Monday , 18 November 2019

Smart Technology: Securing Cities’ Transportation

‘Advanced surveillance technology plays a critical role in the transport sector’

Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC

City surveillance has been part of most of the smart city projects and in many smart cities, actual deployments that have happened were around surveillance. So far, how’s the progress in this direction?

We have been working closely with most of the smart city projects in India, and the ‘Smart City’ vertical is a very crucial vertical for our growth. Karnal, Haryana is a historical city that off late was plagued by an increase in cases of violence against women, mob congregation and traffic violations. Upon inclusion in the smart city project, the importance of surveillance was realised by the government. We installed 104 Axis fixed box cameras (AXIS P1365) and 25 Axis PTZ cameras (AXIS P5635-E) across major junctions, streets and tourist spots in Karnal.

These cameras were primarily selected due to its ability to capture rapid movement in high definition and deliver excellent image quality even in low-light conditions. These cameras come with Axis proprietary Zipstream technology which enables compressed format streaming in real-time, allowing transfer of data on low bandwidth. The technology also boosts the compatibility quotient making it ideal for integration with other products in the long-run. As a result, the security upgradation across Karnal, Nanded, Kolhapur and Hyderabad have been instrumental in helping the city police to shift from the traditional method of post mortem analysis to digital real-time monitoring thereby assisting the authorities to bring down crime and traffic violation.

How is surveillance becoming increasingly relevant in the ecosystem of transportation in India?

Cars getting stuck in traffic in cities is not a new-age travel issue. With cities expanding, and an increase in purchasing power, we see a trend of a family having more than one car. Smart transportation can reduce travel delays and reduce emissions released by vehicles. Apart from traffic, street lighting and parking are the common woes of citizens, and smart transportation can devise solutions to tackle these problems.

Vehicles with built-in cameras and sensors are a critical part of transportation. Cameras with facial recognition features will help save time, as the car’s system will have preconfigured customised settings of the driver, and all he has to do is get in the car and drive. Sensors attached to the car will be able to identify objects within a certain radius of the vehicle, which should help in parking, as well as ensure safe driving.

How can thermal-based cameras be a help in strengthening security set up of cities?

A thermal camera creates images based on the heat that radiates from any object, vehicle or a person. Thermal cameras are less sensitive to problems with light conditions such as shadows, backlight, darkness and even camouflaged objects; and deliver images that allow users to detect and act on suspicious activity

The advantage of using thermal cameras is, that they can be used for uninterrupted surveillance, round the clock. During the daytime, they function as regular CCTV cameras, and during the night when visibility is a hindrance, the thermal feature enables operators to monitor the surrounding perimeter reducing crime rates at night especially on the highways.

That said, modern problems require modern solutions; new technology has enabled the company to create smarter surveillance solutions that can be used for more than just surveillance. “The Axis license plate reader is one such solution that can be used for traffic management and vehicle counting. Parking lots can be automated using the license plate reader. Heat mapping is another solution which enables quick identification of hot spots, dead areas and bottlenecks to visualize traffic patterns over time as well as in real-time,” he avers.

Some of the solutions showcased by Axis for smart traffic are:

• P1356 MkII – which is ideal for securing locations such as governmental and industrial sites, airports, railway stations, parking lots, school grounds and university campuses.
• AXIS Network Horn Speaker – is a simple-to-install outdoor loudspeaker that provides clear, long-range speech for remote speaking in live video surveillance. Audio can be manually or automatically triggered in response to an alarm and deter unwanted activity through pre-installed or uploaded audio files.
• PTZ Network Camera – ideal for city surveillance applications such as monitoring of public squares and parking lots and other open areas. It features four 2-megapixel sensors to provide a complete 360° field of view over large areas.

Since traffic congestion, security concerns, overcrowding etc., are driving the demand for smart technology, a big focus of these investments is in sensors, IoT and cloud-based platforms that can capture data, analyse it and provide real-time information and insights that can boost safety and security. These technologies help create actionable insights that city authorities and municipalities can use to improve their situational awareness and create productive environments that people and businesses want to call home.

Ashish Modi, of Honeywell Building Technologies talks about how the company invested in advanced technologies such as integrated video management systems that integrate CCTV, advanced AI-based video analytics software such as automatic license plate recognition (ANPR), Red Light Violation Detection System (RLVDS) etc., to effectively identify violator, proactively prevent traffic violations, and hence contribute in keeping the city roads decongested. With AI-based crowd management analytics solution, technology can proactively alert the operators about the possible formation of large gathering or crowd or even long queue at ticket counters or security check-in points in cities. One of Honeywell’s offerings is a unified command and control centre, which stitches together key city services and systems such as emergency response, traffic management, solid waste, smart lighting etc.

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