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Using video intelligence to protect critical public infrastructure
Kimbry McClure , Hitachi
By Kimbry McClure
Solutions Architect, Office of CTO
Hitachi Data Systems Federal
Law enforcement and other entities charged with protecting national security are spending more time than ever planning and implementing security measures that ensure national security and improve public safety. This is for good reason: from the energy grid to sporting events to airports, security personnel know these venues are enticing targets for terrorist attacks due to the large amount of people and resources clustered together in one place.
In a world of heightened extremism, lone wolf attacks, and general global instability, it is not beyond imagination to foresee a scenario where a small team of terrorists seizes a U.S. airport. With the prospect of hostage taking and hijackings looming large, the response time for emergency personnel and law enforcement becomes critical. First responders must locate the terrorists and their hostages quickly to coordinate an effective response. This requires enhanced detection capabilities that can seamlessly distribute information to decision makers and emergency personnel to identify and respond to threats in real time.
To stay a step ahead of attackers, security and emergency personnel need a common operational picture to communicate with civil and federal agency authorities. This picture is not only essential in coordinating a rescue, but also in securing additional areas of the airport facility that the terrorists have yet to seize as well as collect evidence for both investigative and legal purposes.
With many entities tasked with restoring airport security, organizations need the right technology to assist them. An important tool emerging in security today is a video intelligence system that assists emergency responders and officials in reaching their security objectives.
Not Your Old-School CC-TV Cameras
Many people imagine video surveillance cameras to be a single camera mounted on a wall pointing in a particular direction and transmitting video to a single television. In this scenario, multiple cameras in different locations within the same building work in isolation and only detect motion and images.
Most people do not realize that video intelligence has evolved tremendously in recent years. Today’s video intelligence system consists of a wide range of disparate sensor data combined into a single portal. The integration of sensor data into one place is a critical development for law enforcement working in time sensitive situations.
Back in our besieged airport, authorities do not have time to monitor separate video camera, alarm systems, GPS, and other audio, visual, and social media monitoring systems separately. Officials need data from these sensors to be organized in such a way that patterns can be quickly detected to ensure rapid decision-making.
As law enforcement officials analyze the data received from multiple sensors, a video intelligence system triages the data received. During the airport terrorist attack, law enforcement is able to discern that the screaming coming from an airport personnel-only hallway is more important to respond to than the traveling high school band playing their instruments in the airport concourse. First responders have the ability to triage behaviors because the video intelligence system has automated the monitoring process on a scale much larger than manpower can provide.
Automating data collection, organization and storage gives law enforcement attempting to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack a more speedy, meticulous and effective overall security strategy. Authorities no longer have to allocate manpower to spending time searching and investigating each person who is in a facility. Since different people present various behaviors, some that indicate a higher security risk than others, video intelligence systems flag these behaviors for law enforcement and give them the knowledge needed to make critical decisions.
Overcoming the Unknown
Adding automation to data collection and analysis provides other benefits. Criminals and terrorists are constantly changing their tactics. As a result, law enforcement does not always know the behavior profile to match the changing tactics. The integration of a video intelligence system provides law enforcement flexibility to quickly and easily input into the system new behaviors for the sensors to monitor. Without unified data management, authorities would need to take more time and manpower to update the sensors on what new behaviors to track.
Authorities may also face uncertainty over which agencies, groups and decision makers need access to which data points. Today’s homeland security and emergency response strategies involve multiple agencies, organizations and decision makers. These groups require that data be shared in real-time to establish a common operating picture. The video intelligence system overcomes data sharing challenges by creating a single portal to store and view information. As a result, information can be shared with ease between various coordinating entities.
How to Implement a Modern Video Intelligence System
Many in government are concerned about how much value they will receive when implementing new technology systems. The good news is a modern video intelligence system is not only effective, but also simple to implement. The system’s design focuses on an interface that is integrated into an organization’s current IT systems, including legacy IT. Therefore, the video intelligence system is built based on customization and flexibility. Additionally, the video intelligence system includes sensors, compute power and on-board storage that can be installed and implemented rapidly.
Deploying a video intelligence platform gives law enforcement a technological asset that keeps pace with terrorists and criminals today and in the future. By placing these tools under a single management layer, law enforcement can devote more resources to what truly matters: ensuring public safety.