Integrated Airport Security Can Mean Integrated Vendors

Tie-ins between competing vendors pushes forward options for cutting-edge systems

Chambers cites a well publicized incident from a few years ago in New York, when some recreational boaters with some kind of problem or emergency stumbled ashore and wandered onto the tarmac. They also went unnoticed by airport authorities for a long time. But under a scenario like a Cernium- VistaScape system, the perimeter breach would have been detected immediately, and shortly after, airport management would had information indicating that the intruders were acting more like lost souls than like terrorists.

Or, instead of proceeding from macro to micro information, a new event might first get picked up by the close-in behavioral analysis data, as with the detection of a passenger's wrong-way motion at a concourse exit, McGonnigle says. Such data then needs to be quickly coupled with a bigger picture, like what exact exit and concourse the behavior is occurring at.

Meanwhile, Vidient's McChesney agrees that integrated systems are what airport operators need. But "Cernium and Vistascape's partnership tells me that they acknowledge that they lack the capacity and technology to undertake an entire airport by themselves."

Both Cernium's Chambers and VistaScape's McGonnigle declined to respond to McChesney.

The problem many vendors are having is that they have long focused on one piece of the technological pie or another, McChesney adds. But Vidient has "been working feverishly" to do just that. In Tallahassee, the firm integrated data from a variety of sensors -- not just video -- and is fused it all onto a common "video backbone," McChesney says. So, command-center personnel in the center do not have to toggle between data streaming in from two or more situations to figure out what's actually going on.

"From day one," Vidient has worked at being able to combine different types of detection onto a common platform. Right now, "We believe we're the only ones that can do the entire facility," he says.

Another point McChesney makes is that a fully integrated airport security system is not just video. This includes data from sources such as GPS, worker card readers, biometrics, and license-plate recognition, to name a few.

For his part, McGonnigle agrees that thorough surveillance is not just about video cameras. Many firms, including his own, he admits, have been a little guilty of over-hyping the potential benefits of video analytics used alone. But it's becoming clearer that video is just one part of a comprehensive solution.

In a related development, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on April 12 distributed a "Request for White Papers for Airport Perimeter Security," seeking the development of more innovative technologies and the support of $4.7 million in new funding, according to the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). The white-paper submission deadline is rapidly approaching -- on May 5. For more information, or to obtain a copy of the TSA request, ACI-NA recommends contacting Charles Chambers, cchamers@aci-, or Elle Han,, who are both at (202) 293-8500.

>>Contacts: Ken Vondrasek, Cernium aviation systems manager, (314) 968- 5454 X103,; Wade Coleman, VistaScape communicaitons, (678) 919.2363;; Jan Wiedrick-Kozlowski (communications for Vidient), 585-392-7878,<<

[Copyright 2006 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.]

<<Air Safety Week -- 05/02/06>>