The Cheltenham Festival takes place every March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, and usually attracts well over 200,000 people. The festival runs four days and has grown into the biggest meeting in the National Hunt calendar.
It usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day, and is particularly popular with Irish visitors. There’s a whole lot of betting going on, and more than a pint or two of Guinness enjoyed!
HOW THE PROJECT ~ AND TECHNOLOGY ~ EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS
For its video surveillance system, Cheltenham once again turned to Mobile CCTV Ltd, a company formed in January, 2000 by Don Wetherell with the sole purpose of assembling multi-agency control rooms at sporting and leisure events around the United Kingdom. There was a huge need for this because, prior to 2000, multi-agency control rooms were rare and the Police, Fire, Security, Traffic, Medics and other agencies weren’t usually sharing information. Rather, they typically worked independently in their own little “Control Rooms,” making it considerably difficult to effectively manage incidents.
Mobile CCTV had installed miles of copper cable at Cheltenham years ago for the transmission of video all around the site for a temporary CCTV system housed in a multi-agency control room. It worked well running on copper but, in 2013, the racecourse began a multi-million dollar renovation. It included having to strip out all of the copper cable from the ducts as they were being re-routed and decommissioned and changed. There wasn’t time to install new cables for the 2014 Cheltenham Festival and Mobile CCTV had to look at installing a temporary wireless CCTV system.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS & IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH WI-FI?
After researching the options for a few months, Mobile CCTV chose to purchase the Fluidmesh system with Pelco 1080P IP Spectra Dome Cameras. “We spent some time getting used to the equipment on the bench some time before the event,” Wetherell explains. “We spent time with Fluidmesh and they gave us great insights into how to get the best of it.”
Ironically, when Mobile CCTV went on site to install their new Fluidmesh system and flashy new MegaPixel cameras, they found out that the racecourse had saturated the racecourse with Wi-Fi for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) customers to make bets on races. “When we said we were using wireless transmission, we were quickly told ‘Good luck!’,” Wetherell adds. “We installed the wireless network, cameras, monitors, installed our new Network Video Recorder (Pelco) and crossed our fingers….then we fired it all up.”
OFF TO THE RACES
“We had one camera outside the control room on a network cable down to the server and eight other cameras in the Fluidmesh wireless system,” Wetherell reports. “You could not tell the difference between the wired and wireless cameras. The results were amazing and the Police could not believe how clear the wireless cameras were against the wired camera.