Finally, video analytics can be integrated into PSIM to alert operators to specific situations — such as overcrowding on a subway platform, a perimeter breach, a person on a track or in a tunnel — and guide operators through an appropriate response.
Consider this scenario.
At a command center far away from a train platform, a security operator receives an on-screen alert that something or someone has tripped a sensor in a subway tunnel. A map automatically pops up showing the exact location of the breech and triggering near-by PTZ cameras to zoom in. The operator is immediately able to make out a person on the tracks and confirm it’s not a false alarm.
This sets into motion a chain of procedures that pop up on the operator’s screen one by one. First, the operator’s prompted to click on a button that notifies transit police officers of the breach by sending a text message to their mobile devices. At the same time, the system automatically alerts the station manager and prompts the operator to call rail operations so trains can be safely diverted. As officers arrive on the scene to search for the trespasser, rail operations redirects trains to a different platform and broadcasts the track change. Service continues without interruption and moments later the intruder is apprehended.
PSIM at King’s Cross Station — The Real Magic
The latter example is hypothetical of course. But if this sounds like fiction, it’s far from it. PSIM is one of the advanced security technologies securing London’s King’s Cross Station. The historic station opened in 1852. Each year, 47 million pedestrians pass through the legendary interchange. Network Rail runs, owns and maintains King’s Cross station.
King’s Cross Station was made famous by the Harry Potter movies. It’s where the young wizard, Harry, began each new school year by catching Hogwarts Express, which departed from King’s Cross platform 9¾. Visit the station today and you’ll see signs for J. K. Rowling’s fictional platform; but it’s behind the scenes that the real magic is happening.
Following a major refurbishment, an iconic new concourse opened at King’s Cross last spring. At the time, the station already had a robust security infrastructure; but a major goal of the re-development project was to improve the quality and performance of these existing systems. They wanted to make the systems work in unison and they achieved this with PSIM.
King’s Cross control room operators are now able to monitor all of the sub systems through one interface. This includes CCTV, access control, fire, Help Points, customer information and public address systems. Security or safety alerts are automatically flagged on-screen so the operator can take appropriate actions based on predetermined response plans.
“As operators only need to use one interface, the initial training needed to get them accustomed to the new system was minimal, which means we can get new operators up to speed far more quickly,” said Network Rail Project Manager, Brendan O’Keeffe. “It also means that they can focus more on using their surveillance skills,” O’Keeffe added.
Having a central system has also improved the speed and efficiency with which the operators can share information with train operators, British Transport Police or emergency services. They’ve been able to coordinate more effective incident responses and improve overall service to the travelling public.
Security and Then Some
While PSIM has its roots in security, its uses expand into the operational realm as well.
Consider the example of Aeroexpress. Founded in 2005, Aeroexpress offers high-speed railway service within Moscow to the Capital’s three major airports — Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo — and rail service to a few of Moscow’s satellite towns. Realizing that passengers have a variety of transportation options, Aeroexpress’s strategy is to deliver operational excellence in all areas — from safety and security to passenger service. Aeroexpress’s Tier 1 PSIM solution, Nice Situator, helps the rail service provider do exactly that.