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Sony cameras keep Barcelona’s metro video security on track

A total of 2,700 Sony network security cameras watch over passengers’ safety for Catalonia’s biggest transport operator.

Public transit operator Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) runs one of Europe’s most technologically advanced and accessible metro systems that comprises nine lines and 150 stations. TMB’s metro and local bus lines carry over 550 million citizens, commuters and travellers annually across the Catalan capital and surrounding areas, making safety and operational efficiency high priority topics.

In recent years, TMB elected to update its analogue infrastructure, replacing older cameras and extending coverage to create a metro-wide IP video surveillance system.

The reliability of Sony cameras has made them an optimal choice for the recent upgrade to monitor train tracks, station platforms and other public areas where 24/7 performance is needed. As well as round-the-clock reliability, Sony cameras provide HD image resolution, which was another key requirement for the project. Support for open protocols, including the widely used ONVIF standard, simplifies integration with other security and monitoring systems.

By standardising on a small number of camera models, TMB has further benefited from simplified maintenance and reduced operating costs. To date, TMB has installed a total of 2,700 Sony IP network cameras across its transportation network with more than 700 of them being Sony SNC-EB630 box-type models.

A custom housing protects the cameras from dust, dirt and physical tampering while allowing easy cleaning of the front lens window. The SNC-EB630 offers Full HD image quality with wide dynamic range, even in dim or harshly-lit environments. Built-in image stabilisation assures crisp images, even when the camera is being shaken by mechanical vibration from nearby trains.

The SNC-EB630 also performs well in station areas where harsh fluorescent lighting can be strongly reflected by platform surfaces, making identification of people and objects difficult. Here, Sony’s View-DR technology boosts the cameras’ dynamic range to accommodate a wide range of light levels in the same scene.

The cameras’ widespread presence serves as an effective visual deterrent, and as a useful tool to clearly identify and resolve incidents involving passengers and staff. What’s more, picture quality and sensitivity are major assets when monitoring the movement of passengers in congested station areas, or directing station staff and first-responders to help passengers requiring assistance in the event of accidents or personal injury.

“Apart from superb picture quality, a key factor for us in choosing Sony cameras is their dependability,” said Victor Ribera, responsible of telecommunication systems in the technology area at Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona: “Remote surveillance is extremely important for us. We have evolved from a complete decentralised surveillance system started at our garages and workshops to a fully centralised system – based on security control centres for the operation and management of all security cameras. Image quality has improved exponentially in a short time. Together with the functions incorporated into the cameras themselves, this has resulted in an increase in the security offered to our passengers.”