Uwe Karl, BT Head of Airport Solutions at Siemens, addresses some of the security issues faced by airports

Q: Can you tell us more about the security solutions Siemens has to offer?

The main focus for Siemens is an integrated approach to airport security, one that seeks to recognise all the threats throughout the process rather than looking at them simply in isolation.  This means considering all the angles, from the perimeter protection of the airport through to preventing thefts from the car parks, efficient and transparent passenger processing, luggage and cargo screening procedures and on to general airport operation and air transport management.  That is not to say that a single solution to airport security exists - it does not.  But, by adopting an integrated approach, airport operators can better protect all operating and value chain processes, without gaps.  In terms of security this will typically include access control, intelligent algorithms in video surveillance, intrusion detection, alarm management and evacuation. When connected with passenger related data, like information about the flight, checked baggage and current location inside the airport, intelligent recognition systems and behaviour pattern recognition, the picture of integrated security becomes even more complete. This integrated approach can also be adopted with other building management elements, such as fire protection, energy management and automation systems for the control of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC).

Q: What are their main benefits?

One of the major problems identified by airports which require security measures employed over a large area is how to manage all the different inputs and alerts which may occur, often simultaneously, in the event of an incident.  For example simple questions must be answered - such as who is in charge?  The police? Security staff? Fire officers?  Which measures should be adopted in the case of an incident? If an integrated approach is adopted, such as "Command and Control" systems from Siemens, it provides a centralised overview and control for the protection not only of an airport's passengers and employees but also of its assets. Such a command and control system integrates a wide range of disciplines such as fire, intrusion, access control, video surveillance, public announcement systems, flight information displays, building automation systems and other relevant security equipment, providing one central point through which all the various alerts can be monitored.  Command and control systems also guide the personnel who need to respond to an incident as to what actions to take, a vital factor in what is invariably a stressful situation.

Hundreds of Airports throughout the world use Siemens solutions

Q: Which airports use Siemens' solutions?

Hundreds of airports throughout the world use Siemens solutions, from national airports such as Bodo in Norway, to international airports such as Dubai, New York JFK and Munich. 

An example is the recently completed Bengaluru (Bangalore) International Airport in India, handling over 9 million passengers a year with around 27 aircraft movements per hour. Siemens was one of the few, if not the only companies worldwide, with the expertise to offer a comprehensive portfolio of solutions and airport-related services and processes. Siemens provides an integrated package of power supply, I.T systems, communications, security systems, baggage handling systems, X-ray inspections, check-in systems, and airfield lighting, from consultation to operation.

Siemens also supplied the security for the largest infrastructure project created in the Catalan region of Spain in the last 20 years.  The new Terminal 1 at Barcelona International Airport (also known as El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto), the second largest airport in Spain, was inaugurated on 17 June 2009, consolidating Barcelona's place amongst the most important air hubs in Europe. Siemens installed the security, fire detection and lighting systems in the new terminal, along with video surveillance systems with video analytics technology and access control systems.  Also, the other large hubs in that region - Madrid Barrajas and Lisbon Airport - are all equipped with Siemens solutions.

Q: What are the main issues affecting this sector at the moment?

Megatrends such as globalisation and urbanisation, along with growing and aging populations, continue to be an impact worldwide.  By 2025 nearly two-thirds of the world's population will live in, or very close to, the major conurbations.  As airports provide a global transportation network between cities, they are important hubs and have considerable regional, economic significance - giving the cities they serve great commercial advantages over those that do not.  This growing urbanisation means that airports will undoubtedly continue to grow in number and that existing airports will continue to grow in size in order to satisfy the increasing demand for mobility.  The systems employed to protect them therefore need to accommodate such growth, with a smooth migration path to allow systems to expand easily becoming ever more important.

 Siemens offers centralised monitoring solutions for airports
Siemens offers airport security solutions with a centralised monitoring point for more efficient surveillance

Q: Do you have any product/project developments in the pipeline?

Today, one of the key focus areas for Siemens is providing the technology to meet ever-increasing demand from customers for an integrated approach to running a building. One of the greatest challenges today for airport operators is the day-to-day management of disparate systems, third party equipment and a host of different resources throughout the lifecycle of the facility. The phased approach to an airport's development often leads to a mix of old and new technologies. For this reason, Siemens are today developing and rolling out a portfolio of tested and proven applications to integrate disciplines at an airport.

Siemens continues to develop products and systems to help airports to optimise their processes and passenger flows with even higher security. Software packages support the decisions of the operators in a world of system integration and smart devices. Unmanned border control and boarding gates are helping to optimise processes. 

Q: Are there any other types of technology, which you believe could enhance security in the future?

Biometrics is very much a technology buzz word. Within the access control area specifically, biometrics is still really a niche but an important part of the overall market and one that does offer a real increase in the level of security provided in applications such as airports that require this level of authorization prior to access being granted. Siemens employs its own technologies or partners with strong global players in the technology to "integrate" the support for the technology within its access systems - something which Siemens does generally as a business when it recognises companies that have a particular expertise in specific areas.

Unlike mobile phones or televisions, which are typically thrown away and replaced after a few years, building services equipment is often required to function correctly for 10, 15 even 20 years. Protecting customers' investments over the entire lifecycle of the airport facility is therefore very important.

Siemens continues to develop products and systems to help airports to optimise their processes and passenger flows with even higher security

As technologies develop and improve, Siemens products and solutions for airports become faster and more sophisticated, with more features and benefits for the airport operators, the passengers and the airport buildings. Often the best way to ensure the economic value of the building equipment and services is via migration or upgrading strategies, which give customers the option to gradually add new functionality without having to completely replace entire systems.

In all Siemens products, safety features are combined with algorithms to improve comfort and (wherever possible) to reduce fuel consumption. This means that we protect not only the airport buildings but also contribute directly to the reduction in carbon emissions. The security of power supplies and low voltage distribution, and the reliable operation of a heat, ventilation and air conditioning plant will all indirectly enhance the building security.

Q: In general terms, what does the future hold for airport security?

Today, there are over 1,670 airports worldwide transporting 2 billion passengers and 40% of exported goods annually. As this number is predicted to increase, with the megatrend towards large cities and urbanisation it is essential to explore routes of sustainability. Airports are and will remain the most important hubs for passenger and cargo travel between cities, countries and continents.  Therefore, ensuring that they are able to continue to provide a gateway to the world that is safe and secure has never been more critical.  The most effective enhancement of security in the future is the ability to collect security relevant information from different sensors and various sources, and then integrate all this information in one Security Integration Platform, in combination with personal and flight data, as well as background checks.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Protecting the Environment

The world today is slowing realising the need to save energy and ‘go-green'. It is a fact that buildings account for 40-50% of the world's fuel consumption and carbon emissions; there is no need nowadays to neglect even basic energy saving measures for the equipment and services contained within our buildings.

Siemens believe in the importance of leaving behind an intact environment for future generations. With its innovative building technologies, Siemens is helping to preserve the planet's natural resources and habitats in a process that unites environmental protection with advanced technology and business success. Our environmentally focused products and solutions for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and air conditioning within airports help to conserve resources in power generation and preserve air and water quality. By reducing the power consumption of building services equipment, Siemens make an effective contribution toward protecting our environment.

Fuels are becoming increasingly rare and expensive, so that to use them sensibly and sparingly justifies Siemens efforts to control HVAC installations as economically as possible. By selecting innovative control systems and building control strategies, it is possible to make efficient use of energy while simultaneously protecting the well-being of people - a dual benefit which many airport operators have ignored until now.

 Click here for more information on Integrated Airport Solutions from Siemens.

Uwe Karl
BT Head of Airport Solutions, Siemens
Uwe Karl, BT Head of Airport Solutions, Siemens
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

4K analogue cameras are still an ideal solution for video surveillance systems
4K analogue cameras are still an ideal solution for video surveillance systems

One of the toughest business decisions companies need to make is when selecting a new video surveillance system, as it’s a rigorous process to compare camera offerings and technologies, and to evaluate price structures. With its proven performance over the last several years, IP surveillance systems have become the defacto standard for most professionals. Those experts typically cite the numerous benefits that IP cameras offer, including higher image resolution, ease of installation, scalability, and analytics as rationale – which are all valid. However, the biggest drawback is the high price tag when considering making the switch from an analogue to a dedicated IP surveillance system. In reality, many end users don’t need networked IP cameras in every location throughout their facility, as the additional features and benefits IP cameras typically provide may not be necessary in every location. Ultimately, the decision to stick with analogue or move to IP needs to be based on your surveillance objectives and future needs. Advantages of 4K Consider this – you’re managing an analogue surveillance system and your primary goal is to increase image resolution; 4K analogue cameras may be your ideal solution. Advanced 4K analogue surveillance cameras deliver a myriad of advantages, including: Superior resolution Lower cost and easy installation. Picture clarity even under changing or difficult lighting conditions Models with 2 and 4 megapixel resolution, such as Dahua’s HDCVI 4K cameras with scalable HD-over-coax technology, provide security professionals with greater situational awareness and are available in multiple form factors to provide exceptional quality video & audio for a wide range of surveillance applications.Since 4K analogue cameras are not connected to an IP network, they do not present the cybersecurity risks that are typically associated with IP cameras Greater distance, greater definition Another benefit of 4K analogue cameras is that their higher number of pixels provides increased digital zoom performance without pixilation versus traditional HD or 2K cameras. This allows security operators to see further into the distance with greater definition. The added resolution is especially important for popular applications that require higher levels of detail, such as face and licence plate recognition or object analysis, as well as emerging video analytics and artificial intelligence applications for future system enhancements. 4K analogue applications 4K analogue cameras are also ideally suited to cover large fields of view such as in sports stadiums or airports with great detail and accurate colour reproduction. Their superior digital zoom capabilities can allow 4K analogue cameras to do the work of two cameras – one for a wide view and another for close-up – without sacrificing quality or compromising security. This can also help dramatically reduce hardware and installation cost, and simplify video monitoring. Finally, since 4K analogue cameras are not connected to an IP network, they do not present the cybersecurity risks that are typically associated with IP cameras. With the ever-increasing amount of sensitive and personal information stored on networked drives at businesses of all types, the value of removing one more potential network entry point cannot be understated. Overall, with 4K analogue cameras, security professionals can take advantage of higher resolution video on an existing, cost-effective platform that’s safe from network intruders with isolated and limited installation downtime and exceptional cost-efficiencies.

How new video surveillance technology boosts airport security and operations
How new video surveillance technology boosts airport security and operations

The air travel industry has evolved from one commercial passenger on the first commercial flight in 1914 to an estimated 100,000 flights per day. According to The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the total number of passengers who flew in 2017 is expected to reach 3.7 billion.   But it’s not just people who fly. Each day, more than $18.6 billion of goods travel by air, which represents one-third of all world trade, by value. Meanwhile, the aviation industry supports more than 63 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity. According to the IATA, 3.5% of the global economy relies on aviation. Evolving airport security for today’s demands Airport security continues to evolve as well, as security personnel strive to keep ahead of increasing threats and the compliance issues enacted to help address them. It’s taken nearly 40 years to progress from the first widespread use of X-ray scans and metal detectors to today’s full-body imaging and video surveillance solutions to mitigate security breaches and other critical security challenges. Employing airport security solutions is a complex situation with myriad government, state and local rules and regulations that need to be addressed while ensuring the comfort needs of passengers. Airport security is further challenged with improving and increasing operational efficiencies, as budgets are always an issue. As an example, security and operational data must be easily shared with other airport departments and local agencies such as police, customs, emergency response and airport operations to drive a more proactive approach across the organisation. New surveillance technologies To manage these and other issues facing the aviation industry, airport security management is increasingly looking to leverage new surveillance technologies to help streamline operations and to build stronger security programs. New and enhanced surveillance technologies such as powerful open platform Video Management Systems (VMS), HD panoramic cameras, and highly specialised video analytics are at the heart of today’s advanced networked surveillance solutions for airports and aviation facilities. Airport perimeters are quite extensive in size, irregular in shape, and subject to compromised visibility due to poor lighting Protecting the perimeter As an example, many airport perimeters are quite extensive in size, irregular in shape, and subject to compromised visibility due to poor lighting. Compounding the security challenge, these perimeters are often protected only by simple fences that can be easily scaled or broken through, and areas outside the fences may include wild forests in rural areas or residential and commercial buildings in more populous regions. All of these factors make it all the more difficult – and all the more important – to keep watch on perimeter areas. Analytics boosts effectiveness Camera coverage is the first step for monitoring the perimeter, but to improve the monitoring of these areas, airports can automate much of the monitoring, threat identification and notification needed to keep the entire premises safe by implementing video analytics. Market-leading offerings now include cameras with built-in analytic functions to make it easier and more effective to implement improved detection. For example, some of the more commonly available functions now include perimeter crossing, intrusion detection, object left behind, object missing, and wrong direction.Surveillance technologies allow the creation of virtual fences which can send a security team proactive notices of suspicious activity With these functions already built in, today’s high-performance security cameras not only capture clear video but can also employ analytics to monitor the field of view. In the case of an airport perimeter, analytics can be set up to automatically monitor a fence line to detect breaches or potential breaches while filtering out false alarms from small animals or blowing debris and alert authorities quickly when action is needed. Surveillance cameras can also be easily deployed over a perimeter to quickly detect and identify causes of perimeter breaches, and provide instant alerts to notify personnel where the breach is occurring, reducing the need for security personnel to physically monitor miles of perimeter fencing. In fact, surveillance technologies allow the creation of virtual fences which can send a security team proactive notices of suspicious activity. VMS Systems control with confidence All perimeter surveillance solutions can be integrated with an airport’s VMS, providing users with an easy-to-manage centralised hub to monitor and manage airport security. Overall, a perimeter security solution can help keep unauthorised individuals away from runways, taxiways, aircraft and other airport infrastructure in all types of weather conditions and environments. Within other restricted areas of an airport, such as parking lots, garages and secured areas, surveillance solutions are available to reduce risk and improve security. In a parking garage, IP cameras and a VMS can integrate third-party analytics to quickly identify and alert personnel when unauthorised vehicles have entered a restricted area, including vehicles with license plates on watch lists. When an alert is detected, data from third-party vehicle tracking software can be accessed via the VMS to monitor and track the vehicles activity while security personnel get into position to investigate further. Preventing theft in airports On the tarmac and inside baggage handling areas, loss or theft of luggage and other high-ticket items not only cause brand damage to an airport or airline, but complaints from travellers. A CNN analysis of passenger property loss claims filed with the TSA from 2010 to 2014 shows 30,621 claims of missing valuables, mostly packed in checked luggage. The rest occurred at security checkpoints. Total property loss claimed is estimated at $2.5 million. Loss or theft of luggage and other high-ticket items not only cause brand damage to an airport or airline, but complaints from travellers Security technology can mitigate the issue with IP cameras and VMS integrated with a Baggage Handling Systems (BHS) to automatically validate system operation and abnormal behaviours. This allows security and operations management to see where and why alarms are triggered so they can quickly respond and mitigate the problem. Monitoring crowds and foot traffic Inside an airport, VMS solutions with analytics capabilities can monitor crowd movements and anticipate and proactively respond to choke points, crowd patterns and foot traffic flow to reduce risk and improve security. The solutions can quickly and efficiently locate a person of interest, such as a lost child, for example, and search for shirt colour, estimated height to facial features, and more. With the ability to track via recorded and live video, security personnel can start their search from the moment the child was last seen and track their movement throughout the entire airport. Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), Nigeria’s preeminent air terminal, is one example of an airport that is benefitting from a security technology upgrade to mitigate security threats. The airport is using an open platform VideoXpert™ Video Management System (VMS) in addition to a combination of low-light cameras and high-resolution dome cameras to secure its parking structure, perimeter, baggage claim points, cargo area and other parts of the airport.With the ability to track via recorded and live video, security personnel can track a person’s movement throughout the entire airport The security cameras are providing airport security with high-quality images, motion detection, advanced tracking capabilities, and on-board analytics, while the VMS is unifying operational and security data via a single user interface and allowing airport security to be more proactive in its incident response. People counting and ANPR In the U.S., a large cargo airport has employed 1,100 IP video cameras with a new Video Management System (VMS) solution to address the entire airport’s needs, including security and surveillance. The solution not only features crystal clear images, but also can archive video for 30 days at 30 images per second. A VMS manages the system and provides valuable analytics, including people-counting and number plate capture. It will soon add an enterprise security solution to improve access control system management and integration with the VMS. Airports around the world are increasingly realising the benefits of advanced surveillance solutions to drive operational intelligence and provide comprehensive situational awareness. As the transportation industry continues to expand, so will their use of more advanced surveillance systems on the enterprise level that incorporate even higher levels of system control and management, wide area coverage imaging solutions, and intelligence to keep passengers safe and operations running smoothly.

The new alliance of humans and robotics in security solutions in 2018
The new alliance of humans and robotics in security solutions in 2018

  The past year has proved to be a year full of many changes both within our industry and for Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD). While we have experienced increased adoption of artificial intelligence-based solutions, the industry has been challenged with an ever-evolving technology landscape. Protecting enterprise organisations from both cyber and physical security threats will be an ongoing challenge the industry must grapple with. Greater adoption of robotic solutions To address the physical security challenges, we saw a greater adoption of robotic solutions across the board. Our massive industry started to make the change: Shifting from an uneducated view of this advanced technology to increased interest about artificial intelligence across multiple markets including guarding companies, integrators and, most importantly, end-users. In 2017 there was a greater adoption of robotic solutions across the board With security-guard robots, security directors now have access to additional tools to meet their performance and budget goals. Currently, we see a great adoption with progressive guarding companies, which are signing up to have RAD as their robotic guarding partner. RAD deployed its first robot this year, and we look forward to deploying many more as we work with our customers to customise our robotic solution to their needs. Human collaboration with robotics I believe our industry is at the beginning stages of what could be a serious paradigm shift in how we rely on a combination of humans and technology to do a job. We've seen that in video analytics and the wide variety of solutions available on the market today. The trend has progressed beyond video analytics and into robotics, and that will continue to evolve into 2018 and beyond. As we continue to build on the success of our security guard robot solution, we look forward to expanding our product offerings to meet the security needs of our customers.