Pompeii Digs Deeper into the Value of Video: Ready to Handle Pandemic Measures

February 12, 2021
Italian authorities have overhauled the security of the famous Archaeological Park of Pompeii. Milestone Systems video management software serves as the platform for the Smart@POMPEI project, implemented with IP cameras, IoT sensors and drones. It proved ready to protect from new risks when COVID hit.
With nearly 4 million visitors in 2019, the sites of Pompeii are archaeological treasures, but also an important tourist hub for Italy that must be protected. In 2016, a large project called Smart@POMPEI was launched to strengthen its supervision. When the global pandemic hit in 2020, the park was equipped with the right solution.

The objective was to implement an integrated solution for intelligent and sustainable management of the Archaeological Park, using many innovative technologies. Milestone Systems' XProtect video management software (VMS) was chosen to serve as the technology base, because all the data from digital cameras and site sensors can converge and be interpreted by video analytic algorithms.
Flexible video system pivots to new uses for COVID measures
The integration between systems allows Pompeii operators to centrally manage and guarantee the security measures made necessary by the COVID-19 crisis. All the technologies used in the Archaeological Park have been integrated into the Milestone XProtect platform:
  • Video surveillance IP-network cameras, including thermal cameras at the park entrance for checking the temperature of visitors as preventive emergency measures
  • Video streams from drone cameras
  • Anti-intrusion devices
  • Sensors for seismic and hydrological monitoring, and quality of air detectors
  • Smart bracelets for visitors connected to an intelligent mapping interface
  • Video analysis algorithms
The park's online ticketing system has also been integrated into the access control and the video monitoring with a 3D platform that interacts with all subsystems. Alarms are generated in the Milestone VMS when defined thresholds are exceeded and abnormal behavior or emergency conditions are detected.
Different locations of the Pompeii site shown in Milestone XProtect video software
Open platform XProtect software has strategic role in Pompeii
On the archaeological site of Pompeii, which covers 66 hectares, the video surveillance system includes different generations of cameras. These can all be connected to XProtect, which supports a choice of more than 10,000 models from hundreds of manufacturers. The XProtect open platform design also enables the integration of IoT sensors and devices, wireless or connected by cable, that are placed throughout the park.

“Milestone software played a strategic role, as it allowed us to create a system that integrates and correlates a whole series of technological components, infrastructures and data. This means that the Archaeological Park can be better managed not only in terms of safety, but also of ongoing enhancements and uses,” emphasized Alberto Bruni, officer for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. “Milestone represents the true integrator component between many different systems and hardware. It guarantees that the Archaeological Park has the capacity for continuous development of the project with unlimited options for the integration of new technologies.”
First park to reopen with safety in place, remote monitoring
During the periods of pandemic containment regulations – which were drastic in Italy – the security of the archaeological site of Pompeii remained intact.
We had the opportunity to be the first park to reopen, guaranteeing total safety for both employees and visitors, thanks to the technologies we already had in place. We did not need to integrate new technologies to respond to the emergency conditions. We figured out how to best use the tech tools we already had, to manage the new needs of the crisis. And that certainly was a huge plus.
Alberto Bruni, officer for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.
The protection officers had remote access to the video platform so that even during staff confinement off-site, the surveillance of the Archaeological Park was never reduced. The remote access to the Milestone video surveillance made it possible for them to detect and foil several attempts at theft and unauthorized entry.




The Casca Longus viewed in Milestone XProtect video software
Pompeii is future-proof for more IoT and algorithms
Developments on the XProtect platform continue. “Our goal is to create an integrated and multi-disciplinary system with more IoT technology. We are going to leverage what has been achieved so far in terms of development, infrastructure and systems, to make ancient Pompeii the most modern and intelligent city in the world,” summarized Alberto Bruni, evoking the future of the Smart@POMPEI strategy.

They are developing another video application, for example, that will follow tourists as they move throughout the archaeological areas. This solution monitors the social distancing of visitors, and gives alerts to respond when crowding would cause risk.

The Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD has hereby been reborn as a technological leader in the new millennium.