Ready, Set, Cable
NYC Marathon chose TBus IP transmission
The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon was first held in 1970 by the
New York Road Runners Club (NYRR) with just 127 competitors
running loops around Central Park. Today, the annual New York
City Marathon runs through all five boroughs of New York City and
is the largest marathon in the world.
For the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon, the NYRR entrusted the supply of
digital information transport services and a technology push package to New York
based IP network and electronic security specialists, Virsig LLC. On the day of the
marathon, the temporary system was used to provide increased operational situational
awareness, digital information transport for surveillance cameras, voice annunciators,
media broadcast, and digital signage including large-screen televisions.
For the 2014 event, due of the limitations of installing signal over long and
costly fiber runs, Virsig opted to transport digital signals over less expensive and
more flexible coax cable. Allowing long cable runs to be readily deployed across the
TCS New York City Marathon start at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, Virsig
chose reliable Transmission Bus (TBus) IP transmission technology from Network
Video Technologies (NVT). Working in compliance under the National Park Service,
U.S. Park Police and the Coast Guard Police authorities, NVT single and
4-channel TBus UTP/Ethernet over Coax transmitters, surveillance cameras, wireless
nodes and antennas were installed in strategic light pole locations. The NYC
Department of Transportation (DOT) worked with Virsig to keep the power supply
to the poles energized at all times to power the temporary equipment forming
the cost effective Ethernet over Coax (EoC) transmission network.
The high-availability IP network was installed using RG59 coax with spans of
more than 3,000ft (914m) across the open space at Fort Wadsworth, home to the
Coast Guard and Army Reserves. Ultimately, close to four miles of communication
cable was installed from pole to pole, over structures, fences and high up between
trees. In the Race Command Center (RCC), Virsig installed a wall of commercial
grade monitors to be used as part of the primary camera viewing station.
A Seneca viewing station also was used to control tactical camera operations and
Firetide Hotview Pro software was installed on the system to provide monitoring
of the network via the marathon’s Smart Wall. This supplied up to 36 simultaneous
TBus UTP/Ethernet over Coax transmitters and surveillance cameras were installed
both on the city’s streets and within Central Park. Above the finish line on
a steel Photo Bridge (where ESPN and other media were located on the day of
the race), Virsig positioned cameras and wireless nodes to record the race finish
and capture the crossing of the finish line by every participant. Another camera
was positioned at post-finish to observe the chokepoint (a medical emergency assistance
area) behind the race finish.
Early on the Sunday morning of the race, over 50,000 competitors ran across
the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn, on the start of their 26.2 mile journey. A few hours later as large
numbers of runners started to enter Central Park, the
Virsig technology push package demonstrated its full
capability. The monitoring station in the RCC displayed
dozens of cameras, which fed real-time data
to the race staff and incident commanders increasing
overall situational awareness.
On Staten Island, the Jumbotrons and systems
that needed information transport worked exceedingly
well. The near four miles of cable Virsig strung
along with NVT TBus Ethernet Transmitters operated
flawlessly. The race went on until after dark, and
while the last runners were wrapping up the course
at Central Park, the Sony IPELA cameras still demonstrated
amazingly bright clear images. In the event
of any security incidents, the high-quality recorded
camera video would have been available to the marathon’s
management and law enforcement personnel
for evaluation of evidence.
All together, the massive IP networked technology
solution was a success for the 2014 New York City
Marathon. For future events, the
same system will be used again but
in an expanded format.
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Security Today.