Transportation entities require more from their technology investment. They need to be able to maximize the use of their surveillance cameras wherever they are deployed, whether they’re in a train, bus, subway or rail station.
Video is a critical tool to help maintain a secure environment as it is proven to assist in reducing crime and speeding up investigations. Therefore, the amount of video surveillance systems deployed continues to increase at a high rate. With the influx in the number of cameras, especially high-resolution models, more surveillance video is captured and analyzed than ever before.
With the rise in surveillance devices and, in particular, captured data, transportation providers need to be able to access new levels of situational awareness to mitigate risk and ensure compliance. Users also seek unique ways to leverage information from multiple security devices to develop reports and trends to enhance not only security, but optimize internal operations.
The transportation market has especially taken hold of the value of security technologies. Public and private transit facilities — from railways and buses, to airports and ports — are critical components of society, providing for the movement of a large number of passengers, cargo and vehicles in highly congested urban areas. These facilities are also frequently targeted by terrorist organizations, compounding the need for a consistent and strong level of safety. Therefore, the intelligent applications of video surveillance, access control, alarm monitoring and compliance tracking are imperative to provide improved security, aid operations and streamline risk mitigation.
Furthermore, transit authorities are unique in the fact that they are typically widely distributed organizations that cross geographic boundaries and have completely distributed network architecture challenges. These challenges are not unique to the transportation market; they are faced by cities, enterprise organizations and universities, and all are organizations that need a solution that can meet today’s business challenges but can scale and grow as their business needs change and evolve.
The ability to combine various, sometimes disparate, video, alarm and business systems together is a key benefit to ensuring safety and continued operation. Software platforms that integrate multiple systems and devices together — commonly known as PSIM, command and control software or situation management solutions — have been successful in addressing the wide range of needs of the public sector, especially in the critical infrastructure and transportation markets. But there are other options available today that offer even more benefits, cost savings and opportunity to deliver stronger security efforts.
Enterprise command center software (ECCS) is a situational awareness software platform used by businesses, institutions and agencies to monitor security, IT and business systems, and protect critical assets. It is the driving force behind command centers and is designed to drive down the cost of monitoring multiple systems across locations while increasing the effectiveness and response time of the security team.
ECCS is designed with Web-based architecture that lends itself to the distributed nature of the transportation market. This architecture also supports a rapid deployment model and a strong ROI/TCO model. Most importantly, it is agile enough to meet the changing dynamics of enterprise businesses.
When the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority (SFMTA) decided to bring its Traffic and Transit Security teams under one Transportation Security organization, a new command center called the Transportation Management Center (TMC) was built in the heart of San Francisco to centralize the response of this team. As part of this initiative, TMC was in need of a solution to maximize the use of their CCTV cameras deployed in the transit system, including the buses, trains and subways. They needed a platform that could connect to these various video systems for security that was also flexible enough to be directly integrated into their custom train monitoring application IHMI (Integrated Human Machine Interface), developed by their technology partner B&C Transit. SureView’s Immix CC, an enterprise command center software package, delivered the flexibility required to service the needs of the transit authority. Immix provided a single interface for the security teams to access six different cameras and video systems. As Immix is 100-percent Web-based, it allowed multiple users and teams to access video footage for security monitoring whether they were in the new control center or located elsewhere in the city’s network.
SFMTA operators were responsible for monitoring and managing the security of the trains and subways. This required each individual operator to have access to real-time information about the status of trains and platforms across the network, in addition to being aware of potential security risks. This challenge was solved when B&C Transit developed an application to monitor vehicles by embedding the Immix application into IHMI. This ensured that cameras and security systems would become a seamless part of monitoring the activity on the train and subway network. To accomplish this, B&C Transit leveraged Immix’s open Web services API to embed Immix functionality directly into the IHMI train control application.
Now, SFMTA has a single platform for monitoring that is flexible enough to serve the needs of the different groups and users within the organization. By having the ability to monitor cameras from the city’s six different video surveillance systems in one interface, the agency is able to enforce system-wide security protocols and tailor monitoring activities to the needs of different groups within in the organization. In addition, automated device health monitoring, which notifies the SFMTA video team of any faulty devices, ensures immediate action can be taken to resolve issues in the field and ensure system uptime.
SFMTA is just one example of the benefits derived from ECCS platforms. What makes these software solutions different is that is allow users to bring multiple areas of a security program together into one solution, not just to provide information but to help the operator take action. The overall goal is to enable transit authorities to make informed, quick decisions by providing correlated security data in a uniform way, easing operator use and minimizing any opportunity for error.