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As anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airline since 2001 knows, security measures at airports are well enforced and the emphasis on traveller safety is all around the airport and its grounds. Mass transportation, meanwhile, presents a special but not any less significant challenge when it comes to determining security issues. These facilities need to develop the means to protect a constantly changing and large population of passengers. And unlike airports these facilities often have hundreds of points of entry and exit on multiple modes—buses, subways, light rail, commuter trains, even ferries. About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation. In fact, statistics have shown that nearly 11 billion trips are taken on public transportation every year. In some large metropolitan areas in North America where mass transit is well established, more than 20 percent of the area’s inhabitants get around via public transportation.About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation Solving mass transit security For transportation officials and their security providers, solving the mass transit security issue begins with determining the key concerns and then creating the proper responses via security systems, policies and procedures to mitigate the risks. Although vandalism and graffiti are very visible signs of criminal behaviour in mass transit settings such as bus stops and subway stations, this is not where transportation officials typically focus their energy. Fences and gates can secure out-of-service buses and train cars, as can remote surveillance methods to keep such vandalism at a minimum. Instead, it is the day-to-day safety and security of transit riders and employees that should become the highest priority. This begins with creating the safest environment possible that is highlighted with appropriate signage and, when necessary, audible warnings, and supporting that with technology, such as surveillance cameras, that will document what has happened if an incident occurs.Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package Crime prevention in transportation Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package Incidents of concern within a transit setting can take several forms, ranging from legitimate accidents or crimes to false claims such as faked fall down the stairs to potential and actual suicides. Bus and subway stations also have become magnets for homeless people who may put themselves and others in harm’s way by trying to access less secure public areas within a station as temporary shelters. If someone is injured on a subway platform and the transit provider is held liable, it could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Suicides are a major concern for operators, with personnel now being trained to look for individuals who seem distressed, are loitering in the area or are intentionally putting themselves in a dangerous situation, such as standing too close to the edge of a platform. The deployment of video analytics, which can be programmed to send alerts when certain pre-set actions occur, can help determine when such dangerous behaviours come into play. Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package or a person going into a restricted area. Whether it is on the bus, train or ferry or at the stops themselves, cameras and intuitive video management systems are the key to both active and forensic transit security. Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras Train security and safety By using the proper cameras and recording systems in a transit environment, quick-acting personnel can locate a person of interest who boarded a train at one station, follow him during his trip and produce a crisp, clear identifiable image at the end. Those setting up the system thus should keep in mind proper camera positioning, resolution and motion-based changes to framerates or other compression settings. A typical 30-foot bus often has six cameras—one each at the front and middle doors, two more within the bus and then one looking forward and another looking behind the bus. The latter two are important in the event of accidents to verify liability. Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras.Train stations often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image Train cars are similarly equipped with two to four cameras to view activity down the centre aisle. Within the stations themselves, there can be from 15 to 30 or more cameras capturing wide-angle shots. Train stations, which have a restricted point of egress, often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image. Installing the right technology for the solution Although bandwidth and storage can be a concern, with motion-based recording, the resolution can be bumped up during event, resulting in a 1-megapixel stream jumping to 4 or even 8mbps when needed. By changing the resolution on demand, end users can cut their storage needs significantly. Transportation settings often rely on the same technology used in other security installations, primarily mini dome cameras, although there are some mini transit domes built specifically for the environment with the proper aesthetics. Because of vandalism threats, transit typically avoids pendant mounts, which can be more easily grabbed and damaged. Temperature ratings for cameras also come into play in cold climates with cameras often getting outdoor exposure.Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage As trains and buses move along their routes, especially those that service outlying areas, Internet connectivity becomes an issue as well. Because it may be difficult for video to be sent in transit, security bus barns are equipped with Wi-Fi so video from onboard cameras can be downloaded at the end of the day. And the use of hardened recorders at the stations allows security personnel to retrieve recorded video. Transit security with modern technology Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage. Older infrastructure from long-standing subway and bus terminals can prove to be a challenge when adding security, but these issues aren’t insurmountable. Often the solution is to add more cameras to cover the same square footage because of less-than-ideal sight lines and to place conduit wherever it works best, which may mean positioning it under platforms or in other out-of-the-way places within older stations. Looking ahead, transit security will continue to evolve, not only as new stations and modes of transportation are added to the system, but in terms of communicating with commuters. People can expect to get mass notification alerts on their mobile devices, and those same devices can provide vital data to transportation entities to better develop their overall systems.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a significant and ever-changing impact on the way we view video security. Today, cameras are expected to be so much more than devices with which to simply capture images; they need to be far smarter than that. These future-facing cameras are becoming an integral part of the vast digital connectivity infrastructure, delivering a parallel performance as intelligent sensors with the ability to extract the kind of invaluable data that helps businesses make improvements in the area of video security, and beyond. However, as the list of possibilities grows, so too does the risk of unauthorised access by cybercriminals. We should all be aware that a single weak link in a communications infrastructure can give hackers access to sensitive data. That’s the bad news. Safeguarding data and utilising deep learning The good news is cybercrime can be avoided by employing a data security system that’s completely effective from end-to-end. One technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’ Once this level of safeguarding is in place you can begin to confidently explore the technologies and trends happening now, and those on the horizon. So, what will be having an influence on surveillance in 2018? Well, according to IHS Markit, one technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’, which uses algorithms to produce multiple layers of information from the same piece of data, therefore emulating the way the human brain absorbs innumerable details every second. In Europe, GDPR compliance will also be a big talking point as new principles for video surveillance data collection, use limitation, security safeguards, individual participation and accountability are introduced. And, as the popularity – and misuse – of drones continues to rise, the recent developments in drone detection technology will be particularly welcomed by those whose primary concern relates to large areas, such as airport perimeter security. The future of 'smart' video analytics An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics. The Bosch ‘i’ series, for example, offers a choice of formats – Essential Video Analytics and Intelligent Video Analytics. Essential Video Analytics is geared toward regular applications such as small and medium businesses looking to support business intelligence (e.g. inter-network data transfer), large retail stores and commercial buildings for advanced intrusion detection, enforcing health and safety regulations (no-parking zones or detecting blocked emergency exits) and analysing consumer behaviour. The camera-based, real-time processing can also be used to detect discarded objects, issue loitering alarms and detect people or objects entering a pre-defined field. Intelligent Video Analytics provides additional capabilities. It is designed for demanding environments and mission-critical applications, such as the perimeter protection of airports, critical infrastructures and government buildings, border patrol, ship-tracking and traffic-monitoring (e.g. wrong-way detection, traffic-counts and monitoring roadsides for parked cars: all vital video security solutions). An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics Intelligent Video Analytics can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers, such as challenging environments created by snow, wind (moving trees), rain, hail, and water reflections. For more expansive areas, like an airport perimeter fence, the system has the range and capability to provide analysis over large distances. And, if a moving camera is employed, it is also possible to capture data on objects in transit when used in conjunction with the Intelligent Tracking feature. For roadside use, Intelligent Video Analytics systems, such as the Bosch MIC IP range, are resistant to vibrations and can still operate in extreme weather conditions, continuing to detect objects in heavy rain or snow. Evolving cameras past surveillance It’s becoming ever clearer that the IoT is transforming the security camera from a device that simply captures images, into an intelligent sensor that plays an integral role in gathering the kind of vital business data that can be used to improve commercial operations in areas beyond security. For example, cities are transitioning into smart cities. The capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed) With intelligent video security cameras at the core of an urban infrastructure smart data can be collected to optimise energy consumption via smart city lighting that responds to crowd detection and movement. Cameras can also be used to improve public transport by monitoring punctuality and traffic flow based on queue lengths, with the ability to control traffic lights an option should a situation require it. As the urban sprawl continues and this infrastructure grows, the need for more knowledge of its use becomes more essential, necessitating the monitoring technology developed for use by human operators to evolve into smart sensing technology, that no longer just provides video feeds, but also uses intelligent analytics and sophisticated support systems. These systems filter out irrelevant sensor data and present only meaningful events, complete with all relevant contextual data to operators to aid their decision-making. Expanding the video security camera network Today, video analytics technology has tangible benefits for human operator surveillance, and delivers KPIs that are highly relevant to transport operators, planners and city authorities. As an existing infrastructure, a video security camera network can be improved and expanded by installing additional applications rather than replaced. From a business perspective, that means greater value from a limited investment. Thereafter, the capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed), image and data interpretation, and the ability to perform a variety of tasks independently to optimise both your safety and business requirements. The fact is, cameras see more than sensors. Sounds obvious, but a conventional sensor will only trigger an alarm when movement is detected, whereas a camera can also provide the associated image and information like object direction, size, colour, speed or type, and use time stamps to provide historical information regarding a specific location or event. Based on this evidence, the video security camera of today is more than ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
It had been a particularly slow night. The plant security guard had just made his rounds on this Sunday evening shift. As soon as he passed the weighing scales, he could enter the guard shack and get off his feet. Challenging a curious incident However, on this night, he noticed the waste vendor’s truck sitting half on and half off the scale. He stopped dead in his tracks to see if the truck would back up and completely sit on the scale. It never did. The observant guard walked up to the truck and challenged the driver who seemed surprised. “Hey, you’re not weighing your truck properly.” The driver fumbled for a response before replying, “Sorry, I was on the phone with a friend. I didn’t notice it.” But this security guard had the presence of mind to demand the driver’s phone. The driver was caught off guard and surrendered the phone. The guard then pulled up the most recent incoming/outgoing calls and saw no calls during the last 30 minutes. “I don’t think so.” “You don’t think so what?” The security guard was frank, “You haven’t used this phone in over half an hour.” The truck driver sheepishly acknowledged the fact. It was decided to install CCTV covering the weighing area and scales – no easy feat due to poor lighting Preventing crime as it happens Knowing the driver was lying, the security guard ordered the truck back on the scale for a correct weighing and advised the driver that he would report the incident. The security guard wrote up his report and handed it off to his supervisor who, in turn, contacted the local corporate investigator. This investigator was soon on the phone with his boss at corporate headquarters on the other side of the world. Together with Security, they decided to install CCTV covering the weighing area and scales – no easy feat due to poor lighting. However, once completed, they waited. They would not have to wait long. For the next two months, the waste vendor trucks, filled to the brim with production waste, black-and-white paper and other waste products from the plant, would stop on the scale only for a moment and then drive the front half of the truck off the scale for weighing. It was obvious that the vendor was cheating the company by only paying for half the waste. After two months, it was decided to catch the next cheating driver “en flagrante.” Sure enough, the next truck went half on and half off the scale and was weighed. Security then asked the unsuspecting driver to park his truck and invited him inside the building to talk to a supervisor. The driver signed an incriminating statement about the scheme and his role therein. They sent him on his way asking him to keep it quiet Waiting for the driver in a large office was the local investigator and his close friend, the Head of Security. After a difficult interview, the driver admitted to cheating on the scales over a two-year period—he claimed that some of the scale cheating was done at the direction of the vendor’s management, while some of it he did himself by “ripping off” the vendor—which he acknowledged was dangerous. Working with authorities The driver signed an incriminating statement about the scheme and his role therein. They sent him on his way asking him to keep it quiet—they would see what they could do for him later on. In the meantime, Corporate Investigations had received a due diligence report on the vendor company which contained disturbing news—the company and its managers were associated with a countrywide waste management mafia. The report suggested that the vendor had a reputation for thefts and involvement in numerous lawsuits regarding thefts and embezzlement. Shockingly, no prior due diligence had ever been conducted on the vendor. Fortunately, the plant’s finance and audit team had maintained good records over the past 5 years and were able to re-construct the amount of waste going out the plant door and the amounts being claimed and paid for by the vendor. The discrepancy and loss stood at a multi-million dollar figure. After consulting with the local police authorities and company lawyers, it was decided to pursue a civil case against the vendor. Pursuing legal action The regional lawyer, the Head of Investigations, the Head of Security and the CFO invited the vendor to discuss the problem. Some of the evidence was shown to the vendor’s CEO who became indignant and, in order to save face, promised to fire the truck drivers and to repay any losses for the last two months. Inter-dependent entities - security, investigations, finance/audit and legal - combined their resources and agendas to form a unified front That was not enough for the company and a protracted legal battle ensued which lasted several years and resulted in the vendor’s paying almost the entire amount in instalments. The vendor was dropped from the contract and internal controls strengthened—the only plant employee dealing with the waste issue left the company and was replaced by two individuals. The plant also began paying more attention to the waste process and less to the production side. Several “lessons learned” come to mind. First, the tripwire came in the person of an astute and well-trained security guard who exhibited some of the best characteristics you want to see from men and women in that profession. The Security Department was also adept at installing the CCTV and capturing the fraud live on videotape. But a far greater lesson was learned—of what can happen when inter-dependent entities (security, investigations, finance/audit and legal) within a company combine their resources and agendas to form a unified front. The results speak for themselves.
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