Milestone Systems Manages Video Surveillance of New Stadium at Le Mans
The MMArena was opened in January 2011 by Prime Minister François Fillon and Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno of France. A multisport stadium designed for hosting a variety of sporting events such as soccer and rugby, the MMArena can accommodate 25,000 spectators. This can be increased to 38,000 seats for concerts, shows and operas. The venue also has more than 3,000 square meters of exhibition rooms and reception areas for meetings.
This was the first time in France that a government-private sector partnership was used for funding such a project. Like many stadiums in Europe, for instance the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal Football Club) in Great Britain, the MMArena is jointly funded by the region, the city of Le Mans, the private corporation VINCI, and a private sponsor, in this case the MMA Insurance Group, investing 3 million Euros at the start of the project, then 1 million Euros a year for 10 years.
IP video surveillance with XProtect
This new stadium is equipped with the latest developments in security technology. With state-of-the-art surveillance and high-definition IP network recording and camera technologies, the video surveillance component is a virtual showcase.
In the words of Guillaume Garnier, project manager at Garczynski Traploir who installed the video surveillance system, "What distinguishes the MMArena video surveillance system is its innovation and user friendliness, at the leading edge of networked technologies."
106 video surveillance cameras, including 104 new Sony IP cameras, are network inter-linked on a fiber optic loop and controlled by XProtect Corporate video management software from Milestone, chosen for its advanced open platform architecture that guarantees clients scalability and sustainability of their investments.
"This open platform aspect of the solution was absolutely decisive in the clients’ choices," Garnier said.
For Vincent Chassac, technical manager of the Le Mans Stadium operating company, a 100 percent subsidiary of VINCI who has managed the MMArena for 33 years: "The highly advanced technology of this video surveillance system is impressive. We had never seen video surveillance as advanced as this before, in terms of the quality of the images as well as that of the software, and all of its possibilities and ergonomic aspects that fit our needs so well are what convinced us. It has an approach that makes it user friendly."
HD in service of protection
The cameras monitor the players of the visiting and home teams, referees, VIPs, local spectators and visiting fans in and around the stadium, including the ticketing, security check, food and drink vending zones. Each situation that needs surveillance is been individually scrutinized: arrivals of the buses with players of the visiting and home teams and the fans, players going back and forth from the field to the locker rooms during warm up, spectators during the game, players and referees leaving before the game, to and from the locker rooms to the field during half time, leaving after the game, exiting from the field or the stands, departures of the buses with players, fans and officials from the secure parking facility. At times various cameras are dedicated to spectators moving against the flow of entering and exiting traffic.
The use of HD cameras and mobile domes with a high zoom factor enables identification in addition to detection. The choice of high-definition for numerous cameras was dictated by the desire to monitor and be able to identify all of the visiting fans from the time they leave the bus until they return to it, while they are in the ticketing and security check zones, the bleachers, bathrooms and open squares, and also in the event of early departures due to dismissal or injury.
High-definition is at the heart of five full HD 1080p fixed cameras, six PTZ HD 720p mobile domes, and 28 HD 720p fixed domes strategically placed for preventing vandalism. The cameras are supplemented by 65 PTZ SD mobile domes with 18x or 36x optical zoom and two turret-mounted cameras. The XProtect Corporate software manages the standard and high-definitions of the video streams with the same performance. All of the images are H.264 compressed, which is the best optimization in terms of bandwidth use and video data storage nowadays.
Frédéric Tant, assistant operations manager of the Le Mans Football Club, pointed out to us that "the quality of both the live direct and the recorded images, as well as the recording capacity are top of the line," and added that "it is simply spellbinding."
A functional display and secure network
XProtect Corporate is currently connected to an XProtect Smart Wall module for controlling two image walls, while the security is equipped with 47-inch full HD screens for displaying multiple images or one full screen image. The images are accessible from a total of four workstations.
The system itself has a high level of security. Two recording servers exist on the network, a server for managing the SQL database, HP ProLiant servers for storage, and numerous switches are located in a bay in an area secured by access badge control.
Flexibility and manageability
One of the features of this new video surveillance system is the wide diversity of system user teams that can be changed with each type of event. For instance, the Le Mans Football Club uses the video surveillance system every two weeks during the season, for 12 hour sessions. But between the games, many other users also can have access to it.
This intricate management of user rights enabled by XProtect Corporate was one of the key factors in the decision process. Personalized parameters and rights can be assigned by user group, by user, and by shift, with administrator rights reserved for the owner, and everyone has access to the controls of "their" system at all times.
Furthermore, "just one day of training was all it took to be ready to use the system," according to Frédéric Tant. "The main advantage of this system is that it is very manageable. It is easy to use, and adaptable by those who are not experts. It can be manipulated very fast with the mouse and onscreen controls. We were able to create video scenarios quickly for each camera group, according to times and situations such as arrivals and departures to and from games. This enabled us to save a great deal of time."
A progressive system
XProtect is known for its capacity to integrate with third party technologies, particularly via Milestone Solution Partners and Manufacturing Alliance Partners. The system can work with intelligent video analysis functionalities for counting people or recognizing license plates in managing the vehicles of staff members, players or VIPs. The software is continuously evolving, and updates to the next software versions are covered by a product maintenance agreement.