Reducing security and surveillance to ones and noughts



Paul Hennings, Director, IP UserGroup, Surrey, UK


Something strange is happening in our ports, harbours, airports and terminals and I am sure that few of us are aware of the revolution which is occurring right here in the UK. We are being watched… not by the police, a security guard or even a camera, but by an array of some of the most sophisticated networked surveillance solutions in the world.

As an organisation that represents more than 100 manufacturers and system solution providers of security and related technology, ‘THE IP PEOPLE’ as we are euphemistically named, are closer than most to the changing technologies which are being employed around the country and across the globe. Our independent technology forum; the IP UserGroup has more that 10,000 members in the UK alone and some 14,000 around the world.

Going digital

It is estimated that every individual in the UK is imaged by CCTV an average of 340 times per day – we are the most watched population in the world and what is more we are being digitised. More and more CCTV, access control and surveillance systems are going digital and what’s more many systems are networked and transmitting our images across the internet; not to be viewed by a voyeuristic ‘Big Brother’ but to ensure that our day to day lives are safer, that theft and arson is reduced and that incidences of terrorism and anti-social behaviour are identified and dealt with. I

n truth we rely upon surveillance technology more and more, not simply to monitor or record images, but to assess, analyse and store material that is vital in the war against crime. Sophisticated integrated surveillance, access control, biometric and intruder alarm systems are now being adopted across the country and the world, many of which are also being considered to enhance Homeland Security, Border Control and Immigration Management functions.

Digitised surveillance and biometric data can now be processed by some jaw-dropping application software, tracking vehicles, property or even individuals, preventing access to sensitive or dangerous areas or even turning off the lights when leaving a building. This in conjunction with all of the mandatory security management requirements, storage, monitoring and retrieval all of which adhere to European and UK standards and current Privacy and Data Protection legislation.

Port Authorities, the Immigration Service, police, airports and other border control and monitoring establishments are now seeing the benefits of networked surveillance particularly utilising existing network and DSL infrastructure such as a Local or Wide Area Networks and Wireless Technologies. Networked or ‘IP’ based security systems have now been installed across the world from Project Bluebird in Kent to a Port Facility in Norway.

All of these applications rely upon networked digitised surveillance technology much of which interfaces with traditional analogue CCTV cameras and intruder alarm systems protecting existing investment and opening up ‘closed’ systems remote monitoring, storage and data management. The technology is there, the manner in which it is being applied is growing daily and the future of Security and Building Management is TCP/IP – Networked solutions.

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