In 1989, Montreal’s École Polytechnique was the site of the tragic killing of 14 women by an enraged gunman. Security for the college’s three-building campus has since been beefed up with hundreds of high-end video surveillance cameras, but the installation of so many cameras created a new problem.
“The security director told us last year if another crazy person started running down the hallways with a gun, he wouldn’t be able to track him with traditional video surveillance monitoring systems,” says Christian Laforte, co-founder and president of Montreal-based Feeling Software, a 3D software design firm.
Traditional video systems in facilities with hundreds of cameras are difficult to use for tracking suspects, explains Laforte, because humans have trouble keeping track of where cameras are located and transitioning from one to the next to follow a moving subject.
The problem is particularly acute in airports, where fears about armed terrorists run high. Larger ones such as Toronto’s Pearson International Airport have almost 1,000 cameras in place, and transfer hubs such as New York’s La Guardia have thousands, he says.
To use them effectively, security guards first need to memorize where all the cameras are and what they view, an exercise that can take months for new guards. Watching for potential incidents on monitors that display all the video feeds from different areas simultaneously is also difficult.
“A guard typically watches six screens, and each one can have 16 to 32 camera views. They can only watch for about 20 minutes before they burn out,” says Rene Beaulieu, president of Securaglobe, a security firm based in London, Ont.
Thanks: CBC News/SMART IP VIDEO BLOG & NEWS