Sony XI's Wide Area Monitoring on Watch Duty at the National Mall

Sony Security’s XI’s wide area monitoring solution is now in operation keeping watch over the National Mall and Memorials area in Washington, D.C. Working in collaboration with the United States Park Police (USPP) as part of a technology trial, the XI’s system incorporating the XIS-3420 high-definition unit, plus the XIS-3310 thermal and panoramic thermal cameras went “live” over the July 4th holiday weekend and will remain in operation through the year-long test period. In addition, the XI’s array is augmented with a Sony SNC-RH164 HD PTZ camera.

The HD and thermal XI’s live and panoramic cameras monitor the entire area from a single location and transmit image data over an IP network for storage on a server. The SNC-RH164 HD PTZ camera was used to monitor activity across the river in Virginia. On the backend, the VidSys physical security information management (PSIM) software system integrates, correlates and analyzes data from the XI’s and other security systems also in place. Together, they will help protect some 24-million visitors that typically come to the grounds over the year. The Mall runs 1.9 miles from the Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial and covers more than 300 acres from the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial.

“This is a team effort and a shared learning experience that advances the technology,” said Captain David Mulholland, commander of Technology Services, United States Park Police. “We decided to conduct this comprehensive trial because we see the potential it has to go beyond today’s fixed infrastructure. The key is not just the ability to gather vast amounts of visual data, but to turn that into relevant information. The system has added the equivalent of up to 100 additional cameras to our existing system, but did not leave us overloaded with data.”

Wide Area Monitoring: “Streamlined, More Effective”

“Providing video surveillance for the National Mall and Memorials area – a wide, varied expanse with constantly changing imaging conditions due to changing weather and lighting - is precisely the challenging environment that the XI’s wide area monitoring solution is designed to tackle,” said Mark Collett, general manager, Sony Security Systems Division. “This provides a streamlined, more effective approach than providing such coverage through traditional means.”

Collett added that the XI’s system’s ability to view a wide area in extraordinary detail with its 240+ megapixel images affords particular advantages. While the initial test implementation is being used to enhance the existing systems, it can help reduce the “camera clutter” required to properly carry our surveillance through traditional means. Instead of using hundreds of cameras scattered throughout such sites, the XI’s’ centralized architecture requires a far less intrusive “footprint” and so preserves the look and feel of historic locations while maintaining safety.

The USPP’s decision to move forward with the comprehensive technology test followed two successful live demonstrations conducted jointly by Sony and VidSys. The first was conducted at a USPP facility in January during a heavy snowstorm. Despite the inclement weather which would have significantly degraded the imaging captured by traditional technologies, the XI’s environmental analytic pierced the precipitation to produce clear live images and video. This was followed by similar results during a full-scale test on the National Mall during Memorial Day weekend using the XIS-3420. Together, these cleared the way for the full deployment of the XIs panoramic and thermal viewing and recording system now in operation.

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