On the Horizon
Covering the length of the border
- By Robert P. Mitchell
- Apr 01, 2017
With new border security initiatives on the horizon
it will take an innovative approach to
provide a higher level of detection. In the past
border security was deployed at “known” areas
of incursion, which once discovered led smugglers
to move to another area.
Now we are following the dictate of covering the entire border in
an effort to identify, memorialize and capture those that breach the
“No Man’s Land,” - a swath of land that detection would capture an
individual(s) in order to begin tracking; if the individual(s) do not
breach and head away from the border tracking would then release
and look for the next target.
There are many methods of detection that can be utilized for
human and vehicular tracking. However video data by far provides
the most actionable intelligence the CBP (Customs Border Patrol)
will use video data to stem the tide of contraband and human incursion
depicting how many, where they have come from, where they
are heading and visual imagery which provides a description of the
individual(s) involved in the incursion. In contrast a wall provides a
physical barrier but it is non-intelligent.
When coupled with best practice utilizing vibration sensors, thermal
devices and CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear,
and Explosive), nothing can replace night capable video imaging.
Video imaging is by far the most cost effective and actionable intelligence
that border agents can use due to low false “positive” rates.
Other sensor types are sensitive to false positive, such as vibration
sensor, which can be effected by temperate contractions of soil or
sand; nor can vibration sensors differentiate between human and animal
Video imaging provides a more robust solution for the dollar
spent too; a thermal imaging unit that costs 10 to 20 percent more
per unit compared to a long range 4K illuminated pan, tilt and zoom
unit, granted when these technologies are coupled into a fully-integrated
solution, border protection becomes more robust and usable.
Thermal works better though in the morning hours and evening
hours experiences “Thermal Inversion” meaning the background
temperatures i.e. hot rock obscuring a human figure, still need real
time video to verify a thermal hit.
There are other technologies that will provide another level of detection
such as cellular detection. Cellular detection works quite well
as another layer, when people perform illegal acts they will leave ID
home yet they will carry their cell to snap pictures, send texts or post
to social media, no one said that the bad actors are smart.
Being able to capture a cellular signal and track it in real-time while
providing those coordinates to an intelligent camera system to capture
a visual is a new and innovative approach to border protection, it also
provides deeper intelligence for authorized agencies to track the phone
and start building a pattern as well as tracking to whom they have been
speaking with leading back to the bigger operation.
Creating Private Cellular Networks (PCN) that can communicate,
without external interruptions, the actionable intelligence both audio
logically and video logically that will create a real-time atmosphere
where incursions can be detected and stopped by providing real time
video and audio where and when it is needed. When the operator
and ground personnel get the information simultaneously the process
becomes a win, win situation.
IC Realtime has vast experience working with consultants and
installers in the arena of border protection. To name a few, types of
projects include border security, military bases, citywide surveillance
projects, stadiums and special events.
Specialized Situational Awareness
IC Realtime has developed several new technologies that enable
security professionals to achieve continuous situational awareness.
I’m specifically referring to the company’s IC720 360-degree x
360-degree video camera and Persistent Low Altitude (aerial) Surveillance
IC720 is an ONVIF-compliant 24-megapixel dual-sensor 4K
Virtual PTZ camera that captures 360-degrees horizontally by
360-degrees vertically, accomplishing fields-of-view that until now
required several cameras to achieve. The proprietary IC720 software
App seamlessly stitches together each sensor’s video feed, and
via a display device such as IC Realtime NVR’s, Smartphone or
Tablet, users can view from floor-to-ceiling and completely around
the camera itself, either monitoring in real-time or recorded content
for forensic video.
Navigation is achieved by pointing the display device in the desired
directions, or via finger-based gesture control of the touchscreen
which also accesses zoom and freeze options. The camera has
no moving parts therefore it is free of blind spots. The camera can
also stream live video to virtual reality headsets.
When connected to PTZ cameras on the jobsite the camera works
as a brain; 3D coordinates of the motion-based events it detects can
be translated into absolute positions for the PTZ cameras to zoom-in
on to track the bad actor as they move within the scene. As the target
moves from one zone to another, the tracking logically hands-off the
tracking to the next logical PTZ in the chain of imaging devices. This
methodology provides a continuous awareness for the operator.
IC Realtime’s government practice and law enforcement division’s
special operations group has recently developed a new platform
called persistent low altitude surveillance (PLAS). Comprised of a
flight deck including power & data tether; imaging unit (camera) and
its stabilized gimbal and balloon, this aerial surveillance platform
grants Law Enforcement, Border Patrol or Special Event personnel
the ability to remotely oversee large areas and recognize patterns or
events requiring further investigation.
The PLAS flight deck is a 6-inch by 3-inch by 3-inch carbon fiber
housing that contains all command, control and communications
equipment, such as the brains for the system. These integrated components
provide encrypted communications to either fixed or mobile
command center(s) as well as authorized mobile users. Communications
are sent via point-to-multipoint 5.8gHZ transmission system
via IP connectivity (as opposed to traditional RC). IP makes it possible
for one operator to control (for example pan, tilt, zoom of the
camera) multiple PLAS systems at once. This makes the PLAS system
unlike other aerial platforms.
The I-Sniper nighttime camera (.0 lux light handling capability)
with PLAS however any of our imaging units (360-degree, 720-degree,
thermal imaging cameras) can be used.
The PLAS system utilizes an industrial- and tactical-grade tethered
balloon system from Altametry. The balloon system is comprised
of an inner bladder and outer balloon that has a circumference
of 6-foot. The PLAS system can reach an altitude of 455 feet.
Border security is a conglomerate effort of multiple sensor technologies
brought back into a single front-end which provides a
smooth, simple environment for the operator to act on the actionable
intelligence being fed into the system. It is the function of the
Physical Security Interface Manager having the
intelligence in a logical and manageable format
that will enable the operator to disseminate the
information back to the personnel via mobile devices
so that they can act on this information.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Security Today.