Implementing effective security systems for sporting venues is no simple task. Access control systems must be able to cope with the huge rush of visitors on event days and, in the case of football grounds, they must meet stringent FIFA guidelines. Yet they must also be effective in preventing loss of revenue by checking the validity tickets and guarding against multiple entry attempts where tickets are passed back for others to use.
Naturally, the access control systems must also be able to deal smoothly and efficiently with the many contractors that need entry to sports venues, and with high-profile VIPs and celebrities.
Demands on CCTV systems are just as high. Comprehensive coverage, allied with the ability to generate high-quality images, irrespective of prevailing lighting conditions, is essential.
Controllability is another key factor, so that the CCTV operators can quickly and easily zoom in on potential problem areas and on individuals of interest. A danger recognised is, after all, a danger that can be eliminated.
Real-time recording of CCTV images is needed for event days, allied to provision for capturing and storing high quality images economically during out-of-hours periods and on non-event days. Sports institutions with their valuable equipment and memorabilia are a prime target for criminals, so effective methods for detecting and monitoring intruders are always of great importance.
Working closely with major operators of sporting venues, Siemens Security Products has developed equipment that provides economic and dependable solutions for all of these issues. Its access control systems, for example, offer fail-safe operation and optimised management of visitor streams. Its CCTV systems offer secure de-centralised recording, facial recognition facilities and even the ability to provide picture display on any terminal, including handheld PDAs used by stewards.
A further benefit of working with Siemens is that the company can supply the full range of equipment needed for sporting venue security. The portfolio includes Access Control, CCTV and Intrusion Detection. Integration can be achieved between certain systems depending on the levels of security required.
All sports venues are, however, different and, for this reason, specialists from Siemens are always ready to visit sites where new equipment is needed. After evaluating and analysing the requirements in detail, they will design appropriate and cost-effective solutions.
Many leading sporting venues in the UK have already taken advantage of the benefits provided by products and services from Siemens Security Products, not least the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
With the stadium coming up to its tenth birthday, its managers decided that it was time to upgrade its CCTV installation to take advantage of the advances in technology made during those years. The next phase of the upgrade is access control which will also be a Siemens solution.
A major part of the upgrade was the replacement of the existing PTZ (point-tilt-zoom) cameras with the latest Solaris dome products from Siemens. These are much less obtrusive than the older cameras, and are also fully sealed so they require virtually no maintenance. At the Millennium Stadium, versions with 18x and 26x zoom capabilities are being used, allowing operators to zoom in to look at individual faces, and to examine in detail areas of interest.
The new cameras provide full day/night operation and they have a high dynamic range function that allows them to capture detail in the highlights and shadows even in difficult lighting conditions. This is particularly useful in outdoor areas of the Millennium Stadium, where parts of the scene are often in bright sunlight while other parts are in deep shadow.
The site’s two CCTV control rooms have also been refurbished, with new video matrices installed to provide a total capacity for 115 cameras. The tape-based VHS video recorders, with their inherently poor image quality, have been replaced by five modern Siemens digital recorders. These allow images to be recorded 24/7 and stored for a minimum of 35 days, and they offer facilities for the recordings to be searched quickly and easily to locate events of interest. According to Gerry Toms, Stadium Manager of the Millennium Stadium, the new CCTV installation is proving to be an important asset and the upgrade work, which was carried out with a minimum of disruption, is excellent value for money.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club has also seen a recent upgrade to its CCTV installation using Siemens equipment. Here, Solaris PTZ cameras were chosen for external locations, as the Club believes that their high visibility is a useful deterrent to potential miscreants. Once again, Solaris dome cameras were used for indoor locations and, as in the case of the Millennium Stadium a new video matrix and DVRs have been installed.
To meet the Club’s requirements that the CCTV system should always be fully operational on match days, the installer achieved the remarkable feat of fitting and commissioning the new video matrix and DVR in less than four days!
The enhanced CCTV installation at Bolton Wanderers is proving to be an invaluable aid for the management of vehicular traffic. On match days, traffic managers from Greater Manchester Council use the control room to monitor traffic. Based on the information they obtain, they manually control the traffic lights around the ground to minimise hold ups.
Bolton Wanderers FC has described the system as a “fantastic tool” for enhancing safety and security, both on match days and on non-match days.
At nearby Burnley Football Club, the requirements were very different and rather unusual. The Club needed an effective access control system that would allow better use to be made of the executive suite that forms part of its Jimmy McIlroy Stand.
The idea was to convert part of this suite into 14 small offices that could be offered on short-term leases to start-up companies. The offices needed to be protected against unauthorised access, but it was important that the remainder of the executive suite could still be used normally on match days.
To achieve this, a SiPass Entro Access Control system was installed. Using convenient non-contact tags for access authorisation, this initially covers 20 doors, but can be extended to 512 doors and 40,000 users. The major components of the system are linked with standard network cable, which is inexpensive and convenient to install.
The flexibility of this system is an important benefit. Tags can, for example, be produced so that their validity corresponds to the lease period for each office, which means that if a former leaseholder returns with an old tag, they will automatically be denied access. The users are also pleased with the high level of security achieved using only convenient access tags rather than bulky keys.
When it comes to security systems for stadiums and other sports venues, there’s simply no room for experimentation and error – given the enormous demands placed on these systems, they have to be right first time. It is, therefore, essential to choose an expert supplier, with demonstrable experience in this specialist field. As many premier venues have already found, Siemens Building Technologies Security Products is that supplier.
Siemens Building Technologies Security Products
Tel: +44 (0)871 386 0800