Border control technology

The only resource in today’s society to fully monitor border control and security is digital innovation and technology. This will enhance the ease of transport and freight 

In an era when countries and their populations are increasingly exposed to the opportunities and risks associated with the ever-expanding global movement of people, policymakers are rethinking approaches to border controls and border management. Technology and digital innovation presents new ways to monitor border security and assist in bettering border control processes. This article looks at radar and laser technology, as well as new innovations coming to market for hauliers and border distance measures. 

Radar technology

In today’s global environment, effective Border Security is a complex issue with its own set of unique problems. Relating to specific border characteristics, resources and geography, good planning and effective electronic systems can all contribute to support effective border security, to manage the day-to-day flow of legal and illegal access.

High-performance video surveillance cameras from UK CCTV manufacturer 360 Vision Technology, protect customs staff and the travelling public at borders across the globe. 360 Vision’s Managing Director, Mark Rees, explains some of the unique issues to be considered that may affect electronic surveillance at these locations. “All borders present similar security demands when dealing with the flow of legal travellers and the requirement to stop illegal ones. However, individual border issues depending on variables such as geography, climate and weather – all place a mix of pressures on the effective performance of electronic security within these environments.

“It’s not only general operational issues that camera system operators face at border security sites, but specific installation challenges too. For example, remote border sites may require an alternative off-grid power source, such as solar, while system communication options may be difficult due to weak cellular coverage or non-existent line of sight for WiFi alternatives.

“Video surveillance is a very powerful tool, particularly when used alongside other security and management strategies, and has proved highly effective as a first line of defence against assaults and unauthorised use of border crossings. Correctly specified, ruggedised, high-definition camera equipment can endure the daily stresses of border environments, whilst supplying the control room with high-quality live images for situational awareness, protection and prosecution evidence.”

In addition to the installation of camera networks at any particular site, the on-going requirement for preventative camera maintenance needs to be considered. General maintenance or the changing of solar cells and batteries may present challenges due to the extended travel time to reach remote locations, and the sheer challenging geographical terrain of many border areas. 

Some remote locations require large areas to be protected, often with hundreds of miles of fence line, with protection requirements on either side of the border. For high security sites, operators often require long-range detection equipment that can detect a threat across greater distances, to enable interception well in advance of a border or fence line contravention. To meet this challenge, the use of visual imaging supported by radar has proved to be a valuable security asset.

360 Vision’s Predator Radar is a combined surveillance camera & radar unit that has been deployed effectively in many high-security border applications. “Predator Radar can track up to 40 targets simultaneously up to a range of 400m diameter, making it ideal to secure expansive border area environments,” explains Mark. “Intelligent Time Share alarm handling also ensures that multi-object alarms can be handled proportionally or by priority. Using world-class radar technology, the stand-alone Predator Radar scans 360 degrees twice every second to detect and track objects, with alarms overlaid on-screen. The camera’s advanced radar detection is unaffected by weather conditions, so detection and alarm functionality continues even within some of the most adverse weather and climate conditions experienced in the world’s toughest border environments.”

Equipped with an integrated radar controlled ‘auto tracking and following’ camera, and the power to automatically detect and continually track targets – radar technology has proved itself integral to the unique challenges of border applications, helping organisations to meet the daily security and management demands of border operations.

Frictionless borders

Elandbridge announced its TruckPass technology, specifically designed to enable frictionless, digital borders and to address the challenges being faced by the haulage industry post-Brexit, including those presented by the border crossings between the UK mainland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. TruckPass is an effortless, secure solution to getting freight across borders without delays, which can typically be anywhere from 15 minutes to several days.

Elandbridge is a consortium comprising border security professionals, haulage industry experts and leading IT, communications and systems development specialists. Using intelligent electronic seals, blockchain ledger, GPS tracking, secure facial recognition, IoT technology, enhanced communication systems and specifically-designed applications, Elandbridge is providing a proven and deliverable solution for frictionless borders. The innovative solution is thought to be the only technology which fully meets government, customs, and security needs of the regulators and all the compliance requirements of the haulage industry.

Charles Le Gallais CBE, CEO and Founder of Elandbridge, said: “The logistics problems in Northern Ireland are not going to go away unless something changes, and I believe TruckPass is that change. We have been developing the solution for some time now and have benefited greatly from collaboration with and input from major haulage businesses, both in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and across Europe. We are also grateful to Government departments, HMRC and Border Control for the constructive engagement and discussions regarding what they need from a technical customs / transport system. We have developed real-world technology providing a real-world solution for now and for the future.”

In the simplest terms, the challenge lies in the control of goods being transported between two countries where there are import/export tariffs, border controls and the requirement to remove or reduce delays and the related additional costs on consignments to as little as possible.

The system combines four existing technologies:

  • An Electronic Seal – developed and being used by the airline sector.
  • Blockchain.
  • Secure messaging app which uses biometric face recognition – developed and being trialled.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Elandbridge has a working prototype system, and the concept has been proven and demonstrated to hauliers in both the UK mainland and Northern Ireland; a desktop version has also been presented to government officials closely involved with the development of post-Brexit borders.

Border distance

Technology is one of the most important topics for those tasked with securing the borders, countering the influx of illegal drugs and other contraband, and containing a flood of people from all over the world. Authorities must defend the long and largely isolated northern and southern land borders, thousands of miles of coastline, and the nation’s vast airspace.

The days of monitoring these areas by human eyes alone, attempting to use sometimes-out-of-date paper to identify repeat offenders and known criminals, are over. Today, the US borders and coastlines are under constant surveillance from satellites and sensor-packed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aerostats, manned aircraft, boats and ground vehicles.

The fast-growing need for interdiction, the large variety of sensors and platforms now being used or planned for in the future, and the dozens of local, state, and federal agencies involved also has increased the need for shared intelligence at all levels through real-time networks, advanced communications systems, and artificial intelligence (AI). The technologies employed and being developed vary from agency to agency, depending on the task for which each is responsible.

Laser technology

Laser technology is one of the US Coast Guard focuses when it comes to border security. “We’re looking in the field at the Coast Guard-Hailing Acoustic Laser-Light Tactical,” Bert Macesker, Executive Director of the Coast Guard Research Center says. “CG-HALLTS sits on a tripod, but will be integrated onto the top of the bridge on smaller cutters. It includes a long-range acoustic device, with very focused acoustic capabilities, so you can talk to someone from long distances and issue commands to suspect vessels. It also has a laser system to get attention, somewhat like an eye-safe laser dazzler, so we can use it in a port environment, which was part of the challenge to get approval for it. Those can be operated separately or together, from a small boat, or remote-controlled from the bridge of a fast response cutter.”

Originally developed for the US Navy, the Coast Guard’s unique missions require some significant modifications to HALLTS, such as the long-range acoustic device directional speaker, capable of projecting a warning tone for nearly two miles; a Maxa Beam searchlight with a 12 million-candlepower peak beam, and an eye-safe Class 2 Glare Helios dazzling laser.

The Coast Guard has the widest area of responsibility for border security of any US agency, starting with 100,000 miles of coastline and inland waterways. It also safeguards an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) encompassing 4.5 million square miles, stretching from north of the Arctic Circle to south of the Equator, from Puerto Rico to Guam, encompassing nine time zones — the largest EEZ in the world. In addition, Coast Guard District 14 alone covers more than 12 million square miles in the remote Pacific, including the maritime boundaries of four independent Pacific island countries that lie within their area of responsibility.

Commentary: Christian Morin, CSO & Vice-President of Integrations & Cloud Services, Genetec

As an industry, and as manufacturers in physical security, we cannot take hacking threats lightly. The potential broad reaching impact of hacks on physical security systems, including providing a beachhead to facilitate lateral movement onto networks, resulting in data and privacy breaches or access to critical assets and infrastructure, cannot be understated. It is our responsibility and duty to users of our technology to prioritise data privacy and cybersecurity in the development, distribution and deployment of video surveillance systems.  

In our recent survey, the State of Physical Security, we uncovered that only about 30% of security professional respondents were prioritising cybersecurity initiatives in 2021. I can only hope most recent incidents act as the wakeup call required to ensure every organisation in the chain understands and acts upon the critical importance of privacy and security in the design, development, implementation and operations of physical security systems.

Commentary: Mark Rees, Managing Director, 360 Vision 

All borders present similar security demands when dealing with the flow of legal travellers and the requirement to stop illegal ones. However, individual border issues depending on variables such as geography, climate and weather – all place a mix of pressures on the effective performance of electronic security within these environments.

It’s not only general operational issues that camera system operators face at border security sites, but specific installation challenges too. For example, remote border sites may require an alternative off-grid power source, such as solar, while system communication options may be difficult due to weak cellular coverage or non-existent line of sight for WiFi alternatives.

Video surveillance is a very powerful tool, particularly when used alongside other security and management strategies, and has proved highly effective as a first line of defence against assaults and unauthorised use of border crossings. Correctly specified, ruggedised, high-definition camera equipment can endure the daily stresses of border environments, whilst supplying the control room with high-quality live images for situational awareness, protection and prosecution evidence

 

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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
Email: editor@securitybuyer.com

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