IP Video System Secures French Eurotunnel Terminal

In a major CCTV upgrade, Eurotunnel’s French passenger terminal has deployed a widely distributed IP video solution from IndigoVision. Used for security, traffic management and immigration control, the networked CCTV system has transformed Eurotunnel’s surveillance operation.

Eurotunnel manages the Channel Tunnel fixed link between the UK and France and operates the ahuttle service for tourist vehicles or trucks. It also shares the track with rail freight and passenger trains passing through the Tunnel.

As with any major transport hub, Eurotunnel has a demanding and diverse environment for surveillance and security, requiring a distributed system that can deliver high-quality live and recorded video to many different users located throughout the site. The new 340-camera upgrade, which was designed and installed by IndigoVision’s approved Partner, ClearView Communications Ltd, monitors all areas of the operation including passenger terminal, parking areas, loading operation, ticket booths and offices.

“Recent changes in French regulations meant that we decided to upgrade our existing CCTV equipment to a higher specification,” said Sylvain Pamart, chief project ,anager at Eurotunnel. “We knew we wanted to replace the analog system with a digital virtual matrix to give us the flexibility and scalability required for the new regulations and for future expansion.”

The existing analog system was replaced because it could only record 1 FPS, SIF resolution video for 3 days, considerably less than the new regulations require. The switching matrix also had little spare capacity and would have been very expensive to upgrade. Eurotunnel now has a surveillance system that can record 25 FPS at 4SIF for 31 days. In the future, cameras can easily be added at any point on the network, including the latest high-definition  IP cameras, which can be freely mixed with the existing standard resolution cameras. The hardware footprint has also been considerably reduced, freeing valuable space in the equipment room.

“One of the many reasons we chose IndigoVision was their flexible licensing and pricing model,” Pamart said. “The company’s Security Management Software is free of charge for viewing camera feeds. We only pay for the channels we record based on the framerate and resolution. Eurotunnel only needs to record at 6 FPS/2SIF, thereby saving us money; however, should the regulations or our requirements change in the future we can increase this by simply changing the license.”

Operators located in multiple control rooms view live and recorded video using PC workstations running ‘Control Center’, IndigoVision’s Security Management Software. The wide distribution of the system allows these workstations to be located at any point on the network -- a feature that Eurotunnel has used extensively. The various control rooms have combinations of standalone workstations with monitors and traditional video walls and are operated by the security and traffic management departments. With the correct permissions any operator can view any camera from any part of the system.

“The features and analysis tools offered by ‘Control Center’ are excellent,” Pamart said. “The user interface is very intuitive, which ensured the new system was quickly and easily adopted by the operators. ‘Control Center’ software also ensured that Eurotunnel surpassed the requirements of the new regulations, including a full operator audit trail and tamper-proof evidential video.”

Eurotunnel uses advanced analytics to aid their video analysis within ‘Control Center’. For example, analytics can be used to automatically detect vehicles moving in the opposite direction to the normal flow of traffic. These powerful functions allow operators to quickly identify relevant video clips following an incident.

It was very important for Eurotunnel’s IT department to manage a system that was easy to configure and maintain. Using a ‘Control Center’ workstation located in the maintenance office, the support team is instantly notified of a problem or fault with any component in the system. Video recording is achieved using IndigoVision’s standalone NVRs, which are rack mounted in the equipment room. Nineteen 1.5GB NVRs have been installed, together with an additional three that are used as backups.

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