Axis communications

Modernising transport infrastructure: a shift from forensic to real-time surveillance

Lucas Young

Business Development Manager, Transportation, Axis Communications

Author Bio ▼

Lucas comes from a risk management and security consultancy background and has worked extensively in the transport sector including ports, maritime, rail and airport environments. His wide experience of working in both operational and strategic roles give him an excellent insight into the issues, challenges and potential solutions facing those who work in all aspects of transport security.
February 27, 2018

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The European transport sector proved to be an early adopter of CCTV surveillance.

This was partially due to the attractiveness of its forensic capabilities, including the ability to record, store and replay video for post-incident analysis. More recently, digital camera technology has undergone continued and significant improvements, reaching a tipping point in global markets, where for the first time, it outsold analogue CCTV solutions.

In fact, it has become the defacto technology for new public transport installations, with the quality of image, ease of playback and efficiency of storage proving far superior to its analogue predecessor.

A global opportunity: advanced IP technology

Globally, the transport industry continues to lead the way in using video for security, safety and commercial applications. It has realised that network video can be used as a tool to not only understand the root cause of incidents, but also as a means of gaining real-time insights.

For example, this might include business efficiency, such as assisting decision-making for platform changes in rail, or security purposes, such as station clearance in response to an emergency.

Significant parts of UK transport infrastructure still haven’t been upgraded from analogue cameras

While the international transport market continues to keep pace with the latest developments in real-time network camera technology, the UK has slowed in its adoption. Despite plans for installations of pan-network IP systems in many areas, significant parts of the UK transport infrastructure are still to be upgraded from analogue.

This is partially due to the lack of a modern communications infrastructure, with many network black-spots and other parts incapable of handling large adequate amounts of data and preventing network users from making use of the solutions available today.

Key adoption challenges: an ageing infrastructure

In a bid to understand the key challenges in upgrading to a networked solution, Axis commissioned a survey in joint collaboration with UITP, the global public transport organisation across stakeholders in key areas such as rail, bus and ferry.

With virtually all respondents saying they had some form of video surveillance installed (97%), 85% also said they would be considering IP cameras in the future. When asked what was preventing them from upgrading to the latest solutions now, however, the most common response was the perceived “lack of a clear business case”.

Interestingly, approximately three quarters of those that cited the lack of a clear business case had analogue cameras in their surveillance system. This may point to a lack of understanding on the capabilities of IP video surveillance systems, beyond the traditional forensic capabilities that CCTV provides. Blame may also lie with the IP security industry in not fully educating on the scalable nature of real-time solutions, enabling both operational and commercial benefits.

Business security, business intelligence

While ‘funding difficulties’ was also cited as an investment challenge, it must be weighed up against the true requirements of public transport authorities to provide both an efficient and safe service. With a number of high-profile attacks on mass transport systems across Europe, and Scotland Yard recently warning the UK’s terror threat level will remain at ‘severe’ for at least five more years, it is clear the industry cannot be complacent when it comes to security investment.

As per the three core principles prescribed by the UK Government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in protecting assets, firstly the threat should be deterred, then detected and then delayed. No credible and organised threat will be deterred from a security system which is only able to provide a historical record of an attack. It must also be able to provide real-time detection and allow counter measures to be initiated in a timely manner.

The shift to scalable, real-time systems, empowered by IP technology, will give organisations long-term value from their investment

Video surveillance will remain a cornerstone technology in public transport. The shift to scalable, real-time systems, empowered by the latest IP technology, will enable organisations to gain long-term value from their investment.

While the technology is widely used in transport, the UK must accelerate adoption if it is to keep pace with our European counterpart. In order to realise the value of such technology, education around the benefits of integrating systems to deliver a real-time approach is key.

Ultimately, transport providers and passengers alike stand to benefit from the possibilities network video and intelligent IP cameras offer, be it providing counter terror related intelligence or data associated with business performance. Network video is nothing short of crucial in providing a safer and improved passenger experience.

Learn more about the shift from forensic to real-time in transport in Axis’ latest white paper.


About Axis Communications

Axis offers intelligent security solutions that enable a smarter, safer world. As the market leader in network video, Axis is driving the industry by continually launching innovative network products based on an open platform – delivering high value to customers through a global partner network.

Axis has long-term relationships with partners and provides them with knowledge and ground-breaking network products in existing and new markets.

Axis has more than 2,700 dedicated employees in more than 50 countries around the world, supported by a global network of over 90,000 partners. Founded in 1984, Axis is a Sweden-based company listed on NASDAQ Stockholm under the ticker AXIS. For more information about Axis, please visit our website

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