Wireless Eyes Watching Airport Security

At a security conference, vendors demo the latest digital video surveillance techniques for securing airports and transport against theft and terrorism.

With fears of terrorism still in the air, vendors at this weeks International Security Conference touted new surveillance technologies being used in transportation and logistics to pinpoint suspicious packages, peer inside transport vehicles and positively identify people even through darkness and fog.

SerVisions new IVG-400 PDA-enabled wireless surveillance product is already being piloted in Mexico by both DHL and PepsiCo, said Oren Yehezkely, vice president for product implementation at the company.

Another test is slated to begin in about three weeks on bus lines in London, according to Gideon Tahan, president and CE0 of SerVision.

The new in-vehicle video gateway represents a new twist on SerVisions existing SVG-400 stationery gateway, which runs digital video—compressed at ratios of more than 50:1—over either wired links or narrowband cellular connections.

In a demo of the new IVG-400, SerVision officials showed a live, streaming video feed, which was beamed over a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cellular connection from a video camera stationed outside a Los Angeles office building to a handheld PDA on the show floor in Manhattan. Alternatively, video can be streamed to PCs in control rooms.

Unlike the SVG-400, the IVG-400 is portable. Also, the unit been ruggedized for in-vehicle use, and it supports PDAs. The gateway typically will be deployed with cameras mounted inside vehicles, according to Tahan. Each IVG-400 supports as many as four cameras, as opposed to 16 cameras for the SVG-400.

SerVersions video compression combines MPEG video compression with the companys own proprietary compression scheme. Other capabilities of the IVG-400 include DVR (digital video recording), a removable hard disk, a panic button and remote PTZ camera control from either PDAs or PCs.

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Now on the drawing boards at SerVision is a third video gateway product, which will provide home-based surveillance. "Then, youll be able to see whats happening at your house from anywhere," Tahan said.

Meanwhile, three large airports–two in Europe and one in Australia—are deploying new software from iOmniscient that aims to add software-based smarts to video surveillance.

At many transportation facilities today, surveillance systems are still monitored by human beings, who may be asked to keep an eye on dozens of video displays simultaneously, said Dr. Rustom A. Kanga, CEO of iOmniscient.

Furthermore, airports and railroad stations often get crowded, making it even easier for a culprit to set down a suspicious package–containing a bomb, perhaps–without being detected, he said.

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