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Bosch Energy and Building Solutions Global
Artificial intelligence at an equestrian center

A state-of-the-art security solution for protecting people, horses, and buildings

The Gut Abtshof equestrian center in Mönchengladbach, Germany near the Dutch border exceeds all previous expectations in terms of fire and intrusion protection for stalls. It is now working with Bosch to install a networked video solution with intelligent early fire detection by IP cameras. The center’s proprietor and the owners of the horses accommodated there are delighted with the results!

Reitplatz und Stallgebäude in der Sonne

The Gut Abtshof equestrian center is a dream come true – for horses and their owners, and also for Sarah Valder-Schedl and her husband Harald L. Schedl. This couple has worked with the proprietor, Helmut Nolden, to transform the tradition-steeped estate in Mönchengladbach into what is very likely the region’s most advanced and secure equestrian facility. It includes two large riding halls, a dressage arena and two outdoor jumping arenas, exercising and lunging halls, several outdoor sand paddocks adjoining 7.5 hectares of meadows and pastureland, and a restaurant with a terrace. The historic estate, the first documented mention of which dates back to the year 1292, also contains a former manor house where the abbots of the Benedictine abbey in Gladbach lived until the early 19th century. Today more than 60 horses are tended there. State-of-the-art technology safeguards the animals, people, and facilities. A networked video solution spanning four cameras combines intrusion and perimeter protection all the way around the building, with intelligent early fire detection in the stall lanes. Even live streaming capabilities for riding tournaments are included.

“If your ambition is to be one of the leading equestrian centers, it’s simply a must to have a video solution for monitoring the outdoor area, tack rooms, stall lanes, and riding halls,” explains Sarah Valder-Schedl. “I’m especially proud of the early fire detection system for the stall lanes, which is a real USP.” She’s convinced that an effective security concept has to do more than provide protection when riding and tending the horses.

Carsten Wegmann von Bosch Energy and Building Solutions, Portrait

In my mind, a video solution for early fire detection in the stall lanes is a must if your ambition is to be one of the leading equestrian facilities.

Carsten Wegmann, Assembly group leader Bosch Energy and Building Solutions

Intelligent early detection of flames and smoke make the impossible possible

Together with the experts of Bosch Energy and Building Solutions, the operators have succeeded in achieving something that used to be considered impossible: to comprehensively protect the stalls from fire. “It mattered to me that my contact at Bosch immediately understood exactly what my wife and I wanted. He listened carefully to us and then translated our wishes and requirements into solutions. This has created trust,” says Harald L. Schedl. The answer has been enabled by artificial intelligence residing in the Aviotec video cameras. “A conventional fire alarm system or light barrier quickly encounters its limits in a stall,” explains Carsten Wegmann, who heads the Lower Rhine installation group at Bosch Energy and Building Solutions and was the technical supervisor for this project. “A lot of dust is stirred up when spreading straw or wood shavings or feeding horses. The commonly used technologies are prone to false alarms in this situation. We take a different approach by installing Aviotec video cameras high enough to minimize their exposure to dust. Despite the height, they reliably detect incipient fires. We’ve used artificial intelligence to train the cameras to distinguish fire and smoke from stirred-up dust.”

The IP cameras with integrated video analysis capabilities detect flames and smoke right at their source. This makes it possible to quickly spot fires. The importance of this technological advance is illustrated by the fact that fires break out in German animal stalls an estimated 5000 times a year, according to the Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV). The conditions in stalls – with a combination of straw, wood and fresh air – are ideal for propagating flames.

Blick auf den Eingang des Abtshof
“The facility is over seven hectares in size and I am amazed at how far the cameras can see into the facility”
Harald L. Schedl

IP cameras with integrated video analysis thwart intruders

An Aviotec camera with video-based early fire detection capabilities was installed in each of the eight stall lanes at the equestrian center in Mönchengladbach. In addition to identifying smoke and flames, outside normal operating hours the cameras also monitor the doors to the stalls and the tack rooms in which riding gear and other equipment is kept. “The Aviotec cameras detect fire and smoke around the clock, and at night we also activate their integrated burglar alarm function,” explains Wegmann. If a camera detects a suspicious movement, it sends its images to the Bosch control center in Magdeburg. They are immediately checked to see if there has been a break-in or the alarm was triggered by something else. If unauthorized persons are present in the stall lanes, for example, the police is notified.

To supplement the protection provided by the Aviotec cameras, other video technology has also been installed in the tack rooms, such as panoramic cameras and cameras with a night vision mode for monitoring the insides and outsides of the tack rooms, riding halls, and outdoor areas. If unauthorized persons are present on the premises outside normal operating hours, the cameras will detect their movements. “The facility spans over seven hectares, and I’m amazed at how far the cameras can see,” says Harald L. Schedl. The intelligent video solution from Bosch also provides other useful services to the facility operators. For example, personnel of the attached restaurant can see when a table has freed up on the terrace. During tournaments, a mobile camera with 4K resolution can transmit a live stream of the action in the external riding arena to the restaurant or a password-protected page of the Gut Abtshof website.

All of the information comes together in a central video management system that Harald L. Schedl and the head of the service team can operate using an intuitive app installed on a mobile device or PC. All of the camera signals are routed to a remote portal with a stored interactive site plan that even makes it possible to see movements. Depending on the authorization levels assigned to Harald L. Schedl and members of his team, they can directly access the video streams coming from those cameras. It’s also possible for Bosch to remotely update the firmware or perform maintenance via a remote portal linked to the Bosch cloud. This is good for the environment, since it lets the technicians reduce the distances that they travel by car.

  • Abtshof, Reitanlage aus der Ferne
  • Historisches gelbes Gebäude des Abtshofs, Außenansicht

A strong security concept based on appreciation of the animals and their owners

“We now offer a maximum level of security,” says Sarah Valder-Schedl. “I’ve trained several horses here myself, and we go out of our way to ensure their wellbeing and that of our customers’ animals. We’ve introduced modern standards of horse keeping with things like larger stalls, an ebb and flow system for the dressage and jumping arenas, and rubber pavers in the new paddocks. And we also have high standards in terms of security. The horses’ owners have responded really positively to all of these things. They correctly see our initiative as expressing appreciation for their animals.”

And the possibilities are still far from being exhausted. Why not automatically indicate parking spaces that have just freed up, or use intelligent insights to monitor how heavily the riding arena and hall are being used? “All it takes to indicate capacity is an appropriate software add-on”, says Carsten Wegmann, who is continuing to advise and support these customers. This case wonderfully illustrates how protection from break-ins and fire can be combined with increased convenience and comfort for the customers at Gut Abtshof – while setting new standards for the future at the same time.