Until now, it seemed that the only logical way to successfully guarantee full coverage of large open spaces with visibility challenges was to set up large systems consisting of as many cameras as possible. Unfortunately, in most cases it was found that such an approach can be prohibitively expensive. At the same time, it was often simply not technically possible to create satisfactory solutions. "This was why in the past at least 30-40% of such projects were not even attempted", says Dieter Dallmeier, founder and CEO of the German video manufacturer Dallmeier – a leading name in the industry worldwide for over 30 years now.
The technical capabilities of the Panomera technology and its supporting system components initiate a ground-breaking shift in crime prevention. The multifocal sensor system Panomera was specially developed for the all-encompassing video surveillance of expansive areas. With Panomera, huge widths, as well as areas with large distances can be displayed with a completely new resolution quality, in real time and at high frame rates of up to 30 fps. With Panomera, a huge area can be surveyed from a single location, and depending on the requirements of observation assignments, the resolution can be scaled nearly limitlessly. Hence, one Panomera, equipped with eight sensors, according to Dallmeier, is fully sufficient to replace 35 standard megapixel cameras.
The events of New Year's Eve 2015 in Cologne are seared into the memories of the entire population of the city. In the wake of countless incidents, including numerous cases of sexual harassment of women, Police recognised the need to revise their existing security concept, particularly with regard to securing large public spaces. A high number of criminal offences had been committed around Cologne Cathedral, and therefore this areas if the inner city was selected as the basis for planning new security measures. In spring 2016, the first concepts were presented to the city administration. Their main focus was on how the situational overview for police and therefore the delegation of police and other emergency personnel could be improved through the use of video systems, especially in case of large gatherings. Even in those early stages of planning, the responsible officials encountered a massive problem: with the use of conventional video technology it would not have been possible to fully capture the required 8.800 m2 monitoring area. Additionally, there was no camera technology available which would have provided the resolution or pixel density required across the whole area for use in police investigations. Lastly, officials also realised that a conventional camera system with numerous individual cameras would have resulted in a flood of data and images, which would significantly hamper a proactive monitoring and quick reactions by the officers working in the control room.
The project was awarded to the Regensburg-based manufacturer, and installation work for the Panomera system began in mid-December 2016. Instead of a system with numerous spread out cameras, which would have meant a complicated set-up as well as high infrastructure and maintenance costs, Dallmeier deployed a system that covers the entire monitoring area, yet remains discreet. The Panomera solution required only two installation points. Hence, setting up the system was easy and the city will benefit significantly financially from much lower infrastructure and maintenance costs compared to the original planning.
The protection of personal data is governed by extremely stringent laws in Germany. And police in Cologne are entirely and deeply aware of their responsibilities when dealing with video data. Dallmeier has put in place a range of technical measures which will ensure that the data recorded with video cameras satisfies the strict requirements and regulations by which data privacy is protected.