The Last Word
Bringing Security Together
- By Brent Dirks
- Jun 01, 2006
OVER the past years, many new security technologies have been introduced to improve public safety and security, including higher-resolution cameras, sophisticated DVRs, intelligent video software, biometrics and a whole host of other solutions.
But while these technologies have improved, security teams have been left with vast amounts of data coming from various different sources and a challenge of putting the information together in a usable package to help the public.
And no place understands that challenge more than airports, including the San Diego International Airport.
The airport, located in the second-most populous city in California and seventh-most in the United States, is the busiest one-runway airport in the world with more than 17 million passengers per year.
"It's crucial for airports to have airport domain awareness to prevent and detect actions against civil aviation -- a comprehensive, multi-sensor system that integrates with existing security systems, but also is open enough to adapt to new security technologies," said Mark Denari, director of aviation security for the San Diego Regional Airport Authority.
Finding a System
To accomplish that goal, Denari and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority looked to Surveillint, a security solution from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Proximex.
"Security systems have been around for quite a while, but recent events drove a renewed emphasis on security," said Larry Lien, vice president of product development at Proximex. "The key problem that we found, however, was that these improved technologies only minimally improved security operations and public safety -- primarily due to the lack of integration of these devices. Customers in the security market needed a way to get more out of the security investments they had already made and improve responsiveness to security incidents."
Surveillint integrates with the airport's existing security systems and automatically fuses incident-related security information in real time. With Surveillint, six standalone security and surveillance systems at the facility are integrated into a common Windows®-based user interface.
And Proximex took a page from IT when designing Surveillint to create a solution that would fuse information together to provide security teams actionable intelligence and situational awareness.
"Surveillint was created with the idea that the physical security market needed a solution that intelligently integrated information from many different systems, fused the relevant information and displayed the information so a team could respond accurately and quickly -- much like the need in the IT industry to integrate IT systems, application and network information to take business action," Lien said.
Anchoring Surveillint is a management middleware system dubbed the REDS (real-time, enterprise, distributed security) framework. REDS allows the information from various different sources to be integrated together. The framework is designed using Microsoft's .NET architecture, allowing for scalability for thousands of sensors and support for numerous types of different security systems.
Proximex builds integration modules with a number of different security subsystems which are able to bi-directionally communicate to both receive information and send information, or take control of a subsystem.
REDS then normalizes information from the various security subsystems and fuses all the related data together so that information from a related incident is automatically displayed to a security team when it occurs.
The System in Action
At the airport, for example, if a forced door entry occurs, the operator is automatically shown in one window: the alarm details, the related queued video right before the alarm was generated, live-camera video, the last people who have swiped their badge through the door and response instructions.
After the operator reviews the alert, information can be sent to first responders via e-mail, pager or PDA.
For protecting the airport, the system is organized around a map user interface that allows for a visualization of the entire physical security layout, and an event-based database. But the interface and database can be configured for a large number of applications, including border access and immigration, utilities, government facilities and casinos.
And the feedback from the San Diego airport has been positive. The airport has been able to improve safety and security, reduce overall costs and improve its return on investment while being able to upgrade technology easily in the future because of the middleware function of Surveillent, Lien said.
"The guards and operators not only like the intuitiveness, but also the comprehensiveness of the user interface," he said. "The supervisors like the ability to report on each incident and audit the actions taken on an alarm, and management likes the open framework approach and the ability for the system to provide total airport situational awareness so that they can improve security and public safety."