for the operator to take. An integrated platform maximizes existing investments, combining multiple systems into one seamless interface. However, each provider has its own way of bringing multiple inputs into a cohesive whole, resulting in varying definitions of what true PSIM is.

Physical security information management (PSIM) is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry. Sometimes referred to as “situational awareness” or “command and control,” more viable solutions show that convergence is now a real-life trend.

The benefits are clear for holistic management. Instead of tracking access control on one workstation, video on another and intrusion on a third machine, operators can have a bird's-eye view of all systems through PSIM. “Technologies such as video analytics and PSIM help automate video monitoring, filter out irrelevant information, and provide operators and guard forces with the data they need to make more intelligent decisions — typically referred to as ‘actionable data' in the language of IT; ‘situational knowledge' in the language of public safety; and ‘total domain awareness' in the language of homeland security,” said Aberdeen Group in a March 2010 study on video surveillance.

All the flowery terms mean one thing: Bringing the most important information to the operator 's attention. Instead of trying to watch 100 video feeds, control room staff can manage their time better and respond to issues faster. “With the same number of full-time equivalent staff , the topper formers in Aberdeen's study are able to support 3.3-times more cameras and 21-times more alerts requiring evaluation and action by guards or operators,” Aberdeen Group said.

PSIM does not replace human operators, but helps them make sense of multiple inputs more efficiently. “For example, an operator monitoring an unidentified object in the airport can simultaneously view pictures from multiple cameras, access video archives to trace the sequence of events leading to the placement of object and path it has taken, monitor the chemical identity signal from a robot explosive detector, and evaluate evacuation procedures from a crisis management tool,” said Bhaskar Ganguly, Global Marketing Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Automation and Control Solutions, Honeywell International.

Management software such as VMS or access control software (ACS) keeps tabs on individual devices in a system, sometimes even integrating inputs from other subsystems like intrusion. However, such management platforms cannot integrate all — including elevators, climate control and lighting — and usually are proprietary. True PSIM is vendor-agnostic and should give operators a clear set of steps to follow, depending on what sort of emergency is taking place.

No universal definition exists for PSIM. “There are many unique features which clearly set a PSIM platform apart; most of which have been customer-driven to answer real business challenges and provide bottom line value,” said Matthew Kushner, President of the Americas for Computer Network Limited (CNL). “It's surprising how far some VMS and ACS companies are willing to stretch the description so as to add ‘PSIM' to their product labels.”

A converged management platform needs to do more than pull in feeds of alarm data, video images and card usage. “A true PSIM solution provides a much higher level of integration, providing a bidirectional interface with an auditable database management system,” Kushner said. “This level of integration is the only way to provide local sites with complete command and control, regional managers with overall situational awareness and senior management a dashboard view of how a security situation could impact their business's bottom line.”

System-specific management software has limited functionality. “There are many VMS and ACS platforms that offer integrated solutions in a box,” said Brandon Arcement, Manager of Global Security Technology, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls. “They typically don't have the flexibility of a PSIM software, as engineers are frequently focused on priorities other than just third-party integrations, and they are somewhat constrained by the application and control logic code at the base of their software.”

As ACS and VMS address specific system needs, they are less complex compared to PSIM. “With an open PSIM, you can include almost everything,” said Holger Maier, Product Manager for Building Integration System, Bosch Security Systems. “On the other hand, some ACS solutions integrate just video and intrusion, but are much easier to install for VARs and system integrators.”

Genuine PSIM solutions correlate relevant data from more security systems better than any other type of software. “Because PSIM solutions are built to support a variety of systems and technologies, the operator display and flow of information deliver a much more holistic view of the environment,” said Larry Lien, VP of Product Management, Proximex. “It's not focused on just video or alarm information, but connects and correlates information from many various sensors and systems to give operators the most relevant data in order to respond better to incidents.”

System Integration
There are a number of ways to integrate systems into PSIM. Some PSIM providers team up with hardware manufacturers to support their solutions, while others work exclusively with software companies. This results in different degrees of integration in the final management platform.

There are three ways to integrate systems for PSIM. First, there is hardwired integration, Arcement said. Then there is standard protocol integration, involving protocols such as BACnet, Modbus, Lon or OPC.

A standardized OPC client in the PSIM communicates with any OPC server, making integration simple. “The subsystem can deliver any data from the connected detectors and cameras, so the PSIM can process and display this information,” Maier said. “On the other side, the PSIM can be programmed to control the many different connected subsystems from one common customized user interface.”

Finally, systems can be integrated with APIs or SDKs from the manufacturer, which is the most robust integration. “APIs expose more information than a standards document can and thus allow a developer to support more functionality in the integration,” Arcement said. “One drawback is that these integrations take time to schedule and develop, and they often need significant maintenance when subsystem versions change.”

The software approach usually pays off better than spending effort integrating with hardware. “The real play here is the integration of event information and controls; therefore, software integration is usually the way to go,” said John Moss, CEO of S2 Security.

SDKs enable system integrators and installers to create different user interfaces, such as for VMS, said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for A&S magazines and a former installer. Most sensors are covered by standard protocols, so a Wiegand card reader will integrate with nearly all platforms.

However, the maintenance of multiple systems is complex. “If you try too much to optimize each piece of the system, the system can become quite fragile,” said Kevin Daly, CEO of Maxxess Systems. “Often, a looser integration does not bring with it as significant a penalty as you might think, since it can provide you with more flexibility if the system components change.”

Making New Friends
Integrating third-party software is not hard technically, but the manufacturer may not want to reveal all of its secrets. Thus, the PSIM software may be able to display the proprietary software, but cannot run all features natively, such as built-in analytics.

Integration with third-party systems is straightforward if the subsystems support industry standards. “ONVIF is a great example for such integration and will enable integration of not only network cameras but also serverbased analytics engines and access control going forward,” said Anand Mecheri, CMO of Siemens Building Technologies.

The PSIM platform's integration is as deep as system manufacturers provide through their SDKs and APIs. “The biggest obstacle is typically a multitude of different systems which give acceptable service at the local level, but due to the intentional proprietary nature of these systems, it's almost impossible to bring all of these systems together into a single system,” Kushner said. “Most security equipment manufacturers have made interoperability through a common GUI almost impossible.”

At a recent project, the user wanted to use Agent Vi analytics on Milestone Systems' and Cisco Systems' respective VMS systems. However, each system displayed the analytics so differently that additional manipulations were required for uniform operator response, Kushner said.

It is reasonable to expect most day-to-day functionality to be available in the PSIM, but usually not all features are transferred, Arcement said. It could be that the protocol or method of integration did not allow certain types of information to be transferred; the subsystem manufacturer chose not to expose that functionality through the shared API or the PSIM developer chose not to support a certain portion of the SDK.

Intergraph emphasizes emergency response, so only the most essential functions are integrated for operational needs. “Not everything needs to be integrated right away, if ever,” said Bob Scott, Executive Director of Security Solutions Strategy for Intergraph. “Our goal is to provide our customers with value by increasing their operational capability though integration and by providing a platform or framework that can grow and evolve with their needs.”

Real-World Technology
PSIM delivers real benefits, but is not for everyone. A small installation with four cameras does not require a command-and-control platform to manage an overwhelming number of inputs. In general, large projects facing higher risk, such as airports, nuclear power plants and hospitals, are more likely to benefit from using PSIM.

As construction has slowed down, has demand for PSIM gone down? Some experts believe so. “I expect the number of PSIM installations has been lower recently,” Chang said. “Most commercial high-rise buildings can use their own surveillance management software as an alternative to PSIM, at least for physical security installers.”

ADC, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch, thinks differently. “In Singapore's context, we've been seeing increasing prospects and tenders based on seamless integration,” said Daniel Ko k , Bus ine s s Deve l opment Manager for ADC Technologies International. “IT infrastructure serves as the backbone for communications of virtually all electronicsbased systems. As technology advances and is able to cater to a wider bandwidth at faster speed and reasonable cost, security products will naturally follow in tandem and leverage on the backbone.”

Other market players have also observed growth for PSIM. “We've seen the mature markets like North America and Europe use PSIM more frequently in existing facilities, while emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East have requested PSIM more frequently for greenfield construction projects,” Arcement said.

More users facing high risks have adopted PSIM. “These tend to be companies who are geographically dispersed or concerned with business continuity,” Ganguly said. “If the customer is building a new facility that he sees as being high security risk, he would likely invest in the latest technology to mitigate the risk he sees in a possible breach.”

PSIM is sometimes installed for efficient business management. “In some cases, customers have already built their primary security infrastructure and now want to use the available information productively and intelligently to earn returns,” Ganguly said. “This is possible only when a PSIM system is installed and used in day-to-day operations.”

The number of PSIM projects has increased significantly, particularly for existing buildings with disparate security and building subsystems that need to be incorporated into a new or additional installation, said Stephen Moody, Security Development Manager, ViS Security Solutions. Integrating multiple subsystems, however, requires significant resources and can face roadblocks for third-party equipment. In the next article, we examine what makes a PSIM solution good, along with cost considerations and challenges.

Rainbow Surveillance Cameras Displayed at Chicago Convention Center

Rainbow Surveillance Cameras Displayed at Chicago Convention Center

Editor / Provider: Rainbow CCTV | Updated: 10/8/2010 | Article type: Government & Public Services

HD vandal-resistant color dome cameras from Rainbow CCTV are being used at a convention center in Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago.

The 550-TVL units have a 4- to 9-mm lens and are protected from attack by a tough aluminium housing and polycarbonate dome. 350 cameras have been installed by local integrator Omni-1 Electronics, with the principal aim of the surveillance being to promote visitor and delegate safety at the convention center which is to the north west of Chicago in the metropolitan area's “Golden Corridor.”

The distributor, who has been active in the project at every stage, is Windy City Wire. “This is a major hub for trade shows and management wanted to make optimum use of surveillance,” said John Callahan of Windy City. “We were able to liaise closely with Omni-1 Electronics who work throughout the convention center and the Rosemont airport village area. An initial consideration was the ‘IP or analog' debate and we recommended this DC auto-iris model.”

The cameras give visitors and staff reassurance in public areas and walkways as well as guarding against theft from parking garages. Footage is transmitted to a recording bay of up to 30 digital recorders and compression algorithms allow remote monitoring by the center's management as well as civic authorities.

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center features 840,000 square feet of exhibition space for trade fairs and public shows. A sky bridge connects the convention center to three hotels. The facility was renamed to honor Donald E. Stephens, an Illinois Republican politician, who founded the village of Rosemont in the 1950s and served as its mayor for half a century.

Avoid the Perils of Public Projects

Avoid the Perils of Public Projects

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 9/29/2010 | Article type: Hot Topics

Public-surveillance projects share the basic goal of watching for citizen safety. However, meeting that goal is not always simple. A&S looks at common issues with public monitoring and how to sidestep them.

When things go wrong, it is always good to have a witness.

Public-surveillance projects are for areas with a good deal of foot traffic, such as airports, highways or cities. Cameras help keep an eye out and provide unbiased evidence, making them part of community safety and awareness. As security spending has increased, more governments are funding public video surveillance projects.

However, some projects overlook basic steps. Hundreds of cameras in Rawalpindi, India were installed to monitor key locations. Due to negligence, at least 145 cameras are now out of order, wasting the initial investment.

Even when the cameras do work, improper installation yields poor results. Washington, D.C. has at least 120 cameras on its police network, and yet they failed to document a single crime. At least one crime was not captured due to a PTZ camera's constant panning. With the cameras worth US$3.8 million and a synchronized operation command center costing $2.4 million in 2009, they epitomized a significant waste of taxpayer money.

Up in the Air
The U.K. is one of the most monitored countries in the world, with some estimates putting the camera count at 4 million. However, the Metropolitan Police of London found only one crime a year was solved for every 1,000 cameras in place, making cameras ineffective for crime detection and a poor ROI.

A combination of video glitches and poor integration shut down the Newark Liberty International Airport for six hours on Jan. 3. Graduate student Haisong Jiang ducked under a security rope to accompany his girlfriend to her departure gate when a guard stepped away.

Cameras captured Jiang crossing the secure area, but the VMS playback was not working and had been out of order for six days. While no lives were lost due to Jiang's actions, a malicious security breach would have had severe consequences.

Smart Planning
Headline-grabbing video failures underscore the importance of good planning. Fancy specs take a back seat to carefully considered projects with a long-term plan and staff support.

It is important that projects not be bid on price alone, as contractors will cut corners and waste taxpayer money, said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for A&S magazines and a former installer.

In the U.K., relatively few contractors are qualified to win town center projects. “Generally speaking, they are mostly larger businesses that are both experienced and long-established, so from that perspective, questions about their suitability and reliability rarely arise,” said Doktor Jon, a 30-year veteran of the video surveillance industry.

It is difficult for an established industry player to become a jack-of-all-trades, which is often expected in public installations. “For example, some installers may be brilliant at fitting analog cameras, but have little or no knowledge about integrating their systems into an IP-video environment,” Doktor Jon said. “Likewise, an IT-savvy company may think it's well-conversant with networking technology, but have absolutely no concept of basic optical principles.”

Learning Curve
Mastering the technology for each public project takes time and effort. However, the integrator may not have been trained properly to apply the manufacturer's solutions, leaving the user at a disadvantage, Chang said. Operators then do not know to look for manufacturer support, so when the system breaks down, no one is on call.

Radwin, a wireless provider, has deployed its solutions for Jerusalem's city surveillance. “Radwin has an extensive network of system integrators and works closely with them on installing the wireless broadband network for video, providing training and online and on-site support to ensure successful project deployment,” said Adi Nativ, VP of Marketing and Business Development for Radwin. Its wireless broadband radios are used to transmit video from megapixel cameras.


A public project generally follows the 10 basic steps below. Steps may differ based on country, project size and budget.

① Budgeting: Determining overall cost for systems and solutions

② Consulting: Designing the project after the budget has been established

③ Bidding: Posting public notices of project requirements and requesting bids

④ Equipment check: Checking product quality after equipment has been specified

⑤ Inventory: Collecting project equipment and peripherals

⑥ Subcontracting: Finding contractors to perform the work

⑦ Installation: Setting up equipment at the site

⑧ Testing: Checking for integration and if everything works

⑨ Final inspection and commissioning: Making sure systems perform as they should during testing and wrapping up the project for initial deployment

⑩ Maintenance: Upkeep and replacement of parts

Unfit Solutions
Winning a public project can represent a windfall for manufacturers, along with prestige.

However, some manufacturers unduly influence consultants to write bid specs expressly for their products. Users may be wowed by eye-popping video, which may not suit their needs, Chang said. Instead of defining the project's purpose — such as monitoring traffic or crowd control — the manufacturer tries to cram as many products as possible into the tender.

For example, an Asian city surveillance project's specs included color recognition analytics, a requirement only one vendor claimed to be able to deliver, Chang said. This self-serving behavior results in impractical equipment that does not address the project's objectives.

Manufacturers are welcome to build relationships with end users, but not sell useless equipment. “There's a universally serious problem that because many contracts are generally placed on required ‘specifications' and not necessarily defined operational objectives, these systems either perform at below their required level of efficiency, or simply fail to live up to their promised performance,” said Doktor Jon.

Once the equipment is bid and the project is running, maintenance is an integral part of the contract. Authorities will usually budget for staffing, premises and equipment, with maintenance included as a recurring expense, said Doktor Jon.

However, some contractors go under, leaving no one to perform maintenance. There have been instances of one or more installers going bankrupt halfway through a project, bringing the whole project to a halt until a new contractor can take over, Chang said. Incompetent contractors should abstain from public projects.

Contractors failing to stay solvent is more prevalent in some countries, but budget shortfalls in the U.K. and Europe could result in more businesses closing 12 to 36 months down the line. “In practice, most significant projects now require an evaluation of contractors' recently filed business accounts,” said Doktor Jon.

Continued Operation
With planning being a key ingredient for success, other factors keep public surveillance projects running. “In a literal sense, the main drivers for maintaining a public-space surveillance scheme are community and political support, supplemented by adequate funding,” said Doktor Jon.

Support and strong demand will ensure a video network keeps watch. “From a manufacturer's perspective on public monitoring, what we've been seeing in the past few years is a major rise in demand for establishing wireless video networks,” Nativ said. “More and more public organizations are seeking to enhance public security and safety, and are establishing video surveillance networks.”

Along with funding, the continuity of public surveillance depends on whether it meets needs. “Consideration needs to be made toward achieving the best value for money by using the most appropriate technology and techniques,” said Doktor Jon.

Any public project must consider its objectives, regardless of size or location. “Existing system operators need to take a much closer look at not only what they currently do, but also why they do it and what they hope to achieve; we may well see a number of video surveillance schemes either being downgraded or even switched off,” Doktor Jon said.

Thoughtful consideration will make a public project successful, rather than a hot feature or particular camera brand. Evaluating site needs, as well as finding suitable solutions, will prevent public projects from becoming public scandals.

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