Firetide video system to equip Korean subway

Posted on November 11, 2009

The Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation (SMRT) has selected Korea Telecom with GlobalTelecom as the subcontractor to deploy Firetide Inc.’s real-time wireless video surveillance technology in Seoul’s subway system.

After 198 people perished in the Daegu, Korea subway fire of 2003, the SMRT began investigating real-time wireless video surveillance systems to help protect their subway riders and transit workers against potential fires, accidents, thefts and other harmful incidents.

When completed in June 2010, it will be the first real-time, high-bandwidth mobile wireless video surveillance subway system in Korea and the world, costing an estimated total of $60 million.

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway, one of the most heavily used rapid transit systems in the world, is operated by four different organizations. The SMRT operates Seoul subway underground lines 5, 6, 7, and 8 with a ridership of 2,037,000 daily and involves a total of 201 subway trains at 148 stations.

After the Daegu fire, when an arsonist set fire to a car train stopped at the Jungangho station that then spread to a second train when it entered the station from the opposite direction, the SMRT wanted a system where the operators of the moving trains would have a video of the station being entered. That way the driver could decide not to enter the station in case of accidents or other problems such as a person on the track.

The ability to stream video from a station’s cameras to a monitor in a train moving at speeds of 50 mph was critical. Wireless mesh technology was the only option to transmit video to and from subway cars, as it provided seamless handoff and roaming along the fixed wireless infrastructure.

In competitive testing, Firetide was the only vendor to successfully complete the high-speed handover in the tests conducted in the subway between May and August of 2009, according to company officials. The subway environment is particularly harsh for RF communications because of the reflective metal surfaces, noise and vibrations, and high voltage electric power.

In addition to providing video surveillance from the station to train operators, the network will also provide video surveillance from inside of passenger trains to a monitoring center and video streaming of public announcements and commercial advertisements onto passenger train monitors.


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