It´s showtime! Improved security in the Rudolf Weber-ARENA
Bosch Energy and Building Solutions has been upgrading the life safety and security systems used in one of Germany’s largest multifunctional arenas with a combination of new and existing solutions. A management system not only keeps everything in view but also ensures intelligent operation. In case there’s a need for technical support, the Bosch team is available to provide remote service at short notice.
The Rudolf Weber-ARENA has capacity for up to 12,700 fans to enjoy events that range from world boxing championships across concerts by megastars like Sting and Helene Fischer. It draws huge audiences not only because of the varied program, but also due to its location in the middle of Germany’s densely populated Ruhr region. The arena’s large size makes it a highly attractive venue for visitors and event organizers alike.
Operating one of Germany’s biggest multifunctional event facilities involves considerable responsibility, since it’s essential to ensure the safety of both people and property. The hall’s life safety and security systems were therefore recently brought up to date, with a team of experts from Bosch Energy and Building Solutions playing a key role in the project. “The arena in Oberhausen has been our customer for many years,” says Christian Wichert, Senior Sales Manager at Bosch Energy and Building Solutions. “We’ve already implemented fire and intrusion alarm systems here, and the operators are therefore familiar with our reliability and expertise. Our work includes installing solutions while the arena is operating, since an event facility like this one can’t afford any interruptions.”
What matters to us, apart from the quoted prices, is mainly quality, good past experiences, and system integration.
State-of-the-art video surveillance and access control solutions
The first talks with Mirco Markfort, the arena’s general manager, were only about modernizing the intrusion alarm systems. But the Bosch team quickly convinced him of the advantages of installing an integrated, comprehensive solution. Now the arena’s personnel uses a video surveillance system to keep an eye on the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as on the access points to vulnerable areas. A visitor management system was also installed to control access by suppliers and other daytime guests.
“All of the systems are now interlinked and visualized on a panel. This was one of the main reasons that we opted for a video surveillance system and an access control system from Bosch,” says Wolfgang Kirschniok, who is in charge of operations at the arena. Markfort adds that “what matters to us, apart from the quoted prices, is mainly quality, good past experiences, and system integration.”
All of the life safety and security solutions are combined in a single system, which makes it possible to operate them from one workplace. Fire and voice alarm, public address, video surveillance, intrusion alarm, access control, and any third-party systems are all controlled via a user-friendly management system from Bosch. The building plan is displayed on screen with all of its levels. Each video camera can be individually clicked on to see what it’s recording. The intrusion alarm, access control, and voice alarm systems are all also visualized in the plan.
“The fact that we’ve integrated all of the security systems – both preexisting and new ones – adds enormous value for the operators,” explains Wichert. “The management system is scalable and can be extended as needed by adding more solutions as they become available, like for building automation. This makes the project a sustainable investment in the future.”
All of the systems are now interlinked and visualized on a panel.
Intelligent video technology lets operators keep everything in view
The video solution that the Bosch experts implemented monitors all areas inside and outside the multifunctional arena. A total of 33 remotely controllable IP cameras, including high-performance HD dome cameras, continuously scan the outdoor section. The 4K cameras are aimed at the points of entry to selected facilities like the main entrance, and the entrance to the suites. The areas used by the audience are also observed. “We use the most advanced video analysis methods available,” explains Wichert. “ASM Global’s representatives were able to literally ‘get a picture’ of this technology up front in our Experience Center. They were convinced by the demonstration that our video experts provided.” Many of the cameras are equipped with an intelligent video image analysis function that makes it possible to immediately spot any unusual activity. If someone leaves a backpack unattended, for example, it’s classified as a suspicious object and this information is sent straight to the control room. The security staff can then check it right away and initiate any other required steps. “Video data can also be analyzed later using a forensic search function. If the operator or the police wants to check for something, they just have to enter the appropriate keywords in the video management system. This makes it faster to locate and secure video evidence,” says Wichert.
The arena’s new video solution also excels in terms of data privacy
Data privacy naturally plays an important role when public areas are also subject to 24-hour video surveillance. To meet the relevant requirements, the solution has three different operating modes with precise definitions of when the cameras may record images of which areas. At night the cameras run without any restrictions so that complete video material can be provided to the responsible authorities in the event of an alarm. During the daytime, when arena employees, suppliers making deliveries, and tradespeople can be working in the hall, the cameras for selected areas are put into a sleep mode. In certain other defined areas, it’s also necessary to film during the daytime. Individuals’ faces can be automatically blurred by pixelation for this. Public areas outside the arena are also blacked out in this mode. In the third mode – event operation – the cameras monitor all areas of the arena and it’s possible to watch the images live via the control room. “Because events take place there, it’s allowed to suspend the face masking function within a defined radius around the arena. During this phase, visitors entering or leaving the hall within the publicly accessible zones may be filmed,” adds Wichert. The various settings available for video surveillance have also been approved by the authorities.
“It was very important for us to install this video surveillance system,” says Markfort. “Without it we were more or less flying blind inside and around the arena and therefore forced to rely entirely on reports from the security staff. Now we can do everything ourselves from the control room.”
The management system is scalable and can be extended as needed by adding more solutions as they become available, like for building automation. This makes the project a sustainable investment in the future.
New digital processes that facilitate daily operation
An advanced visitor management system was also integrated for controlling access at the backstage entrance. Suppliers making deliveries, tradespeople and so on conveniently use a tablet to announce themselves by entering their data and the reason for their visit. The control booth instantly receives the information and can issue visitor passes. This way, it’s possible to monitor who is inside the facility at any given moment. In case the building ever has to be evacuated, it can therefore be reliably determined whether all persons have left the arena. Everything is also automatically documented, which reduces the need for employees to write things down. The new access control system operates and monitors all interior and exterior doors that are relevant to security. This ensures that only authorized individuals can access certain areas. The permissions are quick and easy to modify online.
“The ability to manage all security systems without a huge effort matters to the customer,” explains Wichert. “So besides integrating the solutions from Bosch, we also make sure that those of other manufacturers can be linked to the management system via interfaces. The employees in the control center can administer everything from a single PC. That’s a real benefit.” Wolfgang Kirschniok, director of operations at the arena, adds that “reducing our employees’ workload is very important to us. The easier a system is to use, the better. For example, now when it’s time for those on the daytime shift to quit they simply switch all the cameras to nighttime mode. That’s a considerable benefit, because it’s no longer necessary to individually reprogram each and every camera.”
24/7 reachability is an indispensable service for the arena
Those responsible for the arena in Oberhausen also have confidence in Bosch as an experienced service provider for servicing and maintaining the entire solution. The service team looks after it – and not only personally on site, but also remotely for dealing with any software issues or for controlling services within the management system. “This is really important, because if any problems come up you can bet that it will probably happen outside normal working hours, because our events usually start in the late afternoon and run until late at night or take place on weekends,” explains Markfort. “We’ve therefore opted for the premium software service, which guarantees 24/7 service and two-hour response times. Although I suspect that in the years ahead we won’t have to take advantage of all that.” Wichert adds that “the ASM Global’s representatives know that they can count on getting 100%, from both our technical solutions and our team.”
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