“Major sporting
venues need outright performance from their surveillance systems and it’s
because of this fundamental need for real time, high resolution images on all
channels and at multiple monitors that the SCG and SFS retain significant analogue
installations”

SAME as any sporting
venue, the SCG and SFS site has a split personality. During the week the site
is relatively quiet with activity restricted to training and member services.
But on weekends there may be multiple events at the Sydney Cricket Ground or
the Sydney Football Stadium – or both. On big weekends tens of thousands of
patrons will pour through multiple gates each day.

And it’s not just
football and cricket fans that need security and safety. Servicing the crowds
are hundreds of contractors handling everything from catering to TV
broadcasting. A big day at the SCG and SFS is a big day in any security
manager’s book.

It’s for this
reason that major sporting venues need outright performance from their surveillance
systems and it’s because of this fundamental need for real time, high
resolution images on all channels and at multiple monitors that the SCG and SFS
retain significant analogue installations. What’s more, the surveillance
roadmap here is hybrid. Sure, there are digital subsystems and there will be
megapixel cameras but these will be topical applications supporting a hybrid
solution.

Challenging
application

Like many large
sites, functional hardware is seldom removed without reason at the SCG and SFS and
cameras and monitors will work till failure before being replaced with the
latest equipment. This principle exerts a strong influence over the surveillance
solution here. In fact, to really understand this system upgrade we need to
delve further into the background of the original installation.

Bear in mind that
while we’re talking about the overall site combining the SCG and SFS, as well
as the surrounding facilities, Stage 1 of the upgrade and much of the installation
we’re addressing lies in and around the Sydney Cricket Ground.

For a start, this
is a Pelco site and it has been since the early 1990s – in fact the SCG is
probably one of the few sites in the world where you can see a first-gen
Spectra I running alongside the latest Spectra IV Horizon. This might sound
unusual but the Spectra I cameras that have been operating at the SCG for
nearly 12 years are perfectly serviceable.

A quick steer in
the control room shows why they were such a breakthrough design when released
in 1997. The Spectra 1 is still a bloody good PTZ.

Of the 315
cameras installed at the site about 125 are PTZs – a mix of 99 Spectra domes including
Spectra 1, Spectra 2, Spectra 3 and the latest Spectra 4 Horizon, which has the
ability to look up into opposite stands from low mounting points. This is an
important capability at the SCG and the SFS, where soaring rooflines make access
for maintenance of ceiling mounted cameras virtually impossible.

“Ultimately the
system will go completely hybrid – it’s going to be an evolutionary process of
upgrade linked to these building upgrades so there’s no set timeline – when the
new stands are built, the CCTV components will be upgraded”

There are also 19
Spectra minis and a number of legacy PTZ domes that are still functioning well.
Not only does the site primarily use analogue Spectra domes, there’s a full
analogue matrix in the site’s main control room in the SCG that’s being
deliberately retained.

According to Hans
van de Ven of JLM Electronic Services, the designer and integrator of the new
system, the decision to retain such a significant analogue component makes
sense on multiple levels.

“There are
reasons of economy and reasons of performance,” van de Ven explains. “The
operators want live views on all inputs and multiple monitors on busy days.
They’re also used to the functionality they get with analogue. Another key
reason to retain the analogue infrastructure is redundancy.”

In order to
understand the surveillance upgrade van de Ven says the new installation needs
to be seen as part of the overall development of the Sydney Cricket Ground
itself.

“The SCG is in
the process of redevelopment with old stands from the 1930s to the 70s being
replaced with new ones as part of an ongoing upgrade by the Sydney Cricket and
Sports Ground Trust,” he says.

“As stands are
removed the surveillance gear is being replaced with new cameras and Endura
racks,” van de Ven explains. “Ultimately the system will go completely hybrid –
it’s going to be an evolutionary process of upgrade linked to these building
upgrades so there’s no set timeline – when the new stands are built, the CCTV
components will be upgraded.”

Pelco Australia’s
Terry Yallouris agrees.

“The scope of this
ongoing system upgrade is maintaining the look and feel and some of the form of
the legacy analogue system while migrating over time across to a hybrid system,”
Yallouris says.

“And because this
is a challenging site with unique demands we’re also looking at trialling some
of the new Sarix megapixel cameras at the site.”

The Victor
Trumper Stand

At the heart of
this surveillance upgrade is a significant installation in the new Victor
Trumper Stand, which has been replaced the Doug Walters Stand and the old site
of Yabba’s Hill. This new stand is vast and provides seating for members of the
public as well as corporate boxes and function rooms. It’s an impressive piece
of construction. All the Spectras in the new stand are 35x zoom – which is the
highest specification Spectra IV – that includes the internal cameras – except
the corporate areas, where the Spectra Mini is used for aesthetic reasons.  

In terms of
system layout, van de Ven says the cameras in the new Victor Trumper Stand are
linked to a matrix and an Endura rack located in the stand’s network room. This
remote node is linked by fibre to the control room on the other side of the
ground.  

“The Victor
Trumper Stand has 62 new cameras and the SCG’s first Pelco Endura system,” he
says. “Since we installed Endura in this stand we’ve added a few of our existing
Pelco 5100 series DVRs located in the control room to the Endura system there and
we are now running a total of 101 cameras on Endura with everything also going
through our analogue matrix system.”

Before we go any
further here, it’s well worth getting to grips with Endura as a technology.
Endura is a modular system combining hardware and management software. The
Endura hardware devices include the NET5308T Video Encoder, the high-performance
NET5308T, a dual-stream, eight-input video encoding unit. Then there are video
decoders, Network Video Recorders, Endura Storage Expansion Boxes, the WS5050
PC Workstation, the KBD5000 Keyboard, a System Manager called SM5000, the WM5000
Wall Mount unit for enclosed spaces, the RK5000 Power Supply and the DVR 5300
Series Digital Video Recorder.

All these devices
and the associated management software can be used by system designers to build
a distributed surveillance system that exploits all a site’s comms networks –
digital and analogue – to create a seamless surveillance solution.

At the centre of
the upgrade installation is the surveillance rack in the network room of the Victor
Trumper Stand. Node zero at Victor Trumper is a very nice HP rack with a sweet
cabling loom. Cameras are all wired on twisted pair – there’s very little coax
in this install. According to van de Ven, the node zero racks include MATV
which manages TV screen around the ground.

Of particular
note are the blown fibre air tubes which will allow fibres to be blown in as
required in the future. The fibre tubes were pulled to the Victor Trumper Stand
because ultimately the system’s head end will be moved there from the old Bradman
Stand.

“At present in
the Victor Trumper Stand network room there are 2 DVR 5300s with a Pelco 9770
Matrix Bay and the fibre connection devices and a couple of monitors and
control points,” van de Ven explains.

“All cameras in the
Victor Trumper Stand are wired to the node in the network room racks using
Pelco Twisted Pair wired through Krone frames,” he says.

“Importantly, all
the Pelco cameras have in-built twisted pair drivers and we use passive
receivers at the network room end. Cameras go straight into the back of
encoders in the rear of the Endura racks.

“Each camera in
this cupboard is wired back to a local cupboard on the Krone frame and then
jumps to a Krone frame in the network room in the Victor Trumper Stand,” he
explains.  

The network

Getting a handle
on the nature of the site and this upgrade also demands getting an
understanding of the nature of the network that serves the video surveillance
system. While much of the local cabling remains coax, fibre forms the primary
trunks to transport video signals around the SCG.

In terms of its
overall design the system incorporates matrix switches in stands around the
ground which are then linked to the control room. In the case of the Endura
installation, there’s a matrix in the new Victor Trumper stand and this ties
back to the master matrix in the Bradman Stand via a fibre optic cable and then
travels on another fibre optic cable from the Bradman Stand up to the control
room.

“The fibre
network here is all multimode except for the gigabit network backbone which is
single mode,” says van de Ven. “Wherever we are on the site we are within range
of multimode fibre and that’s important given the size of the site.

van de Ven
explains that there are 42 fibre access points around the ground.

“It’s a massive fibre
network – the biggest run is from the control room to the Victor Trumper Stand –
around 1.1km,” he says. “There are six fibre pits around the actual playing
field with a pit inside the fence. The pits are joined by a ring and that
allows us to get a very direct path to the Bradman Stand which at present is
the central network switch and is linked directly to ProCurve in the control
room.”

van de Ven says
that from a planning and installation point of view the upgrade plans at the
ground have had an impact on the fibre network and its path.

“The new 19-core blown
fibre infrastructure we’ve run from the Bradman Stand to the Victor Trumper
Stand runs for 1.1km for a reason,” he explains.

“We deliberately
pulled that fibre into areas that we know aren’t going to be developed – obviously
we need to keep that trunk intact. We know that in the course of construction
we are going to lose some cabling – but we have to keep key elements of the
system out of the older stands.”

van de Ven says that
along with fibre there’s a undeniable coaxial component to the network.

“The scope of this
ongoing system upgrade is maintaining the look and feel and some of the form of
the legacy analogue system while migrating over time across to a hybrid system”

“Our coax in the
SFS runs are on RG11 and some of them are big – some of our roof cameras have
runs of about 400m,” he says. “Of course there are challenges with the legacy
coaxial cable. For a start most the coaxial cable was actually laid into slabs during
construction of the Stadium so we don’t know exactly how long the runs are or where
they are routed. All we can do when they fail is replace them with fibre links.

“In some cases a
cable will disappear into a concrete pillar on the far side of the ground and
emerge hundreds of metres later in the control room,” explains van de Ven. “This
is fairly typical of a legacy site.

“There is no
schematic for older parts of the system. Recently 2 core holes were drilled for
plumbing in a seemingly innocuous part of the site and in both instances we
lost a camera.”

The control room

Bringing the
system together is the centrally located control room in the SCG. Operationally,
the CCTV system is used to view scenes inside and outside the Sydney Cricket
Ground and the Sydney Football Stadium as well as viewing inside and outside
the overall site. This is particularly important on game days when there are
large crowds coming in.

As part of the upgrade
of the site this control room will be moved and it’s a testament to the present
fluid nature of the site that a specific location for the new control room is
yet to be chosen.

“This room will
be moved – the exact location is not confirmed yet but it will move soon,” van
de Ven says. “It’ll be a case of a new control room with more monitors and
monitors that are both analogue and digital.

“When we install
Sarix megapixel we will have live feeds from those cameras to dedicated
monitors. There will be some digital parts of the system but the bulk of the
system will remain hybrid.

“When we get the
new control room we’ll also upgrade the legacy matrix to a 9770,” he says. “The
trouble is we can’t shut this control room down and just move – we need to put
the new 9770 switcher into the new location and then start migrating cameras
over.”

As it stands, the
legacy control room is in its own way as historical as the SCG itself,
combining components that date back to the dawn of distributed video surveillance.
It’s all still perfectly functional but this melding of digital Endura with 1980’s
analogue gear gives a powerful impression of the challenges facing CCTV people
today. It also underscores the thinking behind the staged upgrade at the site.

Taking all this
into account it’s a providential that a key element of Endura is that it
facilitates retention of the feel of analogue installations while combining
digital and analogue together. This makes Endura perfect at the SCG. The
digital component is transparent and all parts of the hybrid system can be
seamlessly driven by analogue-style keyboards. At the same time there’s an
Endura workstation in the control room that allows all cameras to be accessed
through the matrix.

According to van
de Ven, the Endura workstation located in the control room wrangles local
cameras managed by Endura-enabled hardware devices as well as supporting Endura
cameras coming in from the Victor Trumper Stand on the other side of the
ground. These cameras jump onto fibre at a network switch in the VTS and then
take the gigabit link under the playing surface to the central network switch
in the Bradman stand which is linked to the control room.

“The Endura
workstation in the control room accesses the 101 cameras now running on Endura and
representing stage 1 of our switch to full Endura management and recording of
the site,” he says.

“Eventually we
aim to have every camera at the SCG and SFS site recorded 24×7 and accessible
through the Endura workstation, as well as coming through the analogue system
allowing fully redundant analogue monitoring at multiple workstations.

“But we will
retain a full analogue matrix solution. The cost versus the flexibility of
having an analogue matrix makes it worthwhile and this configuration means you
have 2 systems – if there’s a fault with one system you’ll still have the other,”
he says.

“When you
absolutely must have video surveillance with no chance of failure, as you must
in a site like this one, end-to-end analogue performs – and in this case the
analogue system is already installed.”

In terms of the
system’s layout in the control room, a ProCurve Switcher handles images streams
from the local Endura-enabled recorder as well as bringing in images from the
Victor Trumper Stand that have come into the main network switch in the Bradman
Stand.

“Importantly at
this point in the upgrade, with the Endura management system you can arrange
the cameras any way you want them – it’s a simple and flexible GUI,” says van
de Ven. “Important too, we can pull up cameras in the control room on the
Endura workstation or on the analogue keyboards. 

“And because an operator
can call up Endura cameras back through the matrix – they can Endura cameras without
having to go to the Endura workstation.”

van de Ven says
the control room employs an off-set key on the keyboard to switch between the
live view camera on the analogue system and the Endura to view recorded images. 

“The way this
system works is that it gives multiple operators the ability to sit here and view
live feeds in full resolution on game days at the push of a key,” he says.

“Full digital
systems can do this too but you’re talking a lot of money. In this case the
analogue system is all here and it’s capable and will expand further.”

Not surprisingly,
system storage is also hybrid. Along with some legacy VCRs, van de Ven says
there’s currently 16TB of digital storage and he says that’s about to go up to
22TB.

“Everything on
this site stored to HDD is being recorded at 4CIF and 25 frames per second, with
EnduraStore kicking in after one week except for the 5100 recorder in the
control room which is running 16 cameras – we get about 5 days from that one,” van
de Ven explains.

“The 5100 is
supporting cameras that are deployed at local entry and exit points and for covering
certain key areas around the ground. We still have some DX8000s in the control
room and as they age we will replace them with Endura 5300 recorders as well,” van
de Ven explains.

Meanwhile
Yallouris says that once the system is full expanded it is likely to
incorporate up to 500 cameras – mostly Pelco Spectra IVs but Pelco Sarix
megapixel cameras, too.

“This is an
unusual site,” he says. “It comprises 2 large sports grounds adjacent to each
other with associated facilities in the centre of Australia’s largest city. In
terms of events this is one of the busiest sporting facilities and when
completed the site’s Endura surveillance system will be the most comprehensive,
too.”

“In terms of events this is one of Australia’s
busiest sporting facilities and when completed the site’s Endura surveillance
system will be the most comprehensive, too”