It takes a sharp systems integrator to identify trends and deliver the types of solutions users need, especially with constantly changing technologies. But with an eye toward what it calls an ongoing 'fusion' of security technologies, Los Alamos Technical Associates Inc., (LATA) in Chicago is on target in delivering security and advanced systems development and integration to its high-profile customers.
LATA, a well-known entity widely recognized with its corporate headquarters in Los Alamos, N.M., was established some 35 years ago and now has 10 offices in key locations in the U.S. LATA is a diversified engineering and technical services company serving a worldwide client base. As a consulting and IT-based company, its expertise includes video and analytics, access control and biometrics, and IT infrastructures and networks. The Chicago facility wades deep in emerging technologies with its customers-ranging from the city of Chicago and its many departments and sister agencies, county and municipal offices downtown and in surrounding suburbs, and commuter rail transportation agencies across the nation.
In Chicago, LATA primary team members Patrick D. Anderson, P.G., Director of Transportation Programs and Department Manager; Al Ruiz, Network Architect/Senior Project Manager; and Curt E. Barta, Senior Analyst/Project Manager keep tabs on new technologies, beta testing and scoping out specifications before deploying them to customers.
Emerging markets-security, security and more security
Anderson said an emerging and evolving market is, of course, security in and of itself, and he attributes that to ongoing threats and awareness of terrorism and the need to protect the general population, especially in public facilities and mass transit.
LATA keeps a fine focus on the transportation market in Chicago, recently receiving the go-ahead to design and implement a Global Positioning Train Location System Upgrade for METRA, the Northeast Illinois commuter rail service. LATA also was awarded a contract with the Cook County Government of Illinois to provide professional services for the Countywide Time and Attendance Project under the Office of Capital Planning and Policy.
"All types of security are on the upswing," said Anderson. "Biometric verification of identity and video, along with smart analytics, storage and automated alarms are important security tools. Security of the American public for any kind of travel is critical. Mass transit is a great means of transporting people and it also reduces the carbon footprint. But how do you keep it safe? Security markets that utilize fusion technology will continue to expand and include mass transit and public security in general."
Anderson said grants are available for some security initiatives, but it takes a concerted effort to find the monies. In other cases new initiatives need funding; automated train control is one mandate to railway transportation hubs across the country which hinges more on safety of passengers and crew members.
"Automated time and attendance for employees is another growing area. Industry statistics show that when a company or municipality changes from a paper-based time and attendance system to an automated system with biometric verification, they typically see their annual payroll shrink by approximately eight percent. We provide biometrics for some client automated time and attendance systems and they are pleased with the results," he said, due to great efficiencies and control over time and attendance.
Anderson said an ongoing goal of LATA is to investigate and research different types of technologies and tools for practical application. "There are many places technology can be applied to help entities better utilize their personnel (and their skills); provide a return on investment in hard numbers and even on soft costs."