Video Syncs with Giant EV Charging Park

A German train station has installed smart video analytics to protect the largest Electric Vehicle (EV) charging car park in the world. Merklingen train station, between the cities of
Stuttgart and Ulm, boasts an impressive 259 charging points powered by locally generated solar power to charge vehicles. It was inaugurated in December 2022.

Merklingen station is even protected at night time by Hanwha Vision’s intuitive VMS
© Hanwha Vision Ltd

The new train station serves 1,000 to 1,300 passengers daily. It has benefitted local hospitality, retail and tourism since it opened with the state Ministry of Transport calculating that it will eventually generate an annual economic benefit of €4.8 million for the region.

As a transport hub for the local municipality of Merklingen, it is vital that visitors feel safe and operations run smoothly. Because of this, the management team of the Zweckverband Schwäbische Alb (ZSA) contacted Reif GmbH looking for a new, intuitive video system that was futureproofed and could support the management of the station’s innovative EV charging park.

Existing systems on the market did not meet the customer’s requirements, specifically National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliance which was important from a GDPR perspective. NDAA compliance confirms systems are fit for use with US military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring troops have the training, equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions. The ZSA team also wanted an easy-to-use video management system (VMS) to help daily operations and with investigation of any incidents.

VMS Linked with Parking Management

Hanwha Vision was chosen thanks to its intuitive Wave VMS, NDAA compliance, open platform and camera features. As a Diamond Partner, Reif GmbH was also able to offer a 5-year warranty on the Hanwha Vision cameras.

The VMS links with the in-house parking system to automate parking management
The VMS links with the in-house parking system to automate parking management
© Hanwha Vision Ltd

In total, 37 cameras are installed around the station’s car park along with Wave VMS enabling continuous monitoring of the building and surrounding locations. The cameras include the QNO-8080R, a 5MP Network IR Bullet Camera, a TID-600R Intercom and the XNO-9082R, a 4K IR Bullet Camera with the Wisenet7 chipset and powerful video analytics including directional detection, audio detection, shock detection and face/upper body detection. Maintenance staff can access the on-site server in the event of an emergency or malfunction due to the Wave VMS, with remote access through Wave Mobile.

Andreas Baumann, Managing Director at Reif GmbH, said: “The performance and quality of Hanwha Vision cameras, along with the open Wave VMS that works with the in-house AI parking management system, made it the logical choice for the Merklingen station project.”

Advanced Video Analytics Promote Safety

Advanced video analytics to improve the passenger experience and safety across the rail network is increasingly accessible thanks to a wide range of cameras that support analytics, such as loitering detection, audio detection of shouting, screams and broken glass, motion detection and more.

Such analytics can alert operators to potential trespassing in restricted areas such as control rooms or level crossings. Shouting or screaming can alert to an unwell passenger, someone fallen on the tracks or another emergency.

Some cameras can detect crowd formation to help station security proactively deter anti-social behavior, while occupancy monitoring can also be used to manage queues and waiting room occupancy. Integration with access control, bodycam devices, digital signage and equipment monitors can further expand the alerts and automation supporting the control room.

Benefits of an Open System

Hanwha Vision’s open platform offered the flexibility and futureproofing needed by the operator team, notably in supporting an integration with a custom in-house AI parking control system that was developed in partnership with a regional software company. This system automates parking management removing the need for personnel to issue access, exit and parking fees for the station car park. The open platform also supports future expansion of the station video surveillance if needed, or additional features and uses.

37 cameras protect the largest EV charging car park in the world
37 cameras protect the largest EV charging car park in the world
© Hanwha Vision Ltd

Crucial Evidence and Insights

The cameras work with the in-house parking management system to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the premises. They have also captured footage that was later used to investigate damage to property, helping operators to resolve such cases clearly and effectively with the video evidence.

The XNO-9082R shows excellent performance in different lighting conditions thanks to Wisenet7, delivering clear images back to operators to help with situational awareness day and night. IK10 water and vandal protection was another selling point for the station team, as the cameras are all situated outdoors.

Installing cameras with advanced video analytics can create new efficiencies and a better visitor experience, extending the value of surveillance beyond traditional security applications. For instance, barriers can be automatically raised for pre-authorized vehicles based on license plate recognition, or drivers can be directed to vacant parking bays with integration between cameras and sensors monitoring the bays and digital signage for directions.

Fees can also be automatically issued when a vehicle is detected leaving a car park. Automating some aspects of parking management frees up operator time to work on other tasks, improving team efficiency and reducing time-consuming, repetitive work.

Meeting GDPR Requirements

Hanwha Vision cameras are NDAA compliant, meeting the GDPR requirements for the station. No productive data is passed on to external third parties and the system can be operated completely on-site to meet data protection regulations. Only explicitly authorized individuals can view data.

Critical infrastructure, such as the rail network, is vital to keeping countries running smoothly and, as such, can be an obvious target for malicious actors that want to cause disruption. A high level of cybersecurity is paramount to safeguarding against attacks and video surveillance must not be a weak link in cyber-defenses. Insecure video cameras can be hacked, along with other connected devices, to access the valuable data collected by them, or as a gateway to a larger attack. Partnering with a manufacturer that puts cybersecurity and data privacy at the core of every product will give operators and passengers peace of mind that the video system in use is as secure as possible.

GDPR compliance is another consideration, as is NDAA. Looking for compliance with such requirements can be a clear confidence signal that a manufacturer is taking cybersecurity seriously. Other ‘trust marks’ include having dedicated resources, such as a cybersecurity team, to keep updated with the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and a commitment to sharing best practises and knowledge with the wider industry and customers.

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