Surveillance vs effective surveillance

February 2009 Surveillance

Simple comparisons with existing ­stadium systems indicate and prove that relying on PTZ cameras to capture that key event does not give the venue the security required.

In a recent control room test where conventional PTZ cameras were used, the operator was asked to capture the incident and give facial identification footage of an event, it took him 25 seconds to provide a clear and accurate image. This is 25 seconds too long as most security and management functionality requires instant viewing/retrieval of all information.

With 2010 looming, the best security measures should be provided for the stadium patrons using advanced, alternative technologies.

“Our goal is to provide a safe, secure, enjoyable experience for our patrons,” explains James Kiwi, events and operations manager for the Territory Venues and Events Enterprises Services Division of the Australian Department of Territory and Municipal Services. “By deploying the Avigilon HD surveillance system, we have effectively addressed the security concern at Canberra Stadium and are now considering Avigilon for one of Australia’s larger venues. With Avigilon in place, we are confident we can ensure our patrons’ safety.”

In a post 9/11 world, in which people may think twice before attending large-scale entertainment events, security at public venues has become of paramount concern. The changing nature of security threats has placed additional pressure on facility managers around the world, whose primary goal is to reassure patrons of their safety and, at the same time, deliver an enjoyable experience. Recognising the need to be proactive, management at Canberra Stadium in Australia’s capital city has installed an Avigilon HD surveillance system to monitor patrons as they enter and exit the building.

Avigilon provides high definition 35 mm cameras with 14 bit CCD chips from 2 MP to 16 MP and a range of 1/3” IP cameras from 1 MP to 5 MP all with day/night ability. The IP cameras provide raw data to the Avigilon Control Centre (ACC) software that manages bandwidth, databasing and file retrieval through thumbnails, key area searches, motion detection and other interfaces. The aim is to provide the best quality image through quick and logical access. The ACC can control a multitude of cameras and the more NVRs that are interlinked the smoother the bandwidth operation.

Canberra Stadium, built in 1977 for the Pacific Conference Games, has been twice renovated in an ongoing effort to become a leading international venue. The stadium currently hosts more than 30 sporting events each year and has the capacity to seat between 25 000 to 28 000 spectators. Facing the same escalating security risk that has plagued the worldwide sporting scene in recent years, Canberra Stadium is vigilant in ensuring public safety.

“To stem the growing security risk, we upgraded our surveillance from an antiquated and ineffective analogue system to Avigilon’s performance-driven HD surveillance system to monitor all venue entrance and exit points. Canberra Stadium’s previous surveillance system comprised of four Panasonic PTZ cameras and one console. The system was simply not doing its job – it was not functional and it was very difficult to maintain,” says Kiwi.

For example, on one occasion when surveillance footage was required for criminal investigation, the system failed to record the required images. In another case, image clarity was so poor that security personnel could not make out any detail. “Because we host major international events, we pushed hard to get an upgrade to the system and Avigilon was our vendor of choice.”

While improving security is the top priority, Canberra Stadium has also achieved significant cost-savings since using the Avigilon HD surveillance system. “With Avigilon HD surveillance cameras located at all entry points throughout the stadium, we require 10 to 15% less personnel to monitor protected areas – a cost savings of about $22 500 each year,” explains Kiwi. “Now, if a camera sees something in an area without a security guard, we can dispatch someone within a matter of seconds.”

Canberra Stadium has also been able to install fewer cameras because of the power, image clarity, and performance of its two Avigilon 16 megapixel cameras. “It would require as many as 50 analogue cameras to achieve the same performance and functionality as just one Avigilon 16 megapixel camera,” adds Kiwi. “This translates into a cost savings of between $20 000–$40 000.”

The stadium has achieved further cost-savings, including a 10 to 15% reduction in personnel or $22 500 cost savings each year to monitor protected areas on event days.

“The 16 megapixel camera boasts a fantastic arc of 180 metres from left to right and 150 metres from back to front, delivering exceptional coverage.” With the primary goal to monitor patrons and vehicles, the Avigilon HD surveillance system also boasts superior facial and licence plate recognition capabilities. “We have been able to achieve positive identification, even at night, with the Avigilon surveillance system.

“We have had some issues in which patrons have thrown cans or spat on players or referees as they enter or exit the field through the tunnel,” explains Kiwi. The Avigilon 16 megapixel camera gives Canberra Stadium a fixed lock on the tunnel, with 20 additional metres on either side and above. “If we do have an incident, we can now see the entire area and easily identify the culprits. With improved surveillance, Canberra Stadium can also reduce the cost of damages associated with patron outbursts.”

According to Kiwi, the Avigilon cameras also come with powerful zooming capabilities to capture the most precise image details. Using Avigilon Control Centre software with HD Stream Management, the first open performance platform designed to manage HD video, security personnel can instantly identify details necessary for positive identification, leading to faster response times and better overall protection.

For more information contact Niall Beazley, Vision Catcher, +27 (0)11 463 9797,,


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