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Controlling borders using advanced technology

Border station: pic Mediaworks

Countries are turning increasingly to sophisticated technology and processes to monitor the number of people, animals and goods crossing their borders. Here are a few examples of the latest state-of-the-art developments. 

A focus on Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is producing many benefits and global management consulting and professional services firm Accenture says custom agencies can also be using IoT to enhance their operations.

The Hamburg Port Authority located in Germany uses the technology to keep on top of cargo. Data is collected by the authority from sensors which are embedded into bridges, containers, roadways and vehicles, and then analysed. Once the analysis is complete, the findings can be delivered to officers remotely, as well as fed into schedules and assisting road authorities to channel traffic in more effective manners.

IoT can be used to detect criminal activity such as fraud, as Accenture notes: “For instance, IoT can check whether cargo actually moves along the declared routes or detect potential tampering by tracking unexpected temperature changes in containers.”

The use of D3S wearable RIID

Launched by technology firm Kromek, D3S wearable RIID (Radiation Isotope Identification Device) is a new piece of technology that is already helping official authorities around the world. So much so, that the New Jersey Port Authority and monitored the President of the United States throughout his trips across Europe.

Kromek stated: “Armed with the D3S wearable RIID, you are a walking gamma and neutron detector, able to detect even shielded sources and identify the isotopes used.”

RIID can detect radiological threats such as contamination and the smuggling of radioactive substances — helping to prevent terrorist attacks.

The D3S is much more sophisticated than the standard version due to its hand-free capabilities. Simply turn the detector on and then launch the accompanying app on your smartphone and the gadget will continuously scan for radiation without anyone needing to see it in operation or potential suspects to get suspicious — any alert of radiation can be picked up by your phone either sending an announcement into your earbud or simply vibrating.

The use of drones and holographic printers

News from the Annual Border Security Expo in Texas found company Zebra Imaging sells holographic printers for $1 million. According to the report, these machines were already being utilised at Border Control stations in El Paso, San Diego and Tucson — having initially been sold to the US military for use across Iraq and Afghanistan and producing some 14,000 images during missions throughout the Middle East.

To aid the border, Zebra Imaging says that the technology uses drones to have an aerial view of the area at question. That photo is then printed using the holographic printer, which can then be used to gain a better understanding of the landscape and to deploy effective missions if necessary.

“Holograms do not save lives and they do not stop bullets, but what they do is give people a cognitive idea of what’s going on around them physically. We provide you that visual sense of presence — a hologram looks so natural, you think it’s a solid model. Your brain thinks it’s a full model even though you know intellectually it’s a light pad” was one comment from the Director of Government Relations at Zebra Imaging, Rick Black.

As this will give a greater insight of the entire premises, this could be used for training purposes also. Mr Black underlined this point by showing a 3D image of some borderlands in Arizona at the San Antonio expo, complete with vivid mountains.

“This provides a 360-degree full view,” Mr Black acknowledged. “It’s to give the agents a presence of where they are so if they’re doing a mission plan, for instance, when I point here you all know exactly where I’m pointing.”

This article was supplied under the terms of the DB Direct service

 



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