Better, faster networking plays into the optimistic outlook for the transportation vertical Our market has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of security systems in the transportation vertical. “Given the advances in processing power and technology, we can only imagine what the capability of an IP camera will be in five years,” comments Anthony Incorvati, business development manager, critical infrastructure and transportation, Axis Communications. “Think about the smart phone you were holding in your hand five years ago, versus now, versus five years from now. It’s the same with IP cameras – the technology is moving that fast.” Better, faster networking also plays into the optimistic outlook. In the future, 4G communication capabilities will expand (and data costs decrease). At some point, it will make economic sense to capture continuous, real-time video streaming from moving buses and trains, says Rob Schwaber, product manager, mobile/transit products, March Networks. “We can do that today in a limited fashion,” he Schwaber says. “But it’s not cost-effective for a large fleet. For a large fleet to have functionality all the time, there’s a lot of bandwidth and costs, but those technologies are getting better and cheaper.” Panasonic foresees video analytics and facial recognition tools playing an increasingly important role in security solutions for transit security. The ability to identify persons of interest, known criminals, or disgruntled employees may help to alert staff to flagged individuals who might be of concern. These capabilities, in combination with high-definition cameras, can be used to capture important details like distinguishing features of a suspect that would not have been possible with previous generation technology. The market is growing, too. As ridership continues to grow, so will security incidents, making integrated, comprehensive security solutions an integral part of the purchasing decisions a transit agency must make to provide the safety and security required for passengers and transit employees. "Technology will need to accommodate growing ridership and be able to stay ahead of criminal tactics and threats to provide the best possible solution" It is important to look at the growing rate of commuters and travelers using public transportation and how this is going to impact existing and future security solutions, says Steve Cruz, strategic transit solutions manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “Technology will need to accommodate growing ridership and be able to stay ahead of criminal tactics and threats to provide the best possible solution,” he says. According to HID Global, the next big things for access control in the transportation vertical are (a) interoperability; (b) adaptability; and (c) simplicity in how identities are created, used and managed across many different applications. These are critical benefits for transportation system operators who must stay abreast of technology advances and ahead of evolving threats, says Jeremy Hyatt, director of marketing, HID Global. In order to deliver these benefits, HID Global has adopted Seos as its credential technology standard. Silicon-independent, Seos can be easily ported across different hardware devices. HID Global’s secure identities can be loaded onto a Seos card at the time of manufacture, or provisioned to a Seos-ready phone via HID Mobile Access, which turns smart phones and other mobiledevices into trusted credentials that can replace keys and smart cards. HID Global secure identities powered by Seos provide an additional trust layer while enabling any smart device to become a trusted credential. As phones become trusted credentials in the near future, the industry can leverage Bluetooth and gesture technology. This, too, is an extremely promising new opportunity for the transportation vertical, says Hyatt. Bluetooth combined with gesture technology enables users to open doors and gates from a distance by rotating their smart phone as they approach a mobile-enabled reader. This improves the user experience while adding an authentication factor to the access control rule set that goes beyond something the cardholder “has” (the card) to include a gesture-based version of something the cardholder “knows” (like a password or personal identification number, or PIN). A user presents the phone to a reader, rotates it to the right, and then returns it to the original position so that the credential inside the phone can be read, and access can be granted. The smart phone knows how the screen is oriented because its accelerometer senses movement and gravity. Gesture commands speed access, minimize the possibility of a rogue device stealing the user’s credential, and give users a great deal of control over how they interact with the access control system. “Just as mouse technology revolutionized the computer interface, gesture technology is expected to change how users interact with access control systems,” says Hyatt of HID Global. "Just as mouse technology revolutionized the computer interface, gesture technology is expected to change how users interact with access control systems" What else is on the horizon for the transportation market? Analytics, analytics, analytics, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. Manufacturers have started to crack the code on some of video analytics’ most dire challenges, he says. The first wave of analytics met the harsh realities of customer environments and eroded confidence in all areas of the security advisory community, most notably among security consultants. Accuracy, processing load and application guidelines have improved greatly since analytics first burst on the scene more than 10 years ago, and it’s time for evolution to take its course. March Networks is also working to further streamline the investigation process for end users and make it more collaborative, facilitating easier sharing of audio and video when an investigation is being processed. Milestone Systems agrees and is taking its sophisticated VMS solutions to the next level – case management. Using video for other purposes, such as police investigations, is becoming more typical. There are also a number of new scenarios being enabled by emerging technologies, adds David King, business development manager, city surveillance, transportation and critical infrastructure, Americas for Milestone Systems. For example, cell phone conversations can be compared with video footage of a platform, or the inside of a train car or bus. The ability to share video in real time and also after the fact enables new capabilities as well.
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 organizations 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 analog-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. Synchronized mapping metadata (based on global positioning system [GPS] information) can be viewed and searched using a specialized 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 analog, 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.)