Everton Football Club Installs Panomera – Interview with Stadium Manager Alan Bowen
The Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, England, has modernised its video security system with the patented multifocal sensor system Panomera® from Dallmeier. Stadium Manager Alan Bowen was ready for an interview.
Opened in 1892, the Goodison Park in Liverpool was the first major football stadium built in England. “The Grand Old Lady”, as the stadium is also called, is the first British stadium with double-decker stands on all four sides and the first stadium with a massive three-tiered Main Stand. Home to the Everton F.C., the current seating capacity of the ground is more than 40,000.
The stadium has repeatedly been named as the most advanced stadium in Britain. This is affirmed again, as the stadium now has one of the most innovative video security systems in the UK: The patented multifocal sensor system Panomera® is at the heart of the new Dallmeier CCTV system. We spoke to Alan Bowen, Stadium Manager at Goodison Park, about the advantages of this new technology.
Alan, why did you opt for a modernisation of the existing CCTV system?
Due to the age of the infrastructure in place since the late 1980’s, and change in spectators’ behaviour, we at Everton concluded that a complete modernisation of the CCTV system was necessary.
The original system was installed at a time when Hooliganism was at its highest peak in UK football. The CCTV system worked at the time and was a major factor in allowing ourselves and the police to deal with the problem. However, although the levels of Hooliganism have greatly diminished now in UK football, other issues such as missile throwing, lighting of flares etc., have become the norm rather than the exception.
The existing CCTV system was not effective in giving us the detailed information on both live and playback, of image quality and frame rate that we required to cope with these new issues. I would state at this point quality of the recordings is as important as the quality of the live images for us, along with easy use of the front end GUI, and the ability to quickly and easily retrieve and burn off images for both Club and Police to identify the offenders and indeed clarify situations around incidents. We now required a system that was designed to give complete coverage of seating areas in the Stadium Bowl which also would give us the above.
In the 2011-2012 home Derby against Liverpool we did have missile throwing incidents which the existing CCTV system could not capture. We at that stage had to make a commitment to the Premier League that we would without delay start to source the CCTV system that would ultimately be able to give us both the live and playback images required to cope with incidents such as this.
What were the main reasons for choosing Dallmeier?
We first met Dallmeier at a FSOA (Football Safety Officers Association) conference where they were exhibiting, at that time, with their new Panomera multifocal sensor system.
We invited Dallmeier to come along to Goodison Park to do a live match trial with their system. We also invited four other manufactures during our selection process, who claimed they could provide a CCTV solution to meet our requirements for separate live match trials.
We also visited other stadiums where HD quality systems were installed and travelled to specific manufacturers’ development and manufacturing facilities, in our search for the best quality system to meet our exact requirements, and if possible better them.
Throughout the selection process, Dallmeier time and again demonstrated the best quality images, live and recorded, be they in a normal daylight scenario, or in our second live trial application, by observing the rear of the seating areas through our low level floodlighting.
What was the biggest challenge in this project? What is special in this project compared to other video surveillance solutions?
The biggest challenge was convincing the board of directors of the operational requirement of the system required to meet our exact needs. Goodison Park was the first major football stadium built in England. Its age and history and layout are what make it a very special and challenging project. That coupled along with the way our floodlights are installed on the stand roofs have so far and will continue to make this a very special project.
Can you give us an overview of the installed video surveillance solution?
The Panomera solution offered at Everton includes several multifocal sensor systems which provide a quality up to 85 megapixels each at a frame rate of 12 images per second.
The images can be streamed to multiple operators enabling them to work independently with detailed “spot” views. The whole scene is being recorded irrelevant of where the operators are looking, enabling retrospective playback into any area after an event. Recorded footage can be viewed instantly and simultaneously to live views on match days or reviewed subsequent to the event.
In addition to the Panomera multifocal sensor systems the solution includes High Definition Dallmeier PTZ cameras located in strategic positions around the ground to provide live images in exceptional quality. There are also fixed HD dome cameras located in licensing areas within the ground.
The control room includes two SeMSy operator positions. Additional operator positions have been included for the Security Manager and Police – enabling them to independently view cameras and replay incidents on demand. A SeMSy workstation is also provided for the Stadium Manager’s office enabling me to view and investigate incidents.
All images are recorded on IPS 2400 appliances. These units provide not only recording for 40x Match day 5 hour events of the multifocal sensor systems, but also 31 day loop storage for the general surveillance cameras.
What do you expect from the new surveillance system?
We are very confident that the complete solution inclusive of the Panomera multifocal sensor system being supplied by Dallmeier and fitted by our existing incumbent installer, TG Baker Sound Ltd, is the best we could find in the market at this time.
The product gives us the maximum opportunity to identify those committing offences inside the stadium and will greatly assist in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour inside Goodison Park.