Axis and its technology partner, Icomera – a global leader in integrated connected solutions for trains, trams, buses and coaches – have collaborated to create an innovative real-time security solution for transport operators to address head-on rising passenger concerns over safety and security.
The digital transformation of public transport, and the fully connected passenger experience on digital vehicles, is a critical element of smarter city infrastructure. Public transport continues to be one of the most efficient and sustainable means of travel, as highlighted by the tågskryt or ‘train brag’ movement to encourage climate conscious consumers to use rail rather than flying.
However, in recent years, travellers and commuters have become more aware of their proximity to others, perhaps accelerated through the effects of the pandemic. Spending unavoidable hours close to strangers, risking the potential for personal harm or theft, makes many passengers more nervous than it might have once done. In addition, the potential for terrorist activity, violence, or other unrest is highlighted every day by countless news sources.
This has resulted in an issue around the perception of public safety and security. The problem is that legacy security technology deployed on many of today’s vehicles typically offers a forensic, retrospective approach to evidence collection. Analysing footage after an incident has taken place – footage which, by the time it is finally seen, may turn out to be unclear or otherwise inadmissible as evidence – simply doesn’t offer passengers the protection they are looking for and appears increasingly archaic, at least as a transport network’s key method of passenger defence.
Tomorrow’s vehicle refit, however, offers the opportunity to employ a new security solution, one that is ready to better meet passenger desires and benefit operators in equal measure. Icomera has combined its X-Series Internet connectivity platform and powerful Video Management System (VMS) tools with Axis’ versatile onboard cameras for public transport, which makes real-time, multi-camera, interior and exterior footage readily available to security personnel, even while vehicles are in motion.
Internet technology from Icomera is already widespread across the world’s transport networks. The company’s X-Series platform offers high-performance, maximum uptime connectivity both to passengers and operational systems and services. This creates a network backbone which enables the ICOmera Network Insights and Control (ICONIC) software system to manage the delivery and prioritisation of data, including video, from the vehicle back to base.
Paul Barnes, Chief Marketing Officer at Icomera, states: “We needed to offer our customers a reliable, proactive, real-time security solution for passenger safety and security. Axis’ reputation for quality and durability, as well as the results from testing, made it our front-runner. Our two technologies in tandem enable virtual patrols of vehicles, proactive monitoring during busy periods or known events, and quick reactions to security alerts. Live multi-camera monitoring ties multiple views together to create a single story of any incident, while the ICONIC VMS makes recording, rewinding, and selecting historical footage simple.”
Axis’ onboard cameras for use on public transport provide high-definition video streaming, image stabilisation, onboard storage, and a rugged construction fully compliant with industry regulations. Technologies such as WDR and Lightfinder combat strong backlight and low light, while Axis Zipstream preserves the important forensic detail whilst lowering bandwidth and storage requirements by an average of 50%. All this ensures maximum video quality at minimum bandwidth, helping to keep even the next generation of surveillance in line with operators’ data consumption limits, budgetary constraints, and, potentially, slower mobile connectivity along certain routes.
Importantly, the ease of networking Axis cameras with Icomera’s existing platform means the switch to real-time video monitoring is a straight-forward task suitable for the transport industry’s time-limited upgrade schedules. And it’s an upgrade that looks set to last: ICONIC VMS is ready to integrate future innovations like video analytics for automated passenger counting and hazard detection.
Live trials are also rolling out using the platform for other operational applications, combining cameras and AI analytics to provide data and insights into onboard occupancy levels and to monitor trackside infrastructure. The technology has the potential to greatly reduce danger to maintenance personnel, improve the operational efficiency of rail networks, and offer a better experience to passengers.