Theme park surveillance
Nestled on the banks of the river Thames, Kew Gardens in southwest London is home to the most diverse collection of living plants anywhere in the world. At 330 acres in size, it’s London’s largest UNESCO world heritage site, and has a history stretching back more than 250 years. The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, attracts more than 1.6 million visitors every year, coming to see the 30,000 different kinds of plants, and to visit the Herbarium, which has over seven million preserved plant specimens. As an internationally important botanical research and educational institution, Kew’s library contains more than three quarters of a million books, along with more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plant life. 24/7 Video Surveillance Coverage A need was identified to upgrade the existing legacy analog CCTV system to one capable of transmitting and recording in true HD Kew Gardens hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, including festivals, concerts and art exhibitions, as well as learning experiences for all ages and interests, in addition to the garden attractions. The site is accessible via London Underground, Overground, buses and river services in summer, and the public can enter via four separate gates: the Elizabeth Gate, the Brentford Gate, Victoria Gate and the Lion Gate. There are also a number of other access gates to the gardens which are not open to the public. Because of the sheer volume of visitors and the multitude of public and trade entrances to Kew Gardens, the site requires around the clock video surveillance coverage, seven days a week. Analog To IP CCTV System Kew’s CCTV control room operations team works to monitor the safety and security of the park, but a need was identified to upgrade the existing legacy analog CCTV system to one capable of transmitting and recording in true High Definition. Security specialist firm The ITS Group was called in to help. The ITS Group is comprised of ITS Fire and Security, ITS Electrical, ITS Fire Training and ITS Building Services. The company has 20 years of experience within the fire and security industry, and provides CCTV, intruder alarms, barrier gates, security lighting, panic alarms, access control, and door and video entry, alongside a swathe of other services. The results were achieved in the process of implementing a Hikvision IP HD video surveillance system ITS Group Director Tim Dyer said the Kew project required upgrading equipment in the Gardens’ security control room and providing site-wide cameras which can be used to view all entrances for both public and trade, as well as various strategic locations throughout the Gardens. Challenges In Installing Surveillance System The massive 330-acre site is a huge area to monitor in itself, and Tim Dyer says the very public nature of the Gardens and its operations meant the actual video system installation posed some security continuity challenges. “Because the control room needed to be in operation 24/7, close co-ordination was required between ITS and the security team on-site,” he says. “We needed to maintain the CCTV in line with the changing site requirements on a daily basis. This, coupled with access issues and working in a public environment, was very challenging, and the fact that we were able to achieve such good results is testament to the close co-ordination between the site team and Kew security.” Those results were achieved in the process of implementing a Hikvision IP High Definition video surveillance system, which included new 43-inch and 22-inch HD monitors for the control room, along with new touchscreen network keyboards and joysticks. HD Images In Low Light When there’s no light at all, the Darkfighter cameras switch to IR mode and record black and white images at 0 LuxControl room operators monitor images from a number of different Hikvision cameras. These include an initial 48 DarkfighterX network speed domes, which provide color HD images in light levels as low as 0.001 Lux. That’s pretty dark. And when it gets darker still, they provide black and white images in light levels down to 0.0001 Lux. When there’s no light at all, the Darkfighter cameras switch to IR mode and record black and white images at 0 Lux. In addition, they offer 25x zoom capabilities and Deep Learning-powered target classification for automatic tracking and perimeter protection. They’re complemented by 29 Darkfighter 2 megapixel motorized varifocal lens cameras, 21 ultra-low light smart bullet cameras, and six low light smart cameras. Images are recorded to Hikvision 16-channel Turbo HD digital video recorders which support analog, HD-TVI, and IP cameras, H.264, H.264+ and dual-stream compression, and can output at up to 4K resolution. Improved Picture Quality The Gardens now have a full HD system which can be expanded with additional cameras in the future"The resulting system is not only powerful and effective in the short-term but is purposefully planned to incorporate forthcoming changes. “The Gardens now have a full HD system which can be expanded with additional cameras in the future,” Tim Dyer says. “It allows them to take advantage of technology advances and newly developed functionality on any cameras or devices they add to the system in future.” Tim Dyer says the Hikvision system has revolutionised Kew’s video picture quality and functionality. “Making the change from an old analog system to installing a new Hikvision IP system has transformed the Gardens’ picture quality, both during the day and at night,” he says. “The zoom facility is amazing and precise, and the reliability of them is second to none, making the work of the control room operatives a much easier role.” The HD surveillance system has been received exceptionally well by those whose opinion matters most: the security team at Kew Gardens. John Deer, Head of Security, said: “I am delighted with the installation of Hikvision cameras at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. They are of the highest quality, which has enhanced the overall security across the 330-acre site.”
The Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, likes things fast, too. For more than 100 years, it has offered exhilarating thrill rides as part of its entertainment package. The park’s Fire Dragon Double-Loop Rollercoaster hits speeds of 90 kilometers per hour, and its Lagoon-A-Beach Waterpark promises 550,000 gallons of liquid fun. Identification Cards Like many other parks, Lagoon provides identification cards to its employees and offers season passes (called Season Passports) with identification cards to its guests. But the equipment formerly used to print the cards was not keeping up with the pace of the park. “As the public demand for Season Passports increased, it was becoming more difficult to keep up with the desired pace,” said Nic Young, ticketing manager. “We used to take Polaroid pictures and laminate them onto pre-printed cards but matching the pictures with the cards was tricky. It was easy to put the wrong picture on someone’s card.”Lagoon now is able to satisfy the needs of its employees and guests with the updated card printing technology The multi-step process also was slow and cumbersome – not a minor concern with 2,500 employee ID badges and more than 30,000 season passes issued every year. Lagoon now is able to satisfy the needs of its employees and guests with the updated card printing technology, bringing the park back to its desired speed. ID badges And Card-printing Technology “These printers are extremely fast,” said Young, “which is especially important during our busy months of May and June. I also like the one-step printing process and the fact that the printers are easy to maintain and keep clean.” The Employee Services department uses colored ribbons when printing employee ID cards, identifying employees 15 years of age or younger by printing those names in red on the employee’s card. The Ticketing department uses standard black ribbons for its season passes. With five computer stations in the Season Passport photo area, ticketers can issue passes to large groups of people at the same time. Barcode Technology Both employee and Season Passport ID cards use barcode technologyBoth employee and Season Passport ID cards use barcode technology. For employees, the barcodes specify the level of park access and also bring up full-sized pictures of the employees to be viewed by Lagoon security. For Season Passport holders, barcodes record when a passport has been used or restrict passport usage on specified dates (such as during Lagoon’s July Fun Pass). Now that the Lagoon Amusement Park has established its current system, computer stations at the gates can track Season Passport access information and provide valuable marketing information. “We’re trying to increase our per person usage through promotions such as our Season Passport Holder coupon books,” Young said. “Our ID card system allows us to record our progress.” The bottom line, however, is speed. “There are no more long lines,” Young said. “We’re able to operate at full capacity all day long, allowing our guests to get their Season Passports quickly and proceed directly to the fun.”
Plopsaland De Panne is a flagship visitor attraction, the first of six spectacular theme parks now operated by the Plopsa Group in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. These popular parks are based on the TV characters of Studio 100, with each character having its own themed area featuring attractions, music and decorations to match. Against a background of heightened terrorist risk affecting all public spaces the management board of Plopsaland De Panne wanted to ensure that visitors and staff at Plopsaland could continue to enjoy themselves while feeling safe and protected. A review of preparedness was conducted with the help of the Brussels federal police and specialist officers and important new measures were identified, including an upgraded camera surveillance system. Finding A Comprehensive CCTV System The initial system consisted of 60 cameras (including 360˚ fisheye, bullet, box and dome models) linked to a 64- and a 32-channel recorders (NVRs) The new camera system approved by Plopsaland De Panne’s management board would have to provide enhanced monitoring of key areas, easy mobile viewing, sharper images, faster streaming and continuous recording. After assessing the market, Plopsaland’s Head of IT, Jochen Andries identified IDIS as the best partner for this comprehensive CCTV upgrade. Specialist technical teams from Plopsaland and IDIS worked in tandem to identify, and solve, all the technical challenges that the new installation presented. This included identifying the optimum equipment to use, determining the most effective camera positions and working out the least disruptive installation schedule. Installation Of 60 Cameras Along With NVRs The total process, from the initial police consultation to the final commissioning at the end of 2016, took just six months. Plopsaland De Panne’s technical department installed the new system, with hand-in-glove backup from IDIS. The initial system consisted of 60 cameras (including 360˚ fisheye, bullet, box and dome models) linked to a 64 and a 32-channel recorders (NVRs). Thanks to careful planning, the system ran smoothly from the very start, without any significant problems. Now, a year on, the images are super-clear, there is continuous recording and the speed of the system is perfect, even during the retrieval of images with live streaming. Based on this success, more new cameras will now be installed, and coverage extended. The next phase cameras will be in the same color as their background settings, making them practically invisible. Plopsaland, Head of IT, Jochen Andries praises the expertise and collaborative approach of the IDIS team, which was led by commercial and technical advisor Filip van Quickenborne.
Nick Dooley comments on LOCKEN's efforts to provide optimum security to leisure organizations Leisure facilities, such as theme parks and entertainment destinations, which employ thousands of staff and see tens of thousands of visitors pass through their gates each day, have demanding and complex security requirements. In order to provide a security solution suitable for each element of the infrastructure, including rides, shops, restaurants, photo booths, hotels and maintenance areas, it is vital that access control is easy to install, use and manage. The most reliable and robust access control solution for this type of business is centered on the key, incorporating the power source, access control and tracking in one smart electronic device. Without a mechanical profile, each smart key is unique, impossible to duplicate and reprogrammable, enabling it to open one or all access points and in the event of loss or theft it can quickly be disabled. Digital Access Control Solution Holds Authorization Information A digital access control solution also holds authorization information for any number of sites, including approval based on time, date and location. Nick Dooley, managing director of LOCKEN UK, leading developers of a secure and traceable access control management solution, explains: “We work with a number of leisure organizations within the UK and Europe to provide optimum security and safety for staff and visitors.” “The wide range of our padlocks and cylinders makes it possible to replace every existing mechanical cylinder without having to alter access infrastructures and our software solution ensures flexible access schedule management and full traceability of all operations.” LOCKEN Access-Control Solution - Easy To Install And Use "All park accesses have been fitted with a unique cable free solution that is easy to install and use" Parc Asterix, a company of the Compagnie Des Alpes Group and France's second biggest theme park, has chosen the LOCKEN access-control solution for all park accesses. Laurent Copois, Parc Asterix Security Manager, comments: "Implementing a high-performance access control solution enables us to efficiently achieve our objectives: secure sensitive facilities, ensure access traceability, manage remote access rights, and achieve overall supervision of park security. All park accesses have been fitted with a unique cable free solution that is easy to install and use."
FLIR thermal imaging cameras secure the perimetre of Industriepark HöchstWith its state of the art technical infrastructure, perfect access to international transit routes and its proximity to key suppliers and financial markets, it is no wonder that many of the world's leading chemical and pharmaceutical companies have set up facilities in Industriepark Höchst, near Frankfurt. The industrial park facilitates more than 90 companies within an area of over four square kilometres. Within the premises of Industriepark Höchst there are over 800 rental properties, 120 production plants and over 80 laboratory and office buildings that accommodate the in total 22,000 employees that work there. The compound stretches over 460 hectares of which 50 are still available for relocating or expanding companies. There are three means of transportation in and out of the park: by car, by train and by boat. Security: a major priorityGiven the importance and in some cases sensitivity of the chemical and pharmaceutical production facilities and related process industries located at Industriepark Höchst, security is a major priority. Securing such a large area with so many access paths isn't an easy task. As the service company of the industrial park, it is Infraserv Höchst that has the responsibility to make sure the park is safe and secure. Infraserv supplies the companies that inhabit the industrial park with energy, disposes of waste, and provides access to business space and infrastructure. Its service portfolio ranges from environmental, security and safety services all the way to health products, communications and IT. To be able to effectively secure the entire perimetre of this large industrial complex, even during the night, Infraserv uses thermal imaging cameras from FLIR. "We have installed security cameras of several different types to cover the entire perimetre of the industrial park, including several thermal imaging cameras", explains Thomas Krüger, head of the control centre at Infraserv. "The thermal imaging cameras we use are the FLIR SR-313 with a 35 mm lens and the FLIR SR-324 with a 19 mm lens. We chose these cameras because they were an effective and affordable solution for the challenges that we had to face with securing this dynamic industrial park."Perfect night visionThermal imaging cameras provide perfect night vision in even the darkest of nights. Intruders show up very clearly in a crisp thermal image due to the contrast in temperature between a person and his surroundings. But that's not all; thermal imaging cameras can also see through obscurants like smoke, dust, foliage and fog better than a CCTV camera. Krüger is very happy with his FLIR thermal imaging cameras. "Sometimes I wish that I had this technology at my disposal when we started installing our security network. I probably would have installed many more thermal imaging cameras than we have now, for in most situations they're much better than CCTV cameras." Krüger purchased the FLIR thermal imaging cameras from FLIR products distributer VIDEOR. As one of the leading European distributors of professional video technology VIDEOR has a market experience of over thirty years. The wide product range of the near Frankfurt based company covers components and integrated systems in the security, networking, imaging and broadcast sectors, based on strict quality standards.Bird's eye view Due to his positive experience with thermal imaging, Krüger is now contemplating to install a new thermal imaging camera in a high location. The best solution for such a location is probably the FLIR PTZ-35x140 MS thermal imaging camera. With its two thermal imaging cameras and one low light camera it provides perfect vision, even in total darkness. The two thermal imaging cameras provide a continuous optical zoom, with a wide-angle thermal imager for situational awareness and a narrow field-of-view imager that has been designed for mid-range target recognition. If Krüger would choose to opt for the FLIR PTZ-35x140 MS, it would be able to utilize its long range performance to its full potential from its high vantage point and with its full 360° viewing capability it would be able to observe the entire park. "That would be quite useful", explains Krüger. "Not only could we use that to spot intruders, we could also put it to good use in case of fire or spillage, monitoring and directing the firefighting or salvage operation." FLIR SR- series cameras provide excellent nightime vision even in complete darknessNo lights neededThe thermal imaging cameras that are already operational have proved their use. "We've put them in locations where it's difficult for CCTV cameras to be effective", explains Krüger. "In certain areas it is difficult due to the infrastructure to put up proper lighting, for instance. With a thermal imaging camera you don't need lights." Thermal imaging cameras are incredibly useful to see at night, but according to Krüger that's not their only advantage. "Both the FLIR SR-313 and the FLIR SR-324 have an excellent range performance." Depending on the conditions these two thermal imaging cameras can detect trespassers at a range of up to respectively 450 and 780 meters. Better range with thermal imaging camerasThermal imaging cameras in general have a better range performance than CCTV cameras, explains Krüger. "With a CCTV camera you have to depend on visual contrast to be able to see a person that's trespassing, but that can be quite difficult, especially when lighting conditions aren't perfect, such as on a cloudy day for instance. The contrast on a thermal image is much bigger, due to the difference in temperature and thermal radiation between a person and his surroundings. Due to that fact you can detect a person with a thermal imaging camera at a larger distance than with a CCTV camera. And because you can see farther with one camera, you need fewer cameras to cover the same area."‘Very good return on investment' According to Krüger this makes thermal imaging cameras very cost-effective. "Not only because you need fewer cameras. Installing a complete security solution involves a lot more than just the camera itself. There's an entire infrastructure you have to take into account. For every camera you install you need a power supply line, a mast for the camera to be mounted on and with a CCTV camera you also have to install several streetlights to make it effective at night. A thermal imaging camera needs only one mast and no lighting. The total cost of ownership for a thermal imaging camera is extremely low so even though the price of one thermal imaging camera is higher, in the end it is cheaper to install a thermal imaging camera than to install several CCTV cameras. In my opinion thermal imaging cameras really offer a very good return on investment."Monitoring inaccessible areasThe better range of a thermal imaging camera isn't just important for cost-effectiveness explains Krüger: "Due to the longer range you can use thermal cameras to monitor inaccessible areas that are difficult to cover with CCTV cameras. Here at Infraserv Höchst we have the problem that some parts of the perimetre we monitor are under constant danger of flooding, because we're located on the banks of the river Main. That situation makes it very challenging to secure those areas. Ground sensors or fences are not an option due to the floods and CCTV cameras combined with lighting also proved to be an ineffective solution, for the floods would damage the power supply of both cameras and the lights. But with thermal imaging cameras we can put a camera outside the flood-threatened area, looking in, and thus secure that entire area without risking flood-related damage." FLIR SR-series pick up the unauthorized movement [red brackets] but do not indicate an unwanted alarm Fewer unwanted alarms with thermal imaging cameras In Krüger's experience, there is also a significant difference between thermal imaging cameras and CCTV cameras in the amount of unwanted alarms. "We have about one unwanted alarm a week with our CCTV cameras. With our thermal imaging cameras we have about one a year, if we have any at all.""Our video-analysis software, Aimetis Symphony, uses complicated Algorithms to detect and analyse movement", explains Krüger. "The software then compares the perceived movement to previously defined parametres and if the movement is not within those parametres, an alarm goes off. But not every unauthorized movement is a trespasser. The cause of such unwanted alarms can be a spider crawling across the camera's lens, braches of a tree moving in the wind or even graffiti on a moving train." Thermal imaging cameras trigger fewer unwanted alarms, according to Krüger. "The difference between thermal imaging cameras and CCTV cameras is the contrast. CCTV cameras rely on visual contrast where thermal imaging cameras rely on thermal contrast and that difference is very important, because the thermal contrast is much bigger than the visual contrast. The branch of a tree moving in the winds does not show up as distinctly in the thermal image as a person does. That means that it is easier for the video-analysis software to separate actual intruders from other types of movement on footage from a thermal imaging camera. This reduces the amount of unwanted alarms and that in turn saves us a lot of time and money."Spider webs and sun glare Sunlight reflects on a spider web in front of the lens and blinds CCTV camera.The unwanted alarm problem isn't the only issue where thermal imaging cameras defeat CCTV cameras, even during the day: there's also the issue of sun-glare. "When the sun shines directly into the lens of a CCTV camera it is rendered completely useless", explains Krüger. But this problem doesn't just occur with the sun directly shining into the lens, it can also shine into the lens indirectly due to reflection. According to Krüger this happens quite often with spider webs. "Sometimes there's a piece of spider web in front of the camera that's so small that you hardly even notice it. But when the sunlight hits the web in a certain angle it is reflected into the lens, blinding the CCTV camera exactly like when the sun shines directly on it. In such cases one of our staff must go and remove the spider web if we want to be able to use the camera effectively."Identifying trespassersAccording to Krüger thermal imaging cameras are superior to CCTV cameras on all fronts. "In fact, the only reason I still use CCTV cameras is that they can be more effectively used to identify trespassers. That's important information, because we can better assess the situation if we know what type of intruder we're dealing with and if we decide to prosecute the trespasser we give the footage to the police. If we could use the thermal imaging cameras to do that then normal CCTV cameras would be obsolete."