Today's security environments are more complex and sophisticated than ever, with technology evolving rapidly. For those responsible for critical national infrastructure estates, it can be a challenge to navigate this technology minefield and select the right solutions that can deliver the best value.

UK Security Expo 2017

Synectics, whose solutions protect cities, transport assets, energy and utilities projects, and high-security sites worldwide, finds a misconception can exist within some agencies and businesses operating in the CNI sector around the use of legacy technology and infrastructure, and its impact on safety, security and operational systems management.

The incorrect belief is that a ‘rip out and replace’ scenario is required that is both disruptive and costly. For this very reason, CNI sites are slow to adopt a complete migration to IP solutions, and capitalise on the latest innovations.

Exhibiting at this year’s UK Security Expo (Olympia, London 29-30 November, stand F26), the global surveillance business aims to address this issue by demonstrating how organisations can cost-effectively scale-up and advance critical asset protection, while also maximising investment in existing systems and technologies.

Estate-wide systems integration

Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director, Transport & Infrastructure at Synectics, said: “Sites critical to our national infrastructure, and indeed our daily lives, are those which stand to benefit most from intelligent integration. The organisations responsible for these vast estates and infrastructure can significantly improve overall situational awareness and real-time multi-agency collaboration, even remotely. To avoid the trap of falling behind the curve, understanding the importance of estate-wide systems integration is key.”

"To avoid the trap of
falling behind the
curve, understanding
the importance of
estate-wide systems integration is key"

Migrating to IP technologies and connecting their disparate data sources in this way enables organisations to identify threats and operational intelligence that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible.

Staff safety is crucial

“For example,” explained Greg, “thermal camera video, drone footage, GIS mapping and other sensors, combined with data for interrogation and risk investigation, can have a significant influence on advancing predictive maintenance strategies and avoiding downtime. This data analysis can alert maintenance teams of issues requiring attention before they develop. The data generated from pre-existing third-party systems can be mined for trends that help increase efficiencies and drive process improvements via a single unified management platform.

“Staff safety within CNI environments is also crucial, particularly as the sites and/or network can be spread across the entire country, and lone workers are common. Unifying technology such as access control, communication channels and devices, and RFID tags on security passes can mitigate these challenges by pinpointing staff status, location and nearest emergency support at all times. An intelligently integrated command and control solution also facilitates rapid and informed multi-agency collaboration should an incident occur. The possibilities are virtually limitless.”

Updating legacy systems

But these estates and their infrastructure also tend to have an extensive investment in legacy technology, which in many cases is a perceived deterrent to upscaling and implementing the latest technology.

“We are working with our customers to educate them on the steps to take, and we collaborate with them to design an integrated solution that can work with their legacy systems but scaled appropriately to take advantage of future requirements,” said Greg. “With an open architecture command and control platform such as Synergy 3, organisations can invest in the latest technology at a pace and budget to suit their specific needs.”

"Our ethos as a business
has always been to develop solutions that add value and focus on customers’ needs"

To support this goal, Synectics has published a number of white papers to promote best practice in CNI protection, and to explain key IP networking considerations including legacy technology integration. These, alongside papers specifically dedicated to rail, airports, and public space protection, will be available during the show.

Synectics sector specialists

Synectics’ sector specialists will be on hand to demonstrate key capabilities of Synergy 3, and discuss the wide range of benefits made possible by connecting and converging systems. David Aindow, Product and Technology Director at Synectics, said: “Our ethos as a business has always been to develop solutions that add value and focus on customers’ needs which is why shows like UK Security Expo are so important.

“As well as demonstrating how today’s solutions can support those charged with protecting our critical infrastructure, we get to engage with delegates to appreciate their challenges and gain insight into how they are currently applying IP technologies so that we can advise the most beneficial way possible.”

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