Surveillance cameras have become an integral part of metro rail solutions as service providers try to ease safety concerns. Several surveillance systems manufacturers offer onboard solutions that are specifically tailored for metro and rail systems.
Security threats are not the only issues that security cameras can help solve. Video surveillance can be a highly effective cross-functional tool for improving operator efficiency and costs as well as enhancing the overall passenger experience, reducing delays or disruptions to service from unforeseen mechanical breakdowns, track obstructions or just traffic congestion.
Ensuring secure surveillance
For video surveillance, it is critical that a network be able to support very large numbers of cameras and efficiently distribute via IP multicast many video streams to multiple monitoring stations and storage locations, according to Timo Harju, Business Development Manager for Vertical Markets at Airbus Secure Land Communications
“A well-engineered end-to-end network will ensure that the critical requirements are met,” Harju said. “Such a network will be reliable, resilient, and support the advanced quality of service mechanism with low jitter and delay for high video performance. It will be able to accommodate current traffic needs as well as future growth.”
Karsten Oberle, Global Practice Lead for Railway Business at Nokia
suggests that when it comes to video surveillance in metro rail systems, bandwidth, QoS, and coverage are vital. When the services of the same network are shared between different uses such as video, voice, location data, dispatching, etc., then it is also necessary for the solution to be able to prioritize traffic according to its importance.
Hardware and VMS
According to Kontron, an embedded solutions provider, hardware platforms and video management software (VMS) that support the ONVIF global standards for the interface of IP-based security products enable advanced capabilities such as video analytics, surveillance, real-time passenger information, and detection systems.
“Implementation video analytics and other complex functions are anticipated to be very high [popular] amongst public transport organizations in the coming years; however, the integration of these new technologies multiplies the interfaces that operators must manage,” Kontron noted in a white paper. “This increased interface complexity may make the efficient management of emergencies more difficult if video surveillance systems are not based on standards-based technologies as there are many analyses and tasks that need to take place simultaneously.”
That many of the currently installed systems are based on multiple independent systems that operate over proprietary networks is also a challenge. Implementing ONVIF-supported hardware and VMS solves these issues by ensuring compatibility between them and enabling users to easily identify specific interoperability features.
Video analytics for rail networks
Video analytics solutions are also becoming popular for several purposes in this vertical. An example of this was seen when Siemens Mobility and Strukton Rail decided to join hands and use video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically detect and assess the condition of insulated rail joints.
Analytics will also be useful to understand passenger flow and behavior, enabling rail management to make modifications that would reduce congestion and improve customer experience. Earlier video analytics used to be limited to the storage level, but now with edge-based solutions becoming popular, analytics can be performed at the camera, allowing for faster processing.