Mobotix: protecting international ports and cargo with audio and video features

05.09.2012 - Mobotix: protecting international ports and cargo with audio and video features. Panama Ports Company (PPC) is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings, which operates 255 berths i...

Mobotix: protecting international ports and cargo with audio and video features. Panama Ports Company (PPC) is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings, which operates 255 berths in 44 ports across the world. The company operates two ports in Panama 24 hours a day, all year round. Port of Balboa Container is located at the end of the Panama Canal over the Pacific Ocean. Port of Cristobal Container is located at the end of the Panama Canal over the Atlantic Ocean. Mobotix has installed a CCTV system for both ports.

PPC is today one of the most important and successful members of Hutchison Port Holdings. It provides links and strategic access for the transatlantic and transpacific traders to the east and west coast of the Americas. As such, it has very high security concerns regarding protection of its ports and cargo. Working with local integrator Multitek, specialized in system level integration, the company was able to find the right system to upgrade its video surveillance cameras.

Specifically, it sought improvement in the following areas: Overall HiRes image quality, low maintenance system able to withstand the weather conditions of an ocean environment and the ability to survey wider areas in greater detail with each individual camera. Mobotix could provide the system to meet their high performance requirements in terms of high resolution, integrated intelligence cost efficient recording, analytical software and extremely robust design – to better protect their ports, employees, and cargo. There were three main areas of concern: theft and injury prevention as well as protection from acts of terrorism.

Installation at 300 Feet

During the initial phase 54 IP cameras were installed, typically at 300 feet (90 m), with two cameras on each crane. The cameras are aimed at entrances and remote perimeter areas where manual surveillance would have been very labor intensive. The multiple configurations with the network camera, including single or dual lens, wide-angle or telephoto, day or low-light provide the flexibility to deploy the same basic camera type into a wide range of specific viewing requirements with varying lighting conditions.

The video footage from the Mobotix IP cameras is recorded on a server. Live video as well as recorded clips can be viewed on any authorized computer in the port facility.

Image Quality

One of the things that impressed PPC most was the exceptional image quality of the cameras. “We were used to the grainy, blurry images of the original surveillance system,” said Michael Hernandez, CIO of PPC. “When we first saw Mobotix camera images, they were so clear it was like watching a DVD. That sort of quality has become an absolute necessity in our industry.”

The reason for that clarity is that the CCTV specialist provides intelligent IP (digital) video systems with integrated image processing software, not the standard analog CCTV. The megapixel camera system can display and record up to 30 times more resolution than the standard systems.

Weather Conditions

PPC has particular concerns related to the weather conditions of a tropical coastal environment: salty air, frequent wind-driven rain, intense heat and humidity. The cameras are built to withstand extreme environmental conditions: from -30 to +60 °C (-22 to +140 °F). The fiberglass-reinforced and shock-resistant cameras protect the network cable and connections against vandalism as well as severe weather conditions. There is no worry in this case about deterioration due to salt air, camera lenses fogging up, or the system getting rain or heat damaged.

The fact that the cameras have both audio and video features is a big advantage for PPC. “We don’t just need to see what’s going on, we need to hear it as well,” said Michael Hernandez. “Our overall security and safety is dependent on having both those features.”

The cameras can also trigger audio alarms that warn individuals to stay away from secure or dangerous areas. The audio feature also allows PPC to communicate directly with an employee, if they are spotted in danger.

Ability to Survey Large Areas

The dual lens feature of the cameras serves PPC’s need to cover very large areas. It is essentially like having two HiRes mega pixel cameras for the price of one with the added advantage of being able to see a much wider area. In addition, Mobotix is able to do this with no moving parts. Higher quality images, along with the ability to see more with one camera have crucial advantages for PPC. It helps lower the risks of theft, vandalism, and injury.

The ability to preprogram both video and audio alerts is another aid in this process. Because the cameras provide up to 30 times more detail than the average camera, one camera can monitor multiple targets and thereby reduce the total number of cameras required. Intelligent, direct storage management reduces the number of digital video recorders needed and the overall cost of storage by a ratio of 10 to 1.

For PPC, this means not only a much higher level of safety and security, but the reduction in the number of cameras required combined with reduced storage requirements and the fact that the systems need no additional software and are license free also add up to a substantial overall cost savings to PPC.

PPC begun the installation with 54 cameras. Due to its high level of satisfaction with the cameras, Hutchinson Port Holdings intend to install an additional 400 cameras over the next few months.

Security, Hall 1, Stand 408


Mobotix AG,
Kaiserslautern, Germany
Tel.: +49 631 3033 103
Fax: +49 631 3033 190