With just over 600,000 people, Rotterdam might not be the largest city in the world but it certainly is well known. Home to one of the largest ports in the world, the illustrious Erasmus Bridge, and the starting place of the 2010 Tour de France, Rotterdam has caught the same amount of attention as many other cosmopolitan cities.
It's no wonder then that the Dutch systems integrator, Alphatron Security Systems, recently received a European grant to set up new or replacement video surveillance systems in nine major parking garages around the city. Responsible for supervising the implementation of these networks was Paul Jungschläger, Project Manager for the Municipality of Rotterdam (Stadstoezicht Rotterdam).
"After Alphatron Security Systems received the grant in the fall of 2009, they had the complete system up and running by mid-February 2010," said Mr. Jungschläger. "We are just putting the final touches on the centralised aspects of the network. Now you can see everything in all the garages, so any problems that arise can be swiftly dealt with by the control room staff or, if need be, the police."
Setting up the system
Alphatron Security Systems designed a customised IP video surveillance system for each of the nine parking garages, including the Erasmusbrug and Schouwburgplein parking garages. The garages range from just a few metres under the ground to nearly nine metres down. The network uses the city's existing fibre optic cabling infrastructure and C2000 microcontrollers to connect and extend the range of the networks.
Recognition cameras are installed at each of the entrances and Siqura PTZ IP and fixed dome cameras (from Siqura) are installed throughout the interior of the garages. Siqura is the manufacturer of Siqura® advanced surveillance solutions and its cameras were chosen for installation in the garages in order to get the best quality images for each system.
"Siqura is very critical about who it works with," said Remko Bischhoff from Alphatron Security Systems. "Like Alphatron Security Systems, Siqura wants to be sure that the system it deploys works exactly as the customer wants it to, so we knew we could count on the Siqura cameras to provide quality images and carry out the required tasks, such as ensuring the availability of images through an integrated tampering alarm."
Collectively, hundreds of cameras and contact closure equipment stream to local control rooms from which operators can watch live video footage via Alphatron's video management system (VMS), the Alphatron Visual Control Application (AVCA) Expert. Each garage is equipped with a network video recorder (NVR) that saves and authenticates all the footage transmitted from the cameras for a period of seven days. Managers are able to review this recorded footage and use it, as required, to counter vandalism.
"Since the new system was installed, we have been able to just hand over the video recordings of illegal activity to the police, like when a driver intentionally destroyed freshly painted lines on the garage floor or one who drove through the barriers," said Mr. Jungschläger. "However, the systems were primarily set up to help the people who park in the garages and that's really who benefits the most from having all these cameras installed. Issues can be handled quickly and effectively due to the complete oversight offered by the CCTV network."
|Operators using the surveillance system throughout the city have an overview of the entire situation|
The video surveillance systems in each of the parking garages are designed to grow with the city's needs, for example, eventually configuring the cameras to detect smoke or fires in the garages. Currently, Mr. Jungschläger, on behalf of the Rotterdam municipality, and Remko Bischhoff from Alphatron are centralising the system so that operators positioned at three work stations throughout the city will have an overview of the entire situation and exchange images from the separate garages as necessary.
"Some of the garages are so close together that if something happens at one, it's nice to have a team just down the road to back you up," explains Mr. Jungschläger. "Although some additional training was needed for the operators and managers, everyone working directly with the system is really happy about it."
Fewer cars on the street
After just a few weeks of productive daily operation, the network proved that it could effectively help operators to facilitate the use and security of the parking garage. This ultimately leads to fewer cars parked on the busy streets of this relatively small but renowned city. Consequently, through the help of Alphatron Security Systems and Siqura, Rotterdam and its municipality are guaranteed of safer and quieter streets, distinguishing this world city from so many other growing metropolises.
The Siqura Area Manager for the Netherlands, Arthur Huijskens, comments: "It's inspiring to see how a manufacturer, a systems integrator, and an end-user can work together the way Siqura, Alphatron Security Systems, and the City of Rotterdam have to make a project like this a real success."