Vigilance. If there is one concept that lies at the core of every aspect of public security today, it is the need for constant alertness. The threat profile faced by the security services today has never been more diverse, more unpredictable or more deadly. Terrorist attacks occur suddenly and can take many forms, from unattended packages left on a subway and mass armed assaults to vehicles unexpectedly veering into pedestrians and lone wolf attacks. Intelligence-led counter terrorism, no matter how effective, can never completely remove the threat of a surprise attack. So vigilance and rapid reaction remain essential weapons in the fight against terror, and surveillance and visualization technology the key to their effectiveness.
While surveillance and monitoring technology has advanced exponentially over recent years, human operators are still the essential element in any effective system. The focus of technology is therefore to ensure that human operators get the right information they need to make good decisions in the fastest possible timeframe. Incident response almost always requires several operators working in concert, and so for that reason the central large screen video wall display is still by far the most common approach seen in command and control centres around the world.
Mitsubishi Electric is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of the large screen display systems found in many control room applications around the world. Active in this market for over 30 years, Mitsubishi has installed over 78,000 video wall displays into a huge variety of applications. Security and surveillance is a core market for Mitsubishi, and its displays watch over the safety of millions of citizens, 24 hours of every day, across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Constant vigilance quite clearly requires a display system of infallible reliability and endurance. Systems have to be able to operate reliably 24/7 and require little or no maintenance. Moreover, they have to keep doing so, day-in, day-out for many years. Consequently, a key focus for Mitsubishi Electric’s product development program has been on achieving not just performance and reliability, but also an extremely long operational service life. The LED illumination system employed in Mitsubishi’s DLP rear projection displays employs a specially-developed air cooling system for its LED light source, which, unlike fluid-cooled projectors, does not require periodic maintenance. Effective and constant cooling is essential in maintaining LED performance and longevity, and so avoiding maintenance downtime or the costly and disruptive unplanned replacement of hardware. Many of Mitsubishi’s DLP projectors now offer operational service lives of 100,000 hours of continuous operation. Some units are able to achieve an industry-leading 130,000 hours – or nearly 15 years of continuous maintenance-free operation.
The outstanding performance and low cost of ownership are two major reasons why Mitsubishi displays are specified for some of the most advanced security control rooms in the world. One example is Moscow’s state-of-the-art Metro Security Center. The centre employs the latest video surveillance and computer vision technologies to monitor over 17,000 cameras covering all the stations and public areas on the Moscow Metro network. The Security Center is capable of processing, displaying and storing an astonishing 11 petabytes of video data.
The cameras used in the system are a mixture of conventional IP surveillance cameras and machine vision systems designed to automatically detect abnormal situations such as an abandoned object, public order offences, passengers acting suspiciously or people falling onto the rails. When an abnormal event is detected, the video wall changes configuration automatically to focus on the incident so that dispatchers can decide on an appropriate response. Upon becoming operational, the system enabled a ten-fold improvement in response times.
Mitsubishi Electric supplied 40 of its VS-60HEF120U 60” DLP video wall cubes in an 8 x 5 configuration, delivering a total resolution of 15360 x 5400 pixels. The screen is controlled by a Datapath controller, which handles both the automatic and manual source switching and screen layouts. The air-cooling and multiple redundancy of the LED light sources means that Mitsubishi Electric 120 Series video wall cubes deliver an operational lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Together with their modest power consumption, the zero-maintenance design ensures an extremely low cost of ownership.
Major command and control facilities require heavy capital expenditure. That’s why it is so crucial to be able to derive the longest possible operational lifespan and the lowest ongoing running costs. The choice of video wall display technology has an enormous bearing on a facility’s ability to achieve both its mission and its operational objectives. The cost of achieving a reliable and constant vigilance capability may be substantial. But the cost of failure can be far greater.
Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.