On the Horizon

On the Horizon

Covering the length of the border

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 traffic.

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 Surveillance Technology

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 system platform.

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.

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