Since power substations are widely distributed and unmanned, remote monitoring is extremely crucial. Real-time video surveillance of power substations offers automatic monitoring and control capabilities in addition to enhancing remote monitoring applications with visual management. These capabilities not only save management costs for manpower, but also realize complete network automation.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, which are already deployed in power substations to provide data about the system’s status, can be easily integrated with video surveillance technology. By installing a real-time video monitoring system at power substations, system administrators are able to receive visual data to complement the raw SCADA data. Real-time video monitoring can help ensure normal operations for power equipment, protect against intrusion and tampering by unauthorized personnel, and prevent accidents. For example, intruders, physical obstructions, or smoke indicating a fire can be seen via video so engineers no longer need to visit the site in-person each time to diagnose an anomaly, saving both time and costs.
Remote video surveillance systems can play an important role in monitoring equipment, detecting intruders, and responding to emergency situations. For example, video surveillance can be used to monitor the appearance of the power transformer and relay, fueling and flammable equipment, and the status of the isolation switch. Video surveillance can also monitor the security situation inside and outside the substation by detecting intruders through sound and visual monitoring. In addition, video surveillance can be integrated with the alarm system and RTU (remote terminal unit) over a SCADA system to provide real-time visual information to prevent accidents and assist emergency response personnel in the event of a fire.
Why IP Video?
In the past, video surveillance systems such as CCTV networks relied upon analog video cameras. Due to advances in video digitization and compression technologies, high quality digital video images can now be sent over Ethernet TCP/IP networks. By using such devices, system integrators can easily integrate video surveillance applications into their SCADA system. As a result, Internet Protocol (IP) video technology is the current trend in video surveillance systems. The benefits of IP video surveillance include:
One Network – Using the existing IP network saves cabling costs and increases installation flexibility, especially for widely distributed substations. Ethernet TCP/IP networks can accommodate a variety of I/O monitoring and control devices in addition to transmitting data, video, voice, and even power (PoE) over a single network.
One System – Integration with SCADA or alarm systems (such as fire, intrusion, etc.) increases monitoring efficiency and creates an event-driven video surveillance system. This means the video images can be displayed and recorded and real-time responses can be received when an event or alarm occurs.
Constructing an Optimal IP Video Surveillance System
Given the critical role played by power substations in our daily lives, it is important for the IP video solution to be well-designed to ensure that the video surveillance system works properly. System integrators should consider factors such as applicability, reliability, integration, and user-friendliness in order to construct an optimal IP video surveillance system.
Applicability – System integrators need to consider video requirements such as image viewing, recording, and analysis, as well as interoperability with other systems (such as SCADA, Access Control, etc.) when deploying an IP video surveillance system. They also need to know how many cameras are required for the system and whether IP cameras or video encoders are suitable for the application. Network transmission factors such as bandwidth, multicast, and IGMP requirements, and whether the project requires a single network or separate networks for data and video are also important. Central management concerns, including system resources (PCs, servers, cost, etc.), software requirements (pure video or video integrated with another system), storage capability and database management, and whether or not a decoder is required, should also be considered.
Reliability – Since video monitoring is used to ensure safety and security in remote and disperse locations, reliability is a key factor in designing an optimal IP video surveillance system. Factors for reliability include surge protection and fiber transmission to reduce electromagnetic interference. Redundancy, high MTBF (meantime between failures) and IP protection are also important factors to consider for optimal reliability.
Integration – System integrators should consider integrating video surveillance into the central management system, as well as other systems, including SCADA/HMI, remote monitoring, and access control. This not only reduces cabling and network installation costs, but also makes central management and control easier to handle for system administrators. Interoperation with other devices for event-driven video monitoring is another benefit. For example, the system can begin recording video once a card reader or sensor is activated.
User-friendliness – IP video involves new applications and technologies that power system administrators need to learn. For this reason, it is recommended that system integrators choose ready-to-use hardware and software solutions to reduce the time needed to set up an IP video surveillance system. Not only does this simplify the system integrator’s task, but it will also be easier for system administrators to learn and use.
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