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DVR and video management software for Southern rail.

Dedicated Micros : 21 June, 2007  (Application Story)
Southern train operator improves station security and passenger safety with powerful video management software and recording facilities from Dedicated Micros.
CCTV specialist Dedicated Micros - part of AD Group - has supplied rail
operator Southern with the very latest version of its NetVu Connected
Digital Sprite 2 DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and its powerful NetVu
ObserVer video management software to form the lynchpin of an ambitious
networked CCTV solution, monitored from a Control Room in Hove, East
Sussex, England.

The ongoing project is designed to deliver enhanced station security and
safety for passengers on the train operator's South West coast line,
stretching from Bognor Regis to Brighton.

The roll out of the innovative project to upgrade Southern's Outer Area
CCTV capabilities began in May 2005 and to date has involved the
installation of 40 DS2s, with many more in the pipeline. The new
state-of-the-art solution supports live monitoring and the remote
management of recorded images at a central location, whilst
simultaneously allowing station managers and the British Transport
Police (BTP) to utilize the DS2 DVRs locally at the station and to take
evidence away vital on CD/DVD.

Said Tim Biddulph, a member of the Strategic Business Development Team
at Dedicated Micros, who worked closely with Southern on the project:
"This extremely capable and cost effective solution called for between
one and three DS2s to be installed at each station - depending on the
station size. Crucially, Southern's existing IT infrastructure was
utilized, so there was no need to lay expensive additional fibre.

"In operation, high detail images are stored locally to each station on
the DS2s and then, through DM's unique transcoding capability, optimized
images are viewed on demand, over ADSL and WAN (Wide Area Network) at an
efficient frame rate for live monitoring and also later review at
Southern's Hove Control Room.

"The DS2s Video Motion Detection (VMD) helps to narrow down the search
for specific events e.g. if a van is broken into in a station car park.
At the Control Room in Hove, operators are now able to apply our
user-friendly NetVu ObserVer GUI (Graphic User Interface) at four
viewing stations to view images - which are also displayed on large 42"
plasma screens - and manage live video and play back. In addition, NetVu
ObserVer's embedded map facility helps operators to readily manage
incidents through site plans for each station and they can even use the
public address system to communicate with people at the station and warn
offenders that they are being monitored."

Southern was keen to move away from the limitations of its previous CCTV
solution according to Mike Blaquiere, Senior Project Manager at Southern
Railways: "The impetus for change was that the control system we were
using to manage our CCTV was simply not delivering what was needed to
actually manage the stations the way we wanted to.

"Making sure passengers feel safe at our stations is an important
element of our franchise commitments. With the DS2s from Dedicated
Micros we can achieve much more, for example the frame rate that we are
getting through our network which comprises a basic 2MBit link is far
greater than before. Operators can read situations better - the reality
is that they need to see at least 70% of what is going on to make
informed decisions. The incidents of interest to us tend to be fast
moving e.g. people running or fighting. Before it was very much time
lapse playback - one minute the person was there and then they were gone
- when you are not picking up the detail you really cannot tell what is
going on. Now we are able to see more frames of a specific event and we
haven't had to change the transmission link."

The project has effectively enabled Southern to group a number of
stations together - 20 to date - and has had a valuable impact in terms
of the overall atmosphere at stations.

Said Mike: "We have found that CCTV has really changed people's
behaviour, once they know monitoring is there, and, significantly, that
there are certain things now they are simply not going to get away with.
Added to this is the interactive element which comes through our
Customer Information (CI) system allowing operators at the Control Room
to intervene over the public address system and if necessary to single
out specific offenders e.g. 'you in the red jumper'."

The Control Room at Hove is situated in a listed building adjacent to
the Railway Station which had become derelict but which Southern was
able to bring back into use. A refurbishment that was so successful it
was accorded the prestigious Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award.

As well as the Control Room for Southern's Outer Area CCTV - outside the
M25 - situated on the main floor, the project features a Data Profiling
Room as a private area where images can be saved onto CD and supplied as
part of profile packages to the British Transport Police so they have
everything they need to deal with offenders.

Added Mike: "To date the new project has proved to be extremely
successful. For the future we will continue to roll out the NetVu
Connected DS2s across the rail network and in addition are working with
Dedicated Micros to add even more intelligent video analysis functions
such as a 'left object' capability and recent trials have proved to be
very encouraging.

"The upshot is that you could have 1000 cameras coming back to the
Control Centre and with the best will in the world you can't have a
football field full of operators. In reality 98% of all CCTV is not of
interest so we want to concentrate on the 2% where something is actually
happening. We are already someway along in this process and would hope
eventually to have even more footage filtered through software to
rapidly alert operators regarding specific events e.g. if someone is
lying on a platform."

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