Hybrid technology makes the team at Leigh Sports Village.
One of the biggest investments in public sports, recreational and educational facilities in Lancashire, England, Leigh Sports Village is a state-of-the-art 10 000 seat stadium complex.
Securing the project’s £83 million design and construction is a Network Video Technologies (NVT), UTP hybrid video-based CCTV transmission solution.
From the outset of the project, the construction company oversaw all of the construction decisions on behalf of Wigan Council. From the project’s inception, the security and safety of both staff and visitors was a top priority. Addressing this, the construction company appointed Tate Security Technology to manage all aspects of the installation of stadium security measures.
Steve Hutchinson, sales and business development director at Tate Security explains:
“We were responsible for all aspects of security implementation at the stadium, including the turnstiles and access control. However, the keystone of the whole security plan was a comprehensive CCTV surveillance system, comprising over 60 cameras, including an onsite control room.
“All modern stadia security is required to conform to guidelines as set out in the stadia industry manual known as the Green Guide. This states a variety of required operational criteria, including specific video quality, coverage and performance of the CCTV network on match days.
“During the planning stages, we originally looked at implementing an end-to-end IP system at the site, as during non-match days, the images from the stadium would also be monitored at the Wigan Town Hall on its Borough Central Watch, but we encountered a number of issues with this solution. The unobtrusive structured cable network element of an IP system was just what we were looking for, for installation within the minimalist structures of the stadium, but to conform to the Green Guide’s 25 Frames per Second (fps) standard for match day coverage would have presented a significant challenge. Also, a totally IP system would have required the use of a comparatively expensive IP camera solution, including network switches every 90 metres, to amplify the signal, while the alternative fibre network proved far too costly due to the high-cost of the cable and specialist installation requirements.”
NVT is the key
“At this point, we introduced the idea of employing an NVT-based UTP hybrid video transmission solution, and with comprehensive technical guidance from NVT, we decided this would present the best solution. Harnessing NVT technology afforded a minimal and easy to install cable network, with Cat5 UTP runs installed in the underground ducting to the stands. Deploying analogue video also meant that we could realise real-time (25 fps) fibre-like images on match days, with the added bonus of still being able to encode the video and transmit images via the council’s private fibre network, for off-site monitoring during the week – a real win-win scenario.”
Completed in mid 2008, the new stadium included service infrastructure ducting into which UTP Cat5 cable runs were installed. “NVT’s inherent interference rejection capability meant we could transmit high-quality images in the same service ducts as other stadium services, such as the stadium’s high-voltage power cables and communications network, without any worries about picture interference,” adds Hutchinson.
In addition to providing quality video to the control room, NVT’s power, video and data (PVD) technology has also afforded low-voltage power to be supplied to both static and PTZ cameras around the ground. Obviating the need for individual fused spurs to be installed at each camera point, this again saved time and money on the overall cost of the CCTV installation.
Match days can see the ground filled to capacity with both home and rival fans, eager to see their teams in action. Managing the flow of fans in and out of the ground is a critical safety concern in modern stadia, and one of the major roles of the surveillance system at Leigh Sports Village. High-resolution images are used to continually monitor the flow of fans throughout its concourse, walkways and through turnstiles, both internally and externally.
Information on ‘flow rate’ (density, velocity and flow relationships for closely packed crowds) is relayed by the dedicated radio communications network to the stewards controlling safety at the turnstiles and gates. Should the flow rate rise in a particular area, stewards can then address and manage the flow, ensuring the safety of fans at all times.
“Match days is when the unrestricted resolution bandwidth and quality of the NVT UTP transmitted camera images really benefits the club,” explains Hutchinson. “Although the Leigh Centurions Rugby League Club’s fans have an exceptional record, being able to remotely pinpoint any trouble causers in the crowd ensures it stays that way, and should an incident occur, high-resolution recorded images permit easy identification of any individuals involved. Identification of individual crowd members through high-resolution images is an integral part of the standards for stadium CCTV, as set out in the Green Guide, and employing NVT UTP Hybrid Video transmission has been integral to this installation meeting those defined standards.”
During the week, camera images are used to secure the ground, with surveillance monitoring switched to the council’s control room at Wigan Town Hall. “This kind of flexibility is invaluable to the club and means economical monitoring is made available in addition to high-quality archived recordings, easily and instantly accessible onsite,” adds Hutchinson.
Hutchinson concludes: “Effective systems expandability is essential at the stadium, as it continues to attract more visitors and diversify its activities. New cameras may need to be added to cover as yet unused aspects of the site, or additional coverage may be deemed necessary for existing cameras, such as upgrading static cameras to PTZ, in which case it is an easy process to simply use one of the spare UTP pairs to supply PTZ telemetry data. With the flexibility of NVT UTP transmission, we can locate cameras in ideal positions to gain the most desirable scene coverage, which is not always possible when using cumbersome coax cable. Whatever the scenario, our economical, NVT-based CCTV system at Leigh Sports Village is set to provide flexible, high-performance security, site management, and health and safety surveillance for many years to come.”
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