Article: Technology solutions create a paradigm shift for airport security​​​​​​​


"Arvidson and Flind both agree that the integration of storage and analytics has created a paradigm shift in the way organizations mitigate risk."

Security Info Watch | September 26, 2017


Like water, terrorists gravitate to the venue of least resistance; the softer the target, the higher opportunity for maximum casualties.


So it is no surprise that busy transportation hubs like international airports are in the constant crosshairs of international terror groups.


The list of major airport attacks around the world since 2016 is frightening. More than 230 fatalities and hundreds more wounded demonstrate the ferocity of airport terrorism.

Putting Technology to Work


The dilemma for airports around the world is how do we make our facilities less inviting to attack? Can technology help harden these soft targets and at the same time provide useful information that can act as a preventative and not simply a deterrent? While no technology is foolproof and certainly must be coordinated with boots on the ground and solid security policy, companies like Quantum and Ipsotek are providing solutions to aid in the battle against terrorism.

Both companies have integrated their technologies for a solution that can detect, report and engage incidents at airports and other transportation centers. Working in tandem with the facility’s IP-networked video surveillance systems, Quantum’s cloud-based data storage arrays combined with Ipsotek’s advanced data analytics create a comprehensive information-sharing and forensics solution that mitigates threats and helps assess risk.


It Is All About the Data


For Bill Flind, Chief Executive for Ipsotek, a London-based company and leader in scenario-based video analytics and a solutions provider for a wide range of applications in both the commercial and public sectors; it is all about being a proactive partner with his clients – many of which are major international airports.

He cited a recent project with an international airport outside the United States that has a deployment of a large facial recognition system.

It is using dedicated facial recognition cameras in a system where the cameras are positioned at various pinch points in areas within the airport where there is good lighting and people have to present themselves face on – places like doorways, passport control and security area. He says this design that employs more than 300 cameras,  even in such a large environment, can still capture close to 90 percent of all those who are passing through the airport which allows for a very high hit rate for gathering this data.




“Video analytics are also deployed throughout the airport in various other camera arrays. The crucial point where the storage comes in is that we are collecting that facial data constantly and comparing it in real time against a watch list including bad people, criminals and known terrorists. We also do reverse verification on our own security people so we can track that they are where they need to be and aren’t where they shouldn’t. 

So all this is happening in real time,” Flind points out. “But where this ties in with storage is the fact we are keeping all the facial images we capture, not just the ones we’re not recognizing at that point. These would be new faces to us, and that data is essentially being stored as metadata in the system, but it is being synchronized to the actual video itself. That general data is kept as long as the client wants.”

Flind explains that the airport security team is keeping all this metadata because it serves a very real purpose. In case of an incident at the airport security administrators can select new persons of interest from that stored facial data.

“They are now keeping an eye out for a new person that they didn’t know last week. You can take that image and present it to the system and forensically search back to see if there have been any instances where that person may have appeared in your facility during any designated time period. The anti-terrorism angle is that it is generally believed that attacks just don’t happen out of the blue by people who have never visited the facility before. It is much more likely they have been reconnoitering the facility beforehand,“ says Flind.


Next generation of Intelligent Video Analytics driven by joined-up thinking Arvidson and Flind both agree that the integration of storage and analytics has created a paradigm shift in the way organizations mitigate risk.


“You want to move from prosecution to prevention. What’s occurred in the past is a lot of decisions were made based on cost, and the cost of retaining data made it prohibitive. Most facilities couldn’t afford to retain data for a year or more, so they would have to make a tradeoff on the number of cameras, the resolution of the cameras or their recording array – things like that,” says Flind.  




“If they did try to archive, generally what they would try to do is called ‘grooming the data’. Basically, they were making assumptions like not having to use the video again so they would de-res it, therefore, losing the quality forever.” 

The two technology partners say “it’s all about getting left of the boom”.  They lament that most CCTV investigation and analysis takes place after the bad thing has occurred, so getting ahead of a bad situation and giving people access to data and information in advance of those bad things happening to provide security personnel a chance to mitigate the threats.



Click here for full article: Security Info Watch



IFSEC, London 2018


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