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A city in 4K - Future-proof CCTV solution / ItalyCase example of Panasonic security system
A city in 4K - Future-proof CCTV solution / Italy
Urban video-surveillance, with high-quality imaging.
Installation created with 200 4K video cameras.
Antonio Decaro explains, “The issue of urban safety is one shared by all metropolitan areas. This is a complex and tricky subject which has to be addressed from several angles, one of which is monitoring the overseeing of public spaces. This is an important factor to consider to ensure the safety of citizens. From this point of view, fitting a modern CCTV system such as the one we have chosen, gives us access to extremely high-quality images which are remarkably effective in terms of dealing with criminal activities.”
Decaro continues, “There is no point having a CCTV system providing image data, which is useless for investigating crime due to faces being unrecognisable. So when we designed the new CCTV system for Bari, the metropolitan area for which I am the mayor, we chose 4K resolution, sharing with the Armed Forces, the Municipal and State police forces, the locations and sensitive targets around the city area.”
Finding a CCTV system which managed to be highly reliable in operation, and high quality of video recording, was always going to be a tough challenge. The extent of the installed equipment across the whole of the city of Bari, sixth largest metropolitan region in Italy with around 1,300,000 inhabitants; results in the complexity significantly increasing.
Through the work of a very effective team and Panasonic’s cutting-edge tool; WX-SPV781L true 4K video camera network, the City of Bari has designed a large-scale CCTV system to meet new and emergent demands for monitoring and safety as they arise. The City of Bari is the contracting body: the public call to tender, to the value of 950,000 Euro, was won by OnLiCom Srl from Corato and by ETT Snc from Trani; Electronic's Time Srl, a Panasonic partner, who supplied the 4K cameras.
The idea of equipping the city of Bari with the latest CCTV technology, arose from an acute need of supervising the urban areas promptly and efficiently, as well as the upcoming international G7 Finance Ministers event, to be held in Bari from 11th to 13th May.
“Teamwork by two departments of Bari's local authority, the IT infrastructure department to which I belong, and the Municipal Police led to this realisation,” explains the engineer Antonio Gallucci, Technical Director responsible for planning for the City of Bari and the project’s designer. “With Dr Giambattista Quaranta - IT manager for the Bari Municipal Police, we developed a project to meet the requirements of Mayor Antonio Decaro, with each one contributing their own skills and experience. The choice of sites where the cameras would be installed was based on local knowledge, not on the simple need or demand of any one citizen. Therefore, we arranged a meeting with the Armed Forces and the State Police to make a joint decision on the most sensitive sites. The City of Bari has installed a CCTV system, applying the various situations specified in the standards, where the Municipal Police force alone, in its capacity as the police authority, carries out the work of checking the CCTV system. So the municipal authorities can view the images, but the Municipal Police actually manages them to ensure privacy and to avoid possible abuse.”
The Bari installation has a truly innovative configuration, ensuring its basic objective of displaying native resolution images when required, without needing a super performance local area network. A 4K CCTV system provides (or perhaps, as we will see below, should provide) impeccable images, enabling identification of details. However, it uses bandwidth, which is not available to any city in Italy at the present time.
“Along with Giambattista Quaranta”, continues Antonio Gallucci, “we have carefully evaluated the products on the market to find the most suitable for our purpose. The tests were organised using a critical context consisting of shadowed and high contrast zones, with specific extreme conditions: very busy crossroads, evening light levels, intense colours and constant traffic of cars and buses. In this setting, we wanted it to be possible to recognise human faces. With each test session, we assessed two products, each time discarding the least effective video camera. Panasonic's camera was the only one to ensure the recognition of targets, despite the light interference. Our empirical test used the best tool available on the market: the human eye. In these field tests, we also took into account another important factor: despite the various manufacturers on the market offering very similar services, the actual image quality varied greatly between models, especially in low ambient light. Here too, the Panasonic bullet camera proved better: colour fidelity in any lighting conditions at various colour temperatures did not affect image data analysis, and depth of field is very broad. We were able to recognise faces of people at a distance of thirty metres. These cameras quickly adapt to the quality and quantity of light to which the lens is exposed. Their merit is down to the very sophisticated, custom-built microprocessor, and to high-quality sensors and lenses.”
“We designed a system to assist Police forces in their vigilance and monitoring functions, given that posting an officer at every street corner is clearly impossible,” explains Dr Giambattista Quaranta, head of IT for the Bari Municipal Police. “With a sophisticated, innovative CCTV system, this obstacle can be overcome, giving the police divisions valuable support to monitor and respond quickly. The reasons for the particular configuration of the installation were not simply for video-monitoring. We believe that a CCTV system can also dissuade malefactors and at the same time provides an educational role for citizens. In this respect, there are significant social benefits: from prevention, to local protection, with more streamlined management of the complexities of vigilance, not forgetting the improved quality of life which can be found in a place perceived far safer.”
“Alongside this,” adds Generoso Trisciuzzi, Engineer with Electronic's Time Srl, “the City of Bari has expressed the need for a CCTV system to deal with a range of urban scenarios, as well as normal crime prevention needs, such as managing traffic, fly-tipping and abandoned pets, reading vehicle registration plates and many other supplementary and related services. The installation as a whole consists of around 450 video cameras, including 200 bullet cameras and about a hundred Speed dome video cameras, which will be fitted alongside those already operating.”
“In a CCTV installation, it is not just the product that makes the difference. Configuration, integration and data management are essential elements also. The starting point for the City of Bari project, was to renew the existing analogue city CCTV installation. This is to overcome problems with image quality and the means of connection to the municipal Police operations room, as explained by engineer Gianluigi Martinelli, AD for OnLiCom Srl, the company which won the contract to install the system. This new installation has high image resolution, giving it tremendous data transmission capacity. A redundant system was installed so there is no need to continuously be concerned with maintaining a high bandwidth: video streams are transmitted to the operations centre at medium/high quality, for viewing at the operations room and recording on the central server; at the same time, they are recorded in FULL 4K on servers at the display points, thus providing double recording/display facilities.”
Gallucci further explains, “the servers are in shielded cabinets close to the video camera masts. They house equipment designed to replicate a small data centre. Based on local requirements, we have provided fibre optic connection (ADSL from 512 kb to 40 Mb) and HyperLAN radio bridges (around 130 between BTS and CPE) for direct transmission of images to the operations room. It is always possible to recover native resolution video streams, stored in the servers in small cabinets. For connectivity to the Operations Room, a symmetrical 600 Mb/s fibre optic line is installed configuring a private MPLS network with two redundant servers and two storage NAS to hold the recordings for up to 7 days. The whole system is also accessible from outside using a SIM, which the police forces carry, operating on MPLS, a private network. With a smart device and a dedicated system, users can connect to the private network to see the video output remotely. Users can also interact with it, streaming images gathered by the smartphone and/or tablets carried by officers directly to the operations centre.”
“We are talking about the biggest 4K CCTV system in Italy,” comments Martinelli. “The whole network infrastructure interconnects between main servers and mast servers, recordings, displays and archiving on storage devices. All of which are managed by the VMS Milestone Xprotect platform which controls records, and archives film in native resolution locally and remotely, with systems equipped with redundant recording facilities.”
“Beginning in July 2016,” continues Dr Martinelli, “the work has involved numerous professionals, outstanding among whom is Luigi Perfetto from the partner company ETT ElettroTecnica Tranese. From the beginning, Luigi Perfetto has been involved on site with coordination of all the teams in the field, and managing the many phases of the work (excavations, cable ducts, structured wiring, etc.). With the G7 Finance meeting imminent, it was essential that every link in the chain operated perfectly, with no snags. So for instance, we managed in just 15 days to cable some really tricky areas such as the valuable artistic heritage area around the Castello Svevo. We also provided the hardware system for the crisis room, interfacing directly with the Municipal police room.”