a&s explores the measures taken by China to ensure security at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian
Games, and discusses the challenges overcome through years of planning, building and testing.
a&s explores the measures taken by China to ensure security at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, and discusses the challenges overcome through years of planning, building and testing.
Designing a security protocol for the Guangzhou Asian Games was no easy feat, which hosted an unprecedented 42 sports. Spanning over 2.7 million square meters, the Games featured 12 new venues and 58 remodeled ones; the main venue covered 65,000 square meters of ground.
Since Guangzhou won the bid in 2004, the government had invested more than US$30 billion in upgrading the city's existing infrastructure, as well as in constructing new facilities; an additional $150 million was also allocated to strengthen electronic security measures at the venues, including surveillance, access control, intrusion alarms, patrol checkpoints and perimeter protection.
Various outdoor areas were cordoned off as restricted areas and security checkpoints. IC-embedded access cards were required of athletes, referees, officials and staff to enter the restricted areas. The security checkpoints also acted as buffer zones to prevent crowd crushes and to separate vehicles and pedestrians.
With proper security procedures and electronics, Guangzhou established a seamless security layer, eliminating possible blind spots and enabling security personnel to react efficiently to anomalies.
Hybrid Surveillance Prevails
The success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics sparked rapid development of sports and event venues across the country, creating a huge market for electronic security, especially for video surveillance. For the 2010 Asian Games, video surveillance products and systems were provided by a total of 38 local and international manufacturers, including Aebell Electrical Technology, Hikvision Digital Technology, Bosch Security Systems, Panasonic System Networks, Sony, TCL and XTE.
According to Aebell and Bosch, video surveillance for the Games was primarily analog (at or more than 520 TVLs), supplemented by network cameras at strategic locations. Many predict the same phenomenon for key events in the next few years, for the following reasons.
● Reliability: Infinova suggested that analog cameras have been around for a very long time, and the stability and color reproduction are much better when compared to network cameras. Image quality and latency issues of network cameras for large-scale installations still worry some end users.
● Cost: In general, a network camera must be within 150 meters of a switch. For expansive installations like the Asian Games, the cost of network infrastructure would be astronomical, and hybrid was proved to be more cost-effective than going purely IP, as some subsystems were integrated into the existing nationwide Safe City infrastructure (predominantly analog).
HD and VCA
HD video and video content analysis (VCA) were two major advances on-site. Both 720p and 1,080p HD cameras were used, and VCA was incorporated to cover certain entrances, exits and pathways. Image clarity and color reproduction of HD cameras can come in handy covering critical areas with high-density, high-volume foot traffic, according to Axis Communications.
The key issues challenging the use of HD cameras at sports complexes are bandwidth and back-end storage. Beijing Visia, Brainaire, Visiondigi and many other local solution providers are beginning to notice these problems and develop better or hybrid alternatives.
At the Games, VCA helped with people counting and detection of objects left behind at the entrances and exits. Built-in technologies such as video processing, pattern recognition and artificial intelligence were readily available from Axis, Bosch, Hikvision and several others. Aebell believes that people counting is already mature with an accuracy rate of at least 90 percent. Future developments may be on facial recognition and behavioral analysis.
Bosch added that theft and violence detection, unusual crowd gatherings and fire detection are increasingly demanded as well.
Access control to areas such as offices, VIP rooms, fire exits and utilities rooms was vital, and reliability and remote authentication and management of at least 40,000 users were minimum requirements.
At the core of the Games' security operation, the access control system was tasked to integrate video, audio, data, alarms, VCA, resource management and personnel dispatch, while keeping components and users in check.
In terms of functionality and capability, the access control system provided interfaces for the following:
● Power and environment monitoring integrated with video verification
● Electronic map with geographical information of each device
● Perimeter protection with IR and vibration sensors
● Public address system
Not only was the back-end management software capable of basic functions such as regular device checks, flexible user groups and alarm management, it also took in more digital and analog inputs from multiple systems. In access control, Israeli service provider DDS saw more functional advances:
● Mandated regular password changes and reminders
● Passport scanning: An unlimited amount of images can be attached to a cardholder's file. When a scanner is connected, workstations can be shut down or reboot by the server to for easier maintenance and operation.
● Remote and regular upgrades
● 3-D electronic map
● Multinode, multisite and multilevel management of various competition areas across all venues
Policy and Support
Proper legal regulation and support facilitate industry development. In the requirements for security systems in the Asian Games, video surveillance was specified in detail. Security cameras must be placed at all entrances and exits, outer barricade facilities, main passageways, spectator stands and other critical locations, with 100-percent coverage. In addition, medal storage rooms and lost-and-found areas must be monitored.
Critical locations included utilities rooms, HVAC and telecommunications, outer perimeter of VIP rooms, podiums, fields, referee areas, media centers and various pathways.
For such an event that required continuous and fail-proof operation of all systems, equipment must be carefully evaluated on the basis of quality, performance and reliability. Technical support is also a must.
All security solution providers had technicians on call 24/7 at the venues so that any glitch could be quickly resolved, according to Axis. Only the best could be seen on-site, and local, regional, national and international support centers and personnel were called upon whenever necessary.
Issues at Hand Although analog is currently mainstream for stadium security, most agreed that digital, network and intelligent are inevitable. Yet one issue that remains is the challenge with compatibility and system integration. Video surveillance, access control and intrusion alarms must integrate seamlessly, but Infinova feels what is clearly lacking is standard software and hardware interfaces, as well as reliable, generally accepted and continuously evolving management platforms. These cannot be resolved without collaboration among hardware and software suppliers, system integrators and end users.