Sony IP cameras chosen by Virsig in New York City Marathon

Sony IP cameras chosen by Virsig in New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is a tradition held sacred not only by New Yorkers, but by people from around the globe who come to take part in the yearly event. Participants from more than 130 countries vie for a select number of spots to run the 26.2 mile course. Meanwhile, the whole city unites as spectators to cheer on those undertaking one of the most grueling feats of physical stamina and endurance, which in 2014 took an average of 4 hours and 35 minutes to complete.

The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon — held November 2, 2014 — was completed by more than 50,000 runners who ran through all five boroughs ending in the scenic embrace of Central Park. Furthermore, over one million spectators crowded the length of the course for hours to cheer on runners on.

When large crowds gather in confined areas for many hours, the topic naturally turns to security. As a result of this spotlight on safety issues at large-scale and widespread events, like a marathon, a comprehensive plan is put in place to keep the race runners and spectators secure. This year, the New York Road Runners (NYRR), the running club who organizes the annual race and their medical team chose New York City-based networked technology and systems integrator, Virsig, LLC to spearhead and execute their security plans, and to provide technological assistance and direction to increase safety.

Sony was chosen by Virsig to be the IP camera of choice to securely monitor the world's largest marathon, along with support from several other global technology partners including: Firetide, Inc.—a Division of UNICOM Global; Milestone Systems and Network Video Technologies. Sony's cameras were required to perform multiple functions ranging from situational awareness at all entrances and exits, to threat assessment, and personnel management. In excess of 50 Sony security cameras were installed along the route, including SNC-HM662, SNC-XM632, SNC-WR632C, SNC-CH260 and SNC-CH280; which includes fixed cameras with on-board video analytics, dome, bullet, 360 degree and pan-tilt-zoom style cameras.

“To help ensure the safety of the biggest marathon in the world is no small task. Sony is pleased that we were able to be an integral part of the security process for the second year in a row,” said Phil Coppola, Northeast Security Manager, Sony Electronics' Security Systems Division. “Virsig worked day and night to get their system up and running and they had to contend with some terrible weather leading up to the race. With their experience in wireless transmission and video surveillance system design and installation, Virsig allowed the Sony cameras to operate to their fullest potential and play a pivotal role in helping to secure the marathon participants and spectators.”

Although the marathon takes place during the day, the setup occurs over the course of several preceding day, and Sony's cameras needed to be able to perform reliably during daytime and nighttime hours. The Sony high-definition bullet cameras that were used come equipped with infrared illuminators that provided race coordinators with uninterrupted views, regardless of lighting conditions.

Sony's IPELA ENGINE security cameras, which were also installed at the 2013 New York City Marathon, were coordinated through Milestone Systems XProtect Corporate, a powerful IP video management software (VMS) designed for large-scale and high-security deployments. Meanwhile, Sony's new, ultra wide dynamic range IP surveillance cameras were placed throughout the last mile of the race in Central Park and around the finish line.

The innovative SNC-XM632 IPELA ENGINE camera was used in multiple locations for a broad overview of the areas around the entrance and exit points at the race. The camera has a 113-degree wide angle field-of-view and a hi-res, full HD imager, allowing for images that were far more detailed and expansive than anything used in the past.

Additionally, the marathon coordinators required a camera that would provide situational awareness to monitor the activities inside the emergency and medical tents. Because these were temporary structures, they were unable to take advantage of multiple camera views. For those areas, the SNC-HM662, a 5MP camera capable of providing 360 degree views from a single sensor, was selected. From this one camera, race organizers were able to know exactly what was going on in each tent, at all times.

 

“We selected Sony for multiple reasons; first and foremost because of the quality of the picture, and secondly because of the ease of installation,” said Glenn Taylor, Executive Director, Virsig. “We have a very short window to get the equipment up and running and we don't have a lot of direct access to the cameras during the actual marathon. This is particularly why we relied on the photo framing and auto focus that's built into the electronics of the Sony camera.”

The weather leading up to the marathon was very challenging, including freezing cold temperatures and rain, so it was important for Virsig to use cameras that were durable, reliable and self-sufficient. Sony's security cameras automatically adjust to meet requirements in lighting and environment, and hold up to the unpredictable demands of the weather. This ensures that race managers can deal with unforeseen circumstances and medical emergencies and rest assured that the cameras will perform their functions without the attention of a team.

The casual observer may not have noticed Sony's cameras or seen them on the front lines of the marathon, but according to all involved, it was a job well done. Runners were able to focus on their exhausting task while race organizers could concentrate on logistical issues and medical matters, without worrying themselves with the overall safety. Sony's end goal of maintaining a secure and worry-free environment for the over one million people involved in the world's largest race was met, for the second year in a row.

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