"Many disasters have occurred in the world, but few have also provided so much delight for posterity." There probably are no better words to describe Pompeii than Goethe’s during one of his trips to Italy – the area of Pompeii encompasses 440,000 square meters that include the archaeological excavations of the ancient Roman city submerged by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, frozen in time by the sudden rain of ash and lava rock that preserved it for centuries.

In 1997 UNESCO declared Pompeii a World Heritage Site, on account of the fact that the extraordinary findings in the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and neighbouring cities buried by the eruption provide a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life that have been preserved nearly intact for two millennia.

Presently Pompeii is the flagship of the Pompeii Authority, an Institute of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism provided with special autonomy, which is active in the area of protection, conservation, and public access to cultural heritage sites.

The Great Pompeii project: video security needs

The need to install a video security system was born of the Great Pompeii project, an undertaking ordered by the Italian Government for the purpose of reinforcing the effectiveness of the conservation actions and programmes in the archaeological area of Pompeii, by developing an extraordinary and urgently needed programme of conservation, prevention, maintenance, and restoration.

An important and demanding operation, also in financial terms – €105 million from Fesr and national funding – with the objective of modernising the Pompeii archaeological site, not only by stabilising and restoring decorated walls and surfaces, but also by means of security and leveraging the video security system.

Metoda's technical expertise

"The reasons underlying the
need to implement a video
security system included protection of archaeological findings, to tourist control"

The project, supported and accompanied by a suitable scientific and technical study plan for the purposes of identifying, researching the scientific knowledge and guiding the operating choices, called for launching a bid for tenders for a new video security system, which was eventually awarded to Metoda in August 2014.

An Italian company in the providing solutions, software projects, and consulting in diverse IT and tele-communications sectors – from mobile payments to building management, including civil protection, security and networking – Metoda employs more than 300 experts, from professionals and specialised technicians involved in the business units dedicated to specific applications, including research and development, which collaborates with prestigious research institutes and universities for many years.

"The feather in the cap for Metoda is SOA certification, which was received precisely because of our complex internal organisation and attests to the financial and technical capacity of the firm to qualify for designing and implementing large scale public tenders," explains Cesare Gonnelli, Deputy Manager of Metoda.

From "under observation" to "under video surveillance"

"The reasons underlying the need to implement a video security system were multifaceted, from protection of the archaeological findings, which are often the object of theft and vandalism, to tourist control," adds Gonnelli.

The archaeological site, which may receive up to 15,000 tourists in a single day – a numerical turnout second to only the Coliseum – sends us very frequent reports of graffiti, scratches, and defacing of the walls and frescoes of the Roman Domus villas, which are at the heart of the archaeological site. These acts of vandalism are carried out by tourists with their pens and fingernails when they somehow manage to stay within the walls on purpose even after the site is closed to the public.

Furthermore, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks, the Authority evaluated the opportunity of utilizing an advanced video security system in support of the physical surveillance activity of the guards. "In fact one of the priorities was being able to clearly distinguish the face of the people and monitoring behaviour that looked out of place inside the area, as well as any objects left behind and considered potentially suspicious," continues Gonnelli.

MOBOTIX video surveillance solution

The recordings can be viewed on nine 42-inch monitors in a dedicated control room
Cameras were installed on light posts along the perimeter, and on the walls of the Roman Domus villas

Partnering with MOBOTIX since 2011, Metoda had no doubt about the best product to offer to the Pompeii Authority for implementing the video surveillance project.

"MOBOTIX easily satisfied the requirements of the bid for tenders, and was in fact the only technology truly capable of providing an answer to the actual requirements of the Authority.

A resounding victory, most of all because of the quality of the images, which completely surpassed all the expectations of the customer.".

The installation of the first video cameras – almost all of them D15, with the exception of about ten D25 chosen to blend with the architecture and style – started in July 2015, but already in December Pompeii was under surveillance by 240 video cameras, with the objective of reaching more than 380 before the end of the summer, installed both on the light posts placed both along the perimeter of the archaeological site, and on the internal and external walls of the Roman Domus villas.

In any event, the video security system is a much more complex IT and telecommunications project, as it required the implementation of a complex network support infrastructure (12 fibre optic rings and 88 nodes) thanks to the strong expertise of Metoda in networking, with a department specifically dedicated to software development and the integration of IT and telecommunication systems.

Event-activated video surveillance

The video cameras are in operation 24 hours a day, but with the exception of special particular requirements, are only event-activated, in order not to overload the storage, notwithstanding the 700-TB NAS archive system. The recordings can later be viewed on nine 42-inch monitors in a dedicated control room provided with four workstations dedicated for the monitoring personnel.

The cameras are event-activated, in order not to overload the storage, notwithstanding the 700-TB NAS archive system

No issues were encountered during neither the installation phases nor the deployment of the system, thanks also to the technical expertise of Metoda.

"Likewise, no complaints from the personnel in charge of using the system (for the time being the same guards at the park), who received a minimum amount of training, but certainly cannot be called ‘expert’ in the utilisation of advanced technology systems. The ease of use of MOBOTIX solutions certainly gave us an advantage in the quick deployment of the project," concludes Gonnelli.

High image quality

As in most of the projects implemented by MOBOTIX, the praise should also be attributed in this case to the excellent quality of the images, which cannot be compared – also according to Metoda – to any other system available in the market. Certainly the decentralised concept of MOBOTIX played an important role in promoting all the virtues of the system, especially because of the number of video cameras involved, which prevents overloading the network under "critical" utilisation conditions.

Both Metoda’s and the end user’s needs have been satisfied – a fact only confirmed by the idea that considerations are being made to implement a video analysis system to support the anti-graffiti activities, with the objective of studying behaviours considered "suspicious." As such, they could prevent acts of vandalism that could cause irreparable damage to the artistic and cultural heritage.

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2018 FIFA World Cup Russia integrates safety, security and service
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia integrates safety, security and service

The 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament is bringing 32 national teams and more than 400,000 foreign football fans from all over the world to 12 venues in 11 cities in Russia. Fans are crowding into cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. Given continuing global concerns about terrorism, security is top-of-mind. Protection of the World Cup games in Russia is focusing on an “integrated safety, security and service approach,” according to officials. Combining the term “security” with the terms “safety” and “service” is not an accident. An aggressive security stance is necessary, but at the end of the day, fan safety is paramount, and a service-oriented approach ensures a positive fan experience. Medical responders will be working side-by-side with police and antiterrorism personnel. Risk management best practices We asked Sean T. 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In Russia, there is no such restriction.  A broad range of technology will play a role at the World Cup, Horner and Joelson agree. Technology will be used primarily as a force multiplier and a decision-support tool for security personnel. There are robust CCTV systems in many Russian cities, and mobile CCTV systems, such as camera towers or mobile security centres on wheels, will also be deployed. Technologies will include infrared cameras, flood lights, and ferromagnetic screening systems to scan hundreds of individuals as they walk by. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors. Behaviour analytics will be used as a decision-support tool. In addition to security in public areas, private CCTV systems in hotels, at transportation hubs, and inside the venues themselves will be leveraged. Video analytics and detection will help personnel review live view of people who may be acting suspiciously or who leave a bag unattended. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors Rigorous anti-terrorism measures A Fan ID card is required to enter the 2018 World Cup Tournament, even for Russian residents. The Russians have an aggressive stance against domestic terrorism, which will also help ensure the safety of the World Cup games, say Horner and Joelson. Terrorist group ISIS has promised “unprecedented violence” at the games, but they make similar threats at every major global event. Russia has been an active force disrupting ISIS in Syria, and experts suggest that losing ground geographically could lead to addition “asymmetric” terrorist attacks. However, Russia is leveraging all their intelligence resources to identify any plots and deploying their security apparatus to disrupt any planned attacks, experts say. Russia’s rigorous anti-terrorism measures include a total ban on planes and other flying devices (such as drones) around the stadiums hosting the World Cup. Private security In addition to military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel, private security will play a have a high profile during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Private security personnel will be on the front lines in hotels and in “fan zones.” They will operate magnetometers at entrances, perform bag checks, enforce restrictions on hand-carried items, etc. Private security will be especially important to the “guest experience” aspects of protecting the games. 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Joelson notes that freedom of speech is not as valued in Russia as in other parts of the world, so the scales will be even more tipped toward security. “The last thing they want is for things to get out of control,” says Horner. “The event is putting Russia on the world stage, and they want visitors to walk away safely after having a great time and wanting to go back in the future.” Attendees should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations" Precautions for World Cup attendees Attendees to the World Cup in Russia should take some basic precautions, Horner and Joelson agree. For example, Russia requires a translated, notarised letter explaining any prescription drugs. The country has a more aggressive foreign intelligence environment, so visitors cannot depend on their data being private. Joelson recommends the usual “social media hygiene” and privacy settings. Visitors should not post information about their travel plans or locations, and it’s best to travel with a disposable mobile phone that does not contain personal information. Location tracking should be deactivated. Travellers should also beware of talking and sharing information with others, or of saying anything derogatory. “They should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations,” says Joelson. “If you bring a personal electronic device, you should expect that it has been compromised,” says Horner. Text messages and email will not be private, and he suggests creating an email address used only for travel. Don’t leave drinks unattended. Travellers from the U.S. should register at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) operated by the U.S. State Department. “Plan before you travel and before you get to the airport,” says Horner.

The benefits and challenges of in-camera audio analytics for surveillance solutions
The benefits and challenges of in-camera audio analytics for surveillance solutions

Audio is often overlooked in the security and video surveillance industry. There are some intercom installations where audio plays a key role, but it’s not typically thought about when it comes to security and event management. Audio takes a back seat in many security systems because audio captured from a surveillance camera can have a different impact on the privacy of those being monitored. Audio surveillance is therefore subject to strict laws that vary from state to state. Many states require a clearly posted sign indicating audio recording is taking place in an area before a person enters. Analytic information derived from audio can be a useful tool and when implemented correctly, removes any concerns over privacy or legal compliance. Audio analytics on the edge overcomes legal challenges as it never passes audio outside of the camera Focused responses to events Audio analytics processed in the camera, has been a niche and specialised area for many installers and end users. 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Any high-quality external microphone should easily outperform a camera’s internal microphone in terms of analytic accuracy, so it is worth considering in areas where audio information gathering is deemed most important. In-built audio-video analytics Surveillance cameras with a dedicated SoC (System on Chip) have become available in recent years with in-built video and audio analytics that can detect and classify audio events and send alerts to staff and emergency for sounds such as gunshots, screams, glass breaks and explosions. Having a SoC allows a manufacturer to reserve space for specialised features. For audio analytics, a database of reference sounds is needed for comparison. The camera extracts the characteristics of the audio source collected using the camera's internal or externally connected microphone and calculates its likelihood based on the pre-defined database. 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How important is packaging in the commercial security market?
How important is packaging in the commercial security market?

High-quality products are the building blocks of successful physical security systems. How they are packaged may sometimes be seen as an unimportant detail or an afterthought. But should it be? Effective packaging can serve many functions, from creating a favorable customer impression to ensuring the product isn’t damaged in transit. Packaging can also contribute to ease of installation. On the negative side, excess packaging can be an environmental concern, especially for customers who are sensitive to green factors or to minimising waste. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Is packaging of products important in the commercial security market? Why or why not?