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Hikvision Overcomes Weather and Obstacles to Secure Frankfurt's Light-Rail Stations

As an important financial, commercial, and transportation center of Germany, Frankfurt takes great pride in the city’s overall infrastructure improvement. While advanced transportation systems are trademarks of the city's foresight, the implementation of a comprehensive solution for all of its 31 underground stations and 16 light rail transit stations – with the later completely located upon the unforgiving German surface - mark an integral moment.

The security solution for the light rail stations, implemented by the German-based company - Indanet AG, was developed to upgrade the existing analog surveillance system to better meet the client's demand for higher image quality and remote monitoring in a more timely fashion; and specifically, in response to emergency situations. Yet, the ability to achieve these security improvements were a direct result of utilizing Hikvision products; both in the design and in the mounting of IP Cameras at these outdoor facilities.

Project Conditions

Previously mentioned, there was one significant hurdle these 16 light-rail transit stations had to overcome that many other Frankfurt civic projects did not: these light rail stations were outdoors.

Jürgen Fuchs, Indanet's Director of Strategic Projects at explained, "The German climate can be very unforgiving. These stations are completely outdoors, so the challenges we faced were very different than those at a primarily indoor facility, such as a subway. Outside, we have to deal with absolutely everything."

Using German ingenuity, Indanet AG decided a two-pronged security solution would best fit this environment. One aspect would be for the larger platform area, and the other would be tailor-made for one specific area located upon the platform itself. Yet, both plans needed Hikvision technology to turn these ideas into reality.

The Platform

Mr. Fuchs chose to monitor the general platform area with Hikvision's DS-2CD762MF-FB (H) 1.3MP Vandal Proof & Weather Proof Network Dome Camera. This was done for a number of reasons, as Mr. Fuchs explained, "This camera was a natural choice. It worked very well with the IP-network we built for the Frankfurt public transportation system, and these cameras gave the system operators' a video image that that had tremendous resolution. But, very importantly, it successfully met the IP65 weather standard – something specifically required by this client."

The DS-2CD762MF-FB (H) 1.3 MP achieves all of these through a variety of Hikvision technological applications. The high clarity aspect is provided through 1280 x 960 pixels of digital resolution; while the ability to successfully function in the extreme outdoor Frankfurt climate is a direct result of the vandal/weather proof housing encasing this camera.

In fact, this casing ensures an IP66 weather rating, which actually exceeds the pre-existing requirements placed upon this project. Mr. Fuchs further elaborated that "this housing is a very complex and vital part for this camera. There is an internal heater to control temperature differences in the winter, and there is a water-proofing element that keeps out rain, snow, and condensation from adversely affecting the camera. Without these, a camera would not function in Frankfurt’s climate."

Emergency Columns

While, in most cases, the general platform was monitored by the DS-2CD762MF-FB (H) 1.3 MP, there were certain stations that presented a special challenge: finding a location to mount the camera that would allow an unobstructed view of the emergency columns.

Mr. Fuchs overcame this problem with creativity and Hikvision's DS-2CD7153-E 2MP Mini Dome Network Camera. These cameras were installed within the actual column and next to the emergency button. In the event of an emergency, a passenger need only press the button. This immediately triggers the camera and conveys the image in real-time to the control center; thereby alerting security personnel of the situation. Furthermore, a voice panel allows staff to speak with the passenger.

Mr. Fuchs noted, "This camera allows a full realization of security with an efficient, all-in-one tool to immediately diagnose the situation. Importantly, personnel in the security center are able to receive real-time HD video with H.264 video compression from these cameras; thereby greatly helping security staff to recognize the nature of the problem and correctly respond." Additionally, all video footage is permanently recorded and stored for 48 hours, which is the maximum duration allowed by authorities.

The Overall Effect

Tying both of these Hikvision cameras together to a main security center is an IP-network solution compatible with Nexus VMS codec.

And while this network is centrally monitored, IP also presents an additional benefit: the ability to use PCs to view the cameras' video. Mr. Fuchs noted, "This feature is especially important to early responders, such as firefighters. There is a vital need for these individuals to be able to visually see what is happening in real time."

And it is exactly this amalgamation of security solutions that has allowed Frankfurt to not only respond to emergencies, but actually prevent them.

Noting studies that have proven the tangible deterrent value of a visibly-located security camera; Mr. Fuchs elaborated on how this deterrence concept fits into a public transportation project: "Frankfurt has been, and is, a very peaceful city. We installed these cameras as much for prevention as for actual response. But fortunately, with these cameras serving as a visual deterrent, we had very few cases where security has to actually intervene."

Through a combination of Hikvision technology and German integration skills, this solution has met, and prevented, each of the various weather and security challenges that Frankfurt continues to face.