Integrator develops video monitoring system for mass transit

Minuteman Security Technologies takes its
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ANDOVER, Mass.—Minuteman Security Technologies is getting into product manufacturing with the introduction of TransitSentry, a mobile IP video surveillance and security monitoring system designed specifically for mass transit vehicles.

The integrator developed TransitSentry over the course of the past two years while it was working on a $7 million mobile video surveillance project for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

“The product came out of that contract but it was not part of that contract. We quickly discovered that there’s a need for this type of real-time live video and health monitoring capability [for other transportation entities],” Minuteman CEO Joseph Lynch told Security Systems News.

Minuteman and Genetec in October launched the product at the American Public Transportation Association conference. “Transportation agencies from around the country expressed interest in TransitSentry,” Lynch said.

The product works with Genetec’s Omnicast VMS and Panasonic IP-based wide dynamic range cameras, although Lynch said that Minuteman is exploring integrating the system with other IP cameras as well.

Buses are equipped with an NVR, a video screen and cameras inside and out. Using TransitSentry, transportation officials and law enforcement can remotely access real time video; the health data of the cameras, network and other devices; GPS data and vehicle speed information using a web browser.

Information from the buses can be accessed remotely from any browser on a computer or mobile devices. “It uses the latest HTML5 browser Java server-push technology, the leading edge browser interface just out in the past 12 months,” he said.

Those accessing the information may be “service technicians who support the vehicle, operations people, security or police,” Lynch explained.

Additionally, “the end user can run any browser in their command center,” he said.

Asked about the bandwidth constraints and video quality, Lynch said “using 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, the right camera and the right compression enable [good video quality].”  He acknowledged that the light conditions inside and outside a moving vehicle can be particularly challenging, but he said Panasonic’s wide dynamic range cameras work well under those conditions.

Another feature of TransitSentry is scanning software for use in a mobile data terminal in police cars. The software enables police to stream video from buses and also to get other information about the location of the fleet.

Research company TechNavio recently predicted that the global market for mass transit security will grow by 76 percent from 2013 to 2018. In North America, TechNavio projects the mass transit security market to be worth $5 billion by 2018. The company believes that railroads will be a key growth area. 

Lynch said that TransitSentry is well suited to railroad applications. “It is completely rail compliant,” he said, meeting all of shock resistance, temperature, mechanical design and environmental design requirements for railroad trains.