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Military and government data collection technologies for corporate and city security

Published on 24 August, 2016

Creating and accessing intelligence is increasingly part of the mission of corporate security departments, and of Safe Cities applications. Such capabilities were previously the domain of military and government applications, but the same approaches used to provide intelligence from military bases can also be applied to Safe Cities and corporate security projects.

Edge360 is a six-year-old company with roots in the military and Department of Defence surveillance. Now, Edge360 is looking to apply that expertise to the Safe Cities and physical security markets.

Unifying existing systems

Their approach is to unify existing systems into a functioning whole, and to fill in the missing elements in the process. “We take a look at what corporate entities have already leveraged, and then we figure out how to bring them together into a whole system,” says John Rezzonico, CEO of Edge360. “What we have seen is that cities focus on buying a camera, a licence plate recognition (LPR) system, or access control, but they don’t consider what they are doing with it. We come out of the intelligence space, and we look at the ‘big picture’ system.

In focusing on that “big picture,” Edge360 has done a lot of integration work over the years. However, they have also developed some products to help fill those gaps – the missing elements – in systems. As the name indicates, the company focuses on edge devices and how they can be combined to provide “360 degrees” of intelligence.

Slingshot “normalises” the data
to a standard and easy-to-access
format, and indexes the data to
be easily searched by the end

PSIM for data

One of the products Edge360 has developed is called Slingshot, which Rezzonico describes as a “PSIM for data.” PSIM historically has referred to a physical security information management system. Rezzonico’s nickname for Slingshot’s capabilities refers to collecting data from various (existing) databases and then making it easily accessible to an end user.

It’s a “data fusion” appliance that leverages data from multiple sources in a variety of formats. It then “normalises” the data to a standard and easy-to-access format, and indexes the data to be easily searched by the end user. The appliance allows end users to search for data with “Google-like” speed and then to view a “normalised” summary of data results (i.e., in a consistent format) that, again, is reminiscent of the results in a Google search.

Slingshot emphasises “speed of discovery;” in other words, the appliance creates and accesses a summary of available data, and searches the summary rather than all the databases. That’s a faster process. Once the data is discovered, retrieval focuses on a single record rather than having to scan the entirety of the databases.

Each physical location installs one Slingshot appliance to compile and process local databases. Each appliance can accommodate up to 30 million records and 50 users with a user interface. Appliances can communicate with other appliances in other locations, and data is accessible (although protected) in the cloud. The new data element works with and expands the capability of a customer’s existing PSIM system, which ties together physical security systems.

"We’re trying to show that
you can leverage what you
have invested in, and only
use appropriate equipment"

There are a million different types of database query systems. Some are very sensitive to what you put into them; they’re time-consuming,” says Rezzonico. “You put the query in and then you have to wait for it to come back. Since we do it with an index, we take the load from the system and provide the result. We allow them to discover information quickly, because it’s indexed. The time to discovery is the most important element.”

Video management system interface

Slingshot is just one component Edge360 is bringing to the physical security market. Another is called Rhino, which is a “VMS light” designed to tie directly into a PSIM system. The PSIM serves as the system interface and makes a video management system (VMS) interface (“front-end”) unnecessary.

Another product from Edge360 is a hybrid wireless/RF surveillance box that can be easily deployed to capture video wherever needed (and redeployed as threats change). The boxes will be shown at ASIS in Orlando, and are applicable to special events such as the Boston Marathon or even a protest march.

We’re trying to show that you can leverage what you have invested in, and only use appropriate equipment,” says Rezzonico. “There are some ‘light’ products that can augment your systems. We focus on the operational needs of customers, not selling the catalogue. We are an integration house, and we simply want to deliver cost-effective solutions based on our experiences in the government and military sectors – but at a lower cost.”

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