Special Event? Go for Special Security
Networked surveillance systems can be as complex as they are effective, and the sprawling solution that provided video surveillance for 6,000 athletes from 71 countries and tens of thousands of patrons for the 18th Commonwealth Games was highly ambitious. Linking not only several remote sites at the Melbourne, Australia-based Games, it also incorporated existing infrastructure and video surveillance solutions owned and managed by a number of different corporations and government departments.
The networked solution, comprising hundreds of cameras, was designed to do the essential work of securing venues, athletes and visitors. It combined new security video installations with existing surveillance systems to give organizers and security personnel unprecedented views and control during the 12-day event. Not only were there technical and organizational challenges, but also installation challenges from inception to commissioning, which needed to be completed in just three months
SECURITY NO GAMEThe centralized location of key venues and the many parallel cultural events turned the whole Melbourne Central Business District into a celebration – wonderful for those attending but the sheer size of the coverage area and the many venues made planning and executing a highly effective security system a major challenge. The eventual system combined a number of key remote elements controlled by a single user interface and a management solution running on multiple workstations in a central location.
The management software was the DVTel intelligent Security Operations Center, with its network video management component. Integrated camera surveillance of key sites included the 50-acre Athletes Village; the “Public Domain” area with the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies; and coverage for Vic Roads (the highway authority) and the Victoria Police Center. All video was feed into a central location called the Games Operations Center, or GOC, where cameras were monitored and in some cases, recorded.
The Office of Commonwealth Games (OCGC) oversaw management and coordination of all relevant government departments and corporations to deliver a successful event. The OCGC is not a technical entity so it chose a company with the technical expertise to ensure an effective, timely video surveillance solution: Communications Design and Management (CDM). CDM’s first job was to write bid specifications covering two key areas of the Games’ security system that did not yet exist: security video for the Athletes’ Village and the Public Domain.
Designing and installing the solution for the Public Domain area and buildings involved designing and building the GOC and its integrated pathway to Vic Roads and Victoria Police security video networks. What had been a proposed wireless solution for the transmission of video from the Public Domain cameras to the GOC was converted to transmission over an existing, dedicated 1GB LAN, delivering an abundance of bandwidth for exceptional video transmission and quality. Due to the system’s reliability, connectivity was never lost at any stage throughout the Games.
IT TAKES A SAFE VILLAGEFor the Public Domain, all the dome cameras were Pelco Spectra III SEs. The installation at the GOC included an internal 1GB fiber LAN for 50 operator workstations and six projector workstations and the storage unit with a two terabyte NAS. Video images from all of the Games’ and surrounding area cameras, as well as other data, would flow into the GOC.
At the Athlete’s Village, PTZ, fixed cameras and all related infrastructure were installed and integrated with the perimeter intrusion detection system. The 6,000 athletes and officials had to be protected by the highest possible security, including access control and a strong presence of security officers and police. There were fixed cameras at each of the entrances with Pelco PTZs and domes also used to protect fence lines.
The security video software enabled integration to the perimeter intrusion system; alarm triggers were handled by macro-programmed presets that linked events to PTZ cameras. If an alarm went off a camera would pop video to the screen and display the preset related to that alarm event.
Another vital aspect of the system was video analysis software, which was used to monitor the Village’s four access points for things like unattended baggage, loitering, and other activities. With redundancy of control, management and integration with the perimeter security systems, and video analysis, this was a complete end-to-end solution capable of meeting any security challenge. In terms of system performance, images were viewed and stored at 4CIF and 25 frames per second (PAL) locally, while offsite storage was at CIF and 20 fps.
“We don’t think anyone else has a dome system like this one,” said Simon Langdon, of Landmark Security. “Our installation used all the capabilities in terms of remote management, alarm interface and presets.”
The site of the opening and closing ceremonies, the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s 350-camera system played a significant role at the Commonwealth Games. There were more than 70,000 people in the MCG for the opening and closing ceremonies, along with thousands of performers, and around 600 security staff.