Technology Trends in Transportation Security
Security Systems News Editor Paul Ragusa in October interviewed Brad Eck, Strategic Alliances Program Owner, Americas, for Milestone Systems .
Paul Ragusa: How have security-critical transportation locations, such as airports, evolved over the past 10 years to where we are today?
Brad Eck: Since the Internet of Things has come into play over the last few years, cybersecurity threats are considered one of the greatest risks to any IoT-based solution. As the world gets “smaller” through inter-connectivity, devices are more directly accessible and prone to cyber attacks.
Cyber authorities continue to strengthen technologies to harden devices/systems, and all meaningful industry players are engaged in solutions that address cyber concerns, not only for themselves, but for their products and solutions. And while this is not a transportation-only problem, critical infrastructure entities are considered high-value targets and therefore at greatest risk.
Beyond security, you begin to see IoT devices traditionally used in security-only applications now providing intelligent analytics to help optimize traffic management issues. These can include parking management in our transportation hubs, and other relevant applications.
We are also seeing the influence of adjacent industries and their use of technology – for instance, building automation. As airports are also facilities, the convergence of building management and security is quickly coming to fruition. Leveraging the intelligence and learning between industries will greatly enhance the overall capability from the wider scope of aspects of each business.
While historically lagging, mobile video has matured by moving toward being viewed as an edge node on a larger security network. The evolution of mobile video management has become much more efficient, and the ability to automatically offload video to a central serverhas had unquestionable impact.
As with the industry as a whole, video image quality is better, and mobile video now has the opportunity to be part of other important integrated systems. This gives greater flexibility to take advantage of best-in-class solutions, but also allows for sharing security data across agencies including emergency management, first responders, and government organizations.
Analytics are being used extensively throughout security today and transportation is no exception. Analytics in smart devices and systems are improving daily. An example would be the introduction of behavioral analytics where systems can make determinations of at-risk activities.
With mobile applications this has real-time considerations and value such as heat mapping, people counting, and crowdsourcing, which can all help to improve how transit schedules are determined, peak usage times, etc. Next is AI – where the analytics of today become another input for intelligent learning and assessments of tomorrow.
“AI takes it further to learn and adapt, making today’s smart decisions tomorrow’s input for improvement.”
We have all seen AI’s current impact on transportation with the pilots of autonomous vehicles, but how will the security industry leverage AI to enhance how we think about security for airports, railways, seaports, highways, etc.?
Paul Ragusa: What types of new technology do you see being deployed and leveraged today within transportation?
Access control: As IP has taken over the video security market, it is also penetrating the access control market as well. Today, distributed systems are becoming more common, and intelligence is continuing to be a driving factor in the success of modern access control systems, including intelligence at the edge where decisions are being pushed all the way to the door.
IoT: extended with IP is the growing ubiquity of IoT devices across all aspects of the security and beyond-security realm. Intelligence, decisions and actions are moving closer to the edge, and substantial metadata (data in addition to or in support of the device’s primary purpose) is being generated and sent for back-end processing to achieve better decision making.
Analytics: crowd gathering (lines, gates, etc.), traffic patterns (wrong way, no access areas, etc.), and numerous other areas are examples of how analytics today can help in security and business decisions that weren’t necessarily available in recent years. These examples will continue to multiply as the use of analytics continue to grow in the industry.
Incident Handling: augmentation of disparate systems improves intelligence at the scene allowing for smarter decisions to be made.
Beyond Security: With so many uses for security devices beyond security, comes the opportunity to leverage non-security devices within security solutions. One example would be the ability to track mobile devices through a facility, improving operational overview and control, personnel safety, asset management or other optimizations.
Paul Ragusa: What are some of the top challenges you are helping these airports and other transportation locations overcome?
Brad Eck: Education! As in most businesses, silos are pervasive in the transportation industry – the left hand doesn’t necessarily know what the right is doing. Consultants are engaging to help address much of this problem.
Transportation leaders cannot move forward in isolation but need to work with consultants and other best-in-class professionals to support their needs. This includes experts in every aspect of the technical solution.
“No single person or company can comprehensively be the best-in-class for everything, so it’s important to focus on the end user needs and engage the right experts for each need.”
Engaging experts in the field to enhance their solutions as well as to provide advanced training and education in technology by stakeholders is allowing personnel to be part of the decision making and design process. Being aware of the latest technologies and how they can improve safety, security, quality of life, optimized commerce, and streamlined processes makes for a much better environment to maintain and upgrade as technology and business evolves.
Paul Ragusa: Do you see transportation being part of the whole smart city infrastructures of the future? Any examples?
Brad Eck: Yes, but perhaps in a more indirect way. Transit must be part of larger Smart City infrastructure. Airports, however, are basically mini-cities themselves, many of which are owned by port authorities that are separate entities from the state or federal governments. And as mini-cities, they are designed and developed to run on their own, independent of other infrastructures (especially in the U.S.). While the same smart infrastructure conversations would be taking place within the realm of airports as within the cities, a broader integration discussion should be had to ensure the direction of the surrounding cities s in sync with their serving airports’ functions, in an intelligent way.
Paul Ragusa: Where else do you see security within transportation going in say 5 or 10 years?
Brad Eck: There are likely a lot of tangent directions that transportation will take, but I believe AI will be the single most influential player across our industry in the next 5-10 years. Today, analytics use is growing substantially, and the metadata generated is actively allowing us to make better security and beyond-security decisions. AI will enable us to leverage the plethora of data we collect, giving us quantifiable results based not only on the inputs of those analytics, but on behaviors, as well, which will provide a growing learning curve for actionable intelligence.