Plopsaland De Panne invests
in a new camera observation system
About Plopsaland De Panne
The magic of Studio 100-characters combined with the fun of many top attractions
Plopsaland De Panne in Belgium is part of the Plopsa Group. Plopsa Group currently has 6 spectacular theme parks in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The name Plopsa is a fusion of the names of the first two characters of Studio 100: Plop and Samson.
Plopsaland De Panne is the first theme park to be exploited by Plopsa Group. The Plopsa parks are based upon the popular TV characters of Studio 100. They each have their own theme area within the parks. The attractions, decorations and music in this part of the park is styled in the chosen theme.
We spoke with Jochen Andries, ICT manager Plopsa Group and his colleague Dimitri Vanthournout. Together they are responsible for all ICT related projects of the 6 parks; from the cash register systems to the camera observation. A dynamic job that brings along many challenges.
Renewal of the existing CCTV system
In times when the world is overwhelmed by the fear of terror attacks, managing board and park management of Plopsaland De Panne consulted the Brussels federal police. They spoke to the division that specifically deals with terror threats.
Together with this special division, an overview of requirements has been drawn up. So as a result, Plopsaland De Panne can respond even better to the changing world in which threats are increasingly appearing. It was very important that the visitors and employees of the park could be observed better. The most important advice was to invest in a new and high quality camera-observation system with the possibility of storing the images.
Before the camera-observation system was used to check out crowded points in the park and react to that. The new observation system should be used in a much more extensive and different way. The additional requirements quickly became clear: user-friendly, easy mobile viewing, sharp images, fast streaming, continuous recording and a better and clearer overview of the park.
The integration of the IDIS camera observation system
With the importance of ensuring the safety of its visitors and employees in mind, Plopsaland has almost immediately created a budget for a new CCTV system. IT manager Jochen Andries was asked to familiarize himself with systems that would meet all requirements.
At the day of this meeting, Jochen was also called by Filip van Quickenborne, commercial technical advisor at IDIS Belgium. An appointment was immediately scheduled and the requirements were presented. One of the first questions posed by Jochen to Filip was:
“Can the system also be viewed mobile?” And if so, “Let me see”.
Filip immediately showed him on his mobile how the IDIS mobile app worked. Jochen was impressed by this. The fact that Filip could show the mobile system so quickly and easily was very convincing for Jochen.
Jochen determined the new camera positions using the park plan. Taking a walk through the park, the IDIS advisor quickly realized that not all cameras were the best choice of use in the specific locations. So on the advice of IDIS minor changes were made in the plan to get to the perfect solution. Thinking and working together on a technical level, offering a total solution with quality products and offering a very competitive price made Plopsaland decide to choose IDIS.
An affordable, high quality and user-friendly system
Despite the fact that IDIS was an unknown brand to Jochen Andries, he soon realized that it did offer the quality that Plopsaland needed. Quality that was also affordable!
“IDIS advisor Filip really knew what he was talking about. It’s nice to talk to someone who also knows the technical side of the product and who can answer my technical, often ICT-related questions. I quickly realized that IDIS was a high quality brand,”, as Jochen Andries tells enthusiatic.
“We are very loyal to our suppliers. We like to have strong, long term relationships to create a good back-up. Good service, good cooperation, good advice and good products are things that we find very important. I can call IDIS even in the weekends or in the evening hours, that is no problem! That is cooperation in the best possible way,” tells Jochen.
The installation of the camera observation system
Good preparation and tailored advice offers amazing results
The total process, from the day that there was a consultation with the Brussels Federal Police up to the final installation and commissioning of the system, took a total of six months.
The technical department of Plopsaland De Panne installed the new observation system consisting of some 60 cameras (360˚ fisheye, bullet, box and dome cameras) linked to a 64- and a 32-channel recorder (NVR). In December 2016, the system almost immediately ran smoothly, without any problems. Now, about a year later, the results are amazing, the images are super clear, there is continuous recording and the speed of the system, even during the retrieval of images during live streaming is perfect.
Recently has been decided that the cameras will be installed almost invisible from now on, with each new attraction the camera will be painted in the same color as the background so that it will blend in. In Wickieland this has already been done, you have to look really carefully to see the cameras.
“At the moment full coverage in the park is almost realized, there are still a number of ‘blind spots’, but these will soon be filled in. Plopsaland De Panne is the first park of the Plopsa Group where the IDIS system is installed. There is a big chance that parks like Plopsa Coo and Plopsa Holiday Park in Germany will follow soon,” says Andries Jochen.
The CCTV systeem in full use
Incidents are mapped, police receive training and extra service is offered to visitors
Incidents better mapped
Cameras are installed in the park, the shops and also in the various personal areas. For example, they observe the personnel lockers. Within 1 hour after commissioning the system, there was a ‘caught on camera moment’ in the personal area. And within 2 days a pickpocketing gang was arrested in the park. The camera surveillance images were handed over to the police and due to the clear images the police could take care of it quickly and very effectively.
Even cameras that are installed at great distances from squares, streets or attractions still provide super sharp images. Faces and actions can be viewed clearly. The images of incidents will be secured by IT manager Jochen Andries by selecting them and storing them in a separate folder on the computer. Incidents are thus better mapped.
Police also enthusiastic about IDIS CCTV system
The local police have also been trained how to act when something should go wrong in the park. They have learned about the lay-out of the park but also about the way the camera system works. The police were so enthusiastic about the system that even the criminal investigation department has already come to see how well the system works!
The system is fast, the images are incredibly clear and the continuous live stream works perfectly. The mobile application offers many benefits, especially when the option for push messages is set. This enables quick switching even when the responsible person is not present in the park. This continuous control offers real peace of mind.
Extra service for visitors in case of an event or theft
The clear camera observation images also offer a lot of benefits for the visitors. When they visit an attraction and notice that their bag(s) has been removed from the buggy or the entire buggy is gone, they report this to the ‘park manager on duty’. Subsequently, the report is passed on to Jochen or Dimitri and they quickly search for the images, secure them and inform the visitor about what the images show. The ‘park manager on duty’ explains to the visitor how they should act.
The camera observation images are not provided to the visitors but to the police. So when reporting, the police can request the images from Plopsaland De Panne and they will transfer the requested files. In the first six months, about 100 incidents have occured whereby the camera observation images provided more clearity.
Online live-stream ‘Wielerdriedaagse De Panne – Koksijde’
The camera observation system is used for security purposes but also for fun things whenever possible! For example, every year at the end of March ‘Wielerdriedaagse De Panne – Koksijde’ is organized. This race starts at the entrance of Plopsaland, De Panne. This year the camera images from the start were live streamed online via the IDIS system, so that everyone could experience the start of this big event in real time.
The advantages of the speed and user-friendliness of the system
When we ask what the main advantage of the system is, Jochen responds laughing:
“”When I received a report before, I always first picked up a can of cola and then I started searching for the images. This often took up to 1.5 hours, the time in which I had already finished my can of cola.
Now, with the new system, I still habitually pick up a can of cola, but before I have opened it, I have already found the images. It only takes a minute now. That’s so nice! It saves so much time. Only the relaxing part of drinking a coke is no longer part of the proces.”
Plopsaland De Panne