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IP cameras improve surveillance at Greek casinos

IndigoVision : 29 May, 2008  (Application Story)
The stakes have been raised at Casino Rio and Casino Xanthi in Greece with the installation of IP digital surveillance cameras from Indigovision
IP cameras improve surveillance at Greek casinos
IndigoVision's integrated IP Video solution has been used to upgrade two Greek Casinos to fully-digital CCTV surveillance, in full compliance with the demanding Greek gaming laws. The Casino Rio, located north of the Western port city of Patras and Casino Xanthi, which is situated in the Northeast city of the same name, are now both benefiting from vastly improved CCTV systems.

The two projects, totalling nearly 300 cameras, were installed by IndigoVision's local partner ILKA, who worked closely with IndigoVision and the Gaming Authority to gain the necessary licences. As with many Gaming Boards worldwide, the Greek Gaming Authority demands 24/7 monitoring and recording of all gaming tables, slot machines and money counting areas at 25fps, with recordings kept for 20 days. If the CCTV system is unable to monitor and record a specific gaming table, then that table must be shutdown. To ensure compliance, an employee of the Gaming Authority is permanently on-site using the CCTV system to monitor the casino operation.

Like many casinos the Rio and Xanthi were using outdated analogue VCR-based CCTV systems, that were becoming difficult to service and support. It was extremely time-consuming to search and analyse recorded footage, particularly if synchronised viewing was required from 2 or more cameras. IndigoVision's IP Video solution overcame these problems by providing tools which allow fast access to recorded footage, from multiple cameras, enabling gaming disputes to be quickly resolved.

Commenting on the project Dimitris Megas, Casino Rio's Surveillance Manager said, "We invested a considerable amount of time analysing CCTV systems from some of the best known suppliers in the industry. We focused on the three main areas of quality, stability and versatility in an effort to choose a solution that met our requirements. We came to the conclusion that the IndigoVision system was the best solution, both technically and commercially, for our casinos. The transition from the old system to the new digital system was very smooth ensuring our casino operation was not disrupted."

Each casino has their own security control room, where operators use 'Control Centre', IndigoVision's video and alarm management software to view live and recorded video from any of the cameras in the casino. Thirteen 'Control Centre' workstations were installed between the two casinos, all with multi-screen support. 'Control Centre' provides the operators with an easy to use interface and advanced features to help them manage camera viewing, such as maps which depict each camera and its field of view overlaid on a schematic of the casino. Simply clicking the camera icon on the map displays that particular cameras' feed, allowing the operator to quickly view an area of interest.

The ageing VCRs have been replaced with IndigoVision's Network Video Recorders (NVRs). IndigoVision's complete end-to-end IP Video solution allows users to implement advanced redundancy strategies for CCTV recording, which was an important requirement for the casinos. As part of the overall recording strategy back-up NVRs have been installed in both casinos. These will automatically start recording if any of the primary NVRs fail or require maintenance. PCs running IndigoVision's Windows NVR software were installed in each casino connected to several Raid-5 storage arrays providing total disk storage in excess of 100TB. In addition to video from the cameras, Casino Rio is recording 60 channels of high-quality audio and Casino Xanthi 38 channels, each from camera mounted microphones.

The majority of the original CCTV cameras were re-used by connecting them to IndigoVision 8000 transmitter/receiver modules which convert the analogue feed to high-quality, 25fps Digital Video for transmission over the IP network. This is achieved without any frames being dropped, whatever the level of motion and activity in the camera scene. Any dropped frames within a video clip could hide fraudulent or criminal activity and make any customer disputes more difficult to resolve. Each camera also benefits from Actively Controlled Framerate (ACF), a unique feature built into the 8000 module, which reduces the amount of video that is transmitted and recorded. When a scene is inactive the video can be streamed at a much lower frame rate. As soon as motion is detected the video is instantly streamed at full frame rate.

The combination of 'Control Centre' and the IP network creates a 'virtual matrix', which unlike its analogue matrix equivalent provides a totally flexible and scalable solution. Any camera can be viewed on any 'Control Centre' workstation and additional cameras can easily be added to any point on the network when the system is expanded. The flexibility of IndigoVision's IP Video technology meant that the migration to digital was phased so the casinos remained open and any downtime was kept to a minimum. The final equipment footprint of the new system was also considerably less than the original system, freeing up valuable space.

This project together with the company's other recent casino installations establishes IndigoVision's IP Video solution as the benchmark for the casino industry. It also demonstrates that IP Video is a field-proven platform for the demanding CCTV requirements of casino operations, which need high resolution video images and fast analysis of recorded footage. IP Video provides significant benefits compared with traditional analogue CCTV systems, such as scalability, real-time camera-based analytics and fault tolerant configurations.

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