SPYNEL - Pascal Grenot – Technical Manager, GFI

Pascal Grenot used the SPYNEL technology for the "Prelude Project", for Alcatel Lucent.

- Can you explain in a few words the project for which you used Spynel, your role in this integration, and why Spynel was the most adapted system to cover this need? 

P.G.: I first started to use the Spynel 5 years ago, for the « Prelude Project », when I was working for Alcatel Lucent (Nokia). My responsibilities were to structure the pre-sale activity, monitor the integration, the commissioning, and to analyze the clients’ requirements. The project was to implement a surveillance system on the first barge in the world able to liquefy gas offshore. There was a real need in terms of security.


The barge was 500m long, and was located 200 kilometers off the northwest coast of Australia, in the Timor Sea. The barge was previously outfitted with a long range radar ; however a complementary solution was necessary due to the scope of requirements defined by the client. The scope of requirements given by the client was to be able to detect, as early as possible, small boats (RHIBs of 5 to 6 meters long) at 5 km and up to the horizon, night and day, in any weather conditions. As radars are not always suited to these kinds of detection needs, we had to complement them, with an autonomous, stand alone, wide area surveillance system. We had a range of options: HGH Infrared Systems, or more common thermal cameras manufacturers. We chose HGH because the Spynel-C was the most adapted and proven system available on the market for this type of application. 

On this 500 meter long barge, we set up two Spynel-C cameras, along with complementary Pan Tilt Zoom cameras (PTZ), for identification of RHIBS approaching the barge.

 - To what extent did Spynel and Cylope meet your needs?

P.G.: The fact that Spynel cameras can integrate with PTZ cameras, AIS systems and radars was very convenient for us. It was a way to close the loopholes in radar surveillance. Unlike radars, Spynel produces thermal images remarkably sharp over very long distances. We immediately know what we are dealing with when an alarm is launched.  

HGH’s Cyclope software allows the fusion of data between thermal cameras, AIS systems and radars: this feature was very useful for us, as we were able to have all these systems integrated into a single interface, allowing us to manage alarms depending on the behavior of the potential threats. 

One of HGH’s core values is the spirit of innovation: from your perspective, to what extent are Spynel and Cyclope pioneering products?

P.G.: With regard to the Cyclope software, it is quite innovative: the graphic interface is quickly configurable, parameters can be changed in real time, the timeshifting feature is very useful. I believe that innovation at HGH comes from the fact that dialogue is very consistant with the client. The HGH team has always been highly reactive, always paying attention to our needs and recommendations. Cyclope 5.0, which has just been released, was partly built through these recommendations.

Detection and above all, identification of boats located 10 kms away is a noteworthy capability. With Spynel, we have much more than a simple echo (radar): we are able to actually have a visible image of the target for recognition. One of the most interesting aspects of the Spynel system is the capability to detect and track an unlimited amount of targets simultaneously.

- According to you, what does the future hold for Spynel in the wide area surveillance of critical infrastructure?

P.G.: HGH Infrared Systems has fine days ahead of them, given the latest technologies they released, such as Spynel V-LRF, which combines thermal technology with visible and laser range finder technologies.

- What are Spynel sensors’ strengths compared to more traditional systems like radars and PTZ cameras?

P.G.: Spynel has quite a few strengths compared to conventional systems such as a Radar, PTZ camera, or RF antenna. Unlike a radar, or RF antenna, Spynel is a completely passive system. Since Spynel is passive, unlike a radar which is active, it does not emit anything. If you aren’t emitting anything, you can’t be jammed. Spynel offers a layer of detection that is impenetrable. Unlike a Radar or RF antenna, you also have a visual image giving you recognition of targets.

PTZ cameras are great for identification, however, we could not effectively secure the barge with just these systems. Unlike a PTZ which has a fixed angle field of view, Spynel offers a 360-degree view of the entire surrounding of the sensor. In our situation, this allowed us to simply use two Spynel-C sensors to effectively cover the entire perimiter of the barge.

- You have been in contact several times with our R&D department so that our Cyclope Software meets all your needs, can you tell us a bit more about this collaboration?

P.G.: First, we received a detailed document to learn how to integrate the software, which gave us some autonomy. As soon as they could, the HGH R&D team also came to help us and gave us pieces of advice. We learned how to get the most from the software to cover our specific needs. We also asked them to integrate new functionalities to the software: being able to remotely monitor the video playback is a software evolution that was first commissioned by Nokia.

Another interesting point to mention is that our own Hypervisor controlled HGH’s Cyclope Software: flexbility and openness was asked to HGH. All of our requests were processed and deployed on time.

Our collaboration went further: we conducted tests at sea together, in Le Havre. The HGH team joined us for a two-day test of Spynel-C, and our joint work was very interesting. They also provided us with equipment (Antennas, receivers, telescopic masts…). All this helped to get things moving and to create a good technical collaboration.

By email or by phone, the HGH team has always been very reactive.

- Lastly, how would you summarize your experience working with HGH Infrared Systems in three words?

P.G. :

1. Innovation

2. Reactivity

3. A good spirit : a family company, both international and friendly… I exceeded 3 words !