Many purpose-focused stand-alone systemsaddress business goals aside from security Transportation gets passengers and goods to their destination safely and in a timely manner. Making transportation possible are purpose-focused stand-alone systems – many that address business goals and others that achieve safety/security goals. Some systems can impact both business and security goals. For example, access control can eliminate the expense and maintenance of locks and keys at many doors, and also can provide much greater visibility and management over who is allowed to go where. On the business side, train ticketing systems allow passengers to take advantage of self-service and avoid lines, while flight information display systems (FIDS) bring valuable information to passengers. Each system drives efficiency in the customer experience, and makes customers happier and more likely to return. Now consider integrating each of these with video surveillance, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. The value of the video system, often considered a cost of safety and security, increases exponentially. With video, end users can verify who is using an access credential, such as a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), at secure entry points. They can verify if ticketing kiosks are operating properly before dispatching service. If you overlay FIDS data on video at each gate, you can increase the service levels of the aircraft and make it simple to identify gate activity with associated flights, which then creates further business efficiency. “These are only some of the opportunities available for safer and smarter transportation,” says Phillips. Many transportation providers have chosen Verint as a cornerstone provider, and each is using a different configuration or combination of Verint solutions to enable their needs today and in the future Verint provides customers with a trusted path forward in expanding their video and situation management footprint. Many transportation providers have chosen Verint as a cornerstone provider, and each is using a different configuration or combination of Verint solutions to enable their needs today and in the future. Verint offerings for situation management help customers adhere to standard processes in tracking and managing incidents. Verint’s video management solution allows customers to record video in fixed positions or on mobile vehicles transporting passengers. Verint video analytics provide a means to make staff more effective in addressing both urgent and latent situations. March Networks also sees a growing trend toward using video beyond security. “We have seen this in other verticals,” says Dan Cremins, director, product line management, March Networks. “These customers are looking for ways to use video to learn more about what’s going on in their facilities.” Examples might include people counting, or the ability to determine demographics (such as gender and age) for marketing purposes. Tying video in with fare systems is another possibility— providing a new type of metadata that can be synced with video. The identity of someone on a video might be provided by their frequent rider card information, for example. Transit operators sometimes overlook how cameras can help improve operations, says John Recesso, strategic business development manager, Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. IP cameras can help manage equipment maintenance, ensure vehicles are operating on schedule, and protect their organisations from false incident reports. The biggest challenge in deploying these systems tends to be budget limitations, so operators often choose less expensive, low-feature-set solutions, Recesso says. However, transit operators that install robust IP surveillance equipment often find that the added security and operational cost savings mean the system pays for itself in just a few years. A challenge is how transportation operators can integrate onboard video from trains, buses and other vehicles (such as police, emergency responders, etc.) into the infrastructure command centre post, notes Recesso. Doing so would enable onboard video to be managed in conjunction with other video systems rather than as a standalone system. Currently, transportation operators that deploy onboard surveillance tend to use analogue systems, and they are just now migrating those applications to IP. Most see onboard video solutions as being distinctly separate from the video systems used to secure stations, bridges, rail/road infrastructure, parking garages and other facilities – but they should be integrated and managed as one complete system. This provides a more complete operating picture of the transportation system and how it is integrated to greater citywide surveillance.
In-vehicle technology allows security officials to view live footage from the bus’ cameras during an emergency One of the biggest security opportunities in transportation is onboard surveillance for buses and trains. While most transit organisations have invested heavily in video security for facilities such as terminals and stations, far fewer have taken the next step and installed IP cameras on board vehicles, says John Recesso, strategic business development manager, Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. This is partly due to historic limitations of onboard video surveillance equipment, which has not delivered quality video in poor lighting conditions or on vehicles that are bouncing and shaking, Recesso says. In addition, video has traditionally been recorded to onboard devices that cannot be accessed remotely in real-time, which greatly limits video usefulness in emergency planning scenarios. However, all of that has been changing in the past few years, and onboard surveillance is now more practical and affordable than ever, he adds. Last year, Sony introduced a series of IP cameras rated for use on board buses and trains, specially designed with ultra-wide-angle lenses that can cover the tight spaces inside a bus or train. Another major supplier, Panasonic, worked closely with the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) Transit Police Division to design and deploy an integrated security solution to replace its aging analogue-based system. With Panasonic’s i-PRO Transit Solution in place, Denver RTD has effectively reduced the manpower hours spent manually uploading video data and improved the agency’s ability to better address security issues if and when they occur. The Panasonic solution is currently being installed across Denver’s bus fleet to ensure the safety and security of their bus system for 101 million passenger trips a year. Onboard surveillance is now more practical and affordable than ever The inside and outside of Denver RTD’s buses were equipped with durable full HD 1080 and HD 720p network cameras. The cameras are integrated with hardware and software components for recording, file transfer, viewing and management to deliver an end-to-end mobile security solution. The in-vehicle technology allows security officials to view live footage from the bus’s cameras during an emergency, from up to a block away. Panasonic’s open platform compact dome network cameras with microphone capabilities allow communication with the driver and deliver improved video quality along with wider fields of view for onboard applications. The vandal-resistant cameras are engineered to withstand shocks and impacts, and are IP66-rated water and dust resistant. Additionally, the in-vehicle recorders are equipped with anti-vibration mounts to ensure longer-term performance. In the transportation vertical, March Networks concentrates on providing cameras and video systems on board buses and trains. Products include cameras and hybrid video recorders that are purpose-built for the onboard environment, and a related suite of client and server management software. The company’s end-to-end solutions are geared to operate despite the vibration and other challenges of a moving vehicle. The software is smart enough to do “revision management” – that is, to enable intermittent video downloads whenever connectivity is available and to manage faults, alarms and system health monitoring for a large fleet of assets that are not connected. If something goes wrong, whether a power interruption or camera malfunction, the system has to “understand” the condition and adapt (by delaying startup or shutdown, for example) to ensure that all data is preserved. (In the event that power to the bus is cut, a backup battery keeps the system running until it can be shut down properly.) Also, the system is configurable to specific circumstances. Synchronised mapping metadata (based on global positioning system [GPS] information) can be viewed and searched using a specialised map-based interface. March Networks’ Ridesafe GT series of network video recorders are designed to be positioned inside or outside a bus or train March Networks’ latest products include the Ridesafe GT series of network video recorders, a variety of mobile cameras with various lenses, HD resolution, using IP or analogue, and designed to be positioned inside or outside a bus or train. Transportation is one of three verticals March Networks focuses on – the other two are banking and retail. One of March Networks’ customers on the West Coast has a fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles, including 40-ft standard buses; 60-ft articulated buses, and shorter “paratransit” buses. The customer’s system includes cameras, NVRs and March Networks’ automation solutions, and also incorporates GPS tracking, WiFi capability and uses an accelerometer to sense a vehicle impact (and provide direction and speed information). Each vehicle has between seven to nine cameras, each operating 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Hundreds of millions of frames of video footage have been collected over the last five years that March Networks has been a supplier. The system streamlines and automates the process of collecting audio, video and metadata from each vehicle in the fleet. The system enables the customer to understand the status of the fleet of buses that are only connected when they visit the depot. “We have been very successful,” says Rob Schwaber, product manager, mobile/transit products, March Networks. “We have limited their liability, made the video available, saved money in terms of when equipment needs to be replaced.” He says special features in the video management software allow replacement of an element in the system using a configuration template, with automatic provisioning. Metadata collected by the system includes GPS and accelerometer data, whether a door is open or closed, etc., all synced with the video to simplify investigations. The driver can hit a “panic button” in order to tag a section of video as important, thus ensuring that it will be archived and not purged. (Untagged video is preserved for 30 days.)
The security landscape continues to evolve in new, complex ways for transportation customers Dealers looking to enter – or to expand their presence in – the transportation vertical must adapt to the unique needs of each transportation agency customer. Issues such as limited budgets/resources, aging technologies, operational challenges and safety issues must all be considered when designing a system to best meet an agency’s needs. Integrators should seek to identify solutions that improve the agency’s capabilities to reduce manpower and operational costs, while providing the necessary level of safety and security for passengers and employees alike, says Steve Cruz, strategic transit solutions manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. Tools like video analytics and easy-to-use video management software should be considered. It is also important to find technologies that are compatible with old systems and can be easily integrated with new technologies. “By understanding an agency’s everyday challenges, integrators can provide the best solution possible for each agency’s unique needs,” Cruz says. For dealer/integrators, the non-homogeneity of the transportation market is one of its benefits, says Anthony Incorvati, business development manager, critical infrastructure and transportation, Axis Communications. He advises dealers to build business by seeking opportunities across the diverse choices in transportation. “Once they look at their own strengths and weaknesses, integrators can play off that and align themselves with a sub-segment of the market,” he advises. There are many integrators who can play in various parts of the sub-segments, some of them very specialised, Incorvati notes. For example, an integrator could specialise in specific types of work in an airport project, a seaport project or a certain scope within a transit department. “There are specialised scopes of work that have specialised integrators,” says Incorvati. Sometimes it’s hard to become successful in a transportation category for integrators more experienced with general applications. “If you haven’t done it before, and if you’ve only done static deployments – only strip malls and elementary schools – it’s a very different and challenging market,” Incorvati says. “It’s not just providing product, but working in the various environments, with unions, during hours when trains aren’t in service. It’s very demanding in terms of contract deliverables and documentation – more than just providing hardware and software. It’s important to understand what these end users require and demand from their integrators.” For example, the intelligent transportation system (ITS) market tends to be specialised with a focused group of integrators, with little opportunity for new players, Incorvati says. The security integrator, not just the security systems, is paramount to the success of any type of system implementation at a transportation entity, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. The security integrator’s on-site and service staff can develop a deep understanding of the facility engineering, IT operational standards and customer personnel to identify synergies, foresee hidden obstacles and bring a wealth of experience from previous similar projects, Phillips says. But does everyone realise the value of the security integrator’s perspective? The integrator would be wise to hold regularly scheduled performance reviews where they set some or most of the agenda, and ensure that new ideas and areas of opportunity are presented against the backdrop of cost mitigation or revenue improvement, says Phillips. The customer may see these ideas as credibility-building and be willing to grant integrators one of their most important assets – trust. The security landscape continues to evolve in new, complex ways for transportation customers, says Jeremy Hyatt, director of marketing, HID Global. This evolution brings change on many levels, which can and should be interpreted as an opportunity for improvement rather than an interruption or a distraction. This concept has never been more important for integrators as they face increasing pressure to deliver greater value and solve more complex problems for their transportation customers, Hyatt says. “Integrators can help these customers to expand and upgrade their systems easily and inexpensively to meet changing needs while leveraging new technologies,” he says. With access control platforms that use dynamic rather than static technologies, security become independent of hardware and media, supporting evolution beyond current abilities with the adaptability to combat continuously changing threats. “Helping transportation customers make the right technology decisions today will also help them meet new requirements with the confidence they will be able to preserve investments in their existing infrastructure,” says Hyatt. As with any market, security integrators need to take time to cultivate a relationship with the end users, so that they can design solutions that best fit the customer’s needs, says John Recesso, strategic business development manager, Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. Integrators should also have a deep understanding of the transportation industry and its unique challenges, so they can speak intelligently with decision makers and act as true partners, he adds. Finally, it’s critical that they have a team with the technical experience necessary to see the installation through from beginning to end, as well as provide post-installation troubleshooting, training and support, according to Recesso.