Monday, August 07, 2006

Video, sound advances aimed at war on terror

Associated Press
NISKAYUNA, N.Y. - It sounds like something out of science fiction.
Researchers at General Electric Co.'s sprawling research center are creating new "smart video surveillance" systems that can detect explosives by recognizing the electromagnetic waves given off by objects, even under clothing.
Scientist Peter Tu and his team are also developing programs that can recognize faces, pinpoint distress in a crowd by honing in on erratic body movements and synthesize the views of several cameras into one bird's eye view, as part of a growing effort to thwart terrorism.
"We're definitely on the cutting edge," said Tu, 39. "If you want to reduce risk, video is the way to do it. The threat is always evolving, so our video is always evolving."
Scientists at the GE complex - a landscaped, gated campus of laboratories and offices spread out over 525 acres and home to 1,900 scientists and staff - and others in the industry hope to use various technologies to reduce false alarms, cut manpower used on mundane tasks and give first-responders better tools to assess threats. The country's growing security needs also provide an opportunity to boost business.
The United States and its allies now face a new "Iraq generation" of terrorists who have learned how to make explosive devices, assassinate leaders and carry out other mayhem since the U.S. invasion of the country more than three years ago, said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Bush administration who now runs his own consulting business in Arlington, Va.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

MTA New York City Transit to Begin Video Surveillance Aboard Buses

With an eye toward enhancing customer and employee security, MTA New York City Transit is set to begin a $5.2 million pilot project that will put advanced video surveillance equipment onboard 400 Manhattan buses. If the pilot is successful, cameras could be installed in the entire 4,500 bus fleet.

“Video surveillance is a vital part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s ongoing effort to maintain a transit network that is as safe and secure as possible,” said MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow. “Utilizing the latest in proven technology, our suppliers are working closely with us to develop the most effective means of securing the MTA transportation system.”
The pilot system, created by Integrian, Inc., of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, will offer a visible crime deterrent, while also providing a state-of-the-art electronic tool that will aid in the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity aboard the vehicle. The first six test buses are expected to be outfitted in late August.

A little less than a year ago, NYC Transit’s Department of Buses began the process of selecting the best solution for the provision, installation, ongoing maintenance and data management of a Bus Camera Security System. As designed, the integrated surveillance system will include multiple interior cameras, a forward-facing camera showing the bus operator’s view and a digital video recorder (DVR).

“Video surveillance has clearly been shown to deter criminal activity on buses and we also believe that it will be extremely valuable in investigating accident injury claims,” said NYC Transit President Lawrence G. Reuter. “But we must also acknowledge the potential threat of terrorist activity on public transportation vehicles. We saw how London Transport video was effectively used to identify suspects in the July 2005 attacks.”

Two depots supporting 400 buses will be included in the initial pilot. Michael J. Quill Depot and 100th Street Depot buses provide service for 50% of Manhattan’s bus riders. Based on the results of the pilot program and funding availability, an expansion option would increase the number of buses to 960 operating out of five depots. The project could expand to 126th Street, Manhattanville, and Mother Clara Hale Depots so all Manhattan routes would be camera-equipped. The pilot’s success will determine if the use of cameras is expanded to the entire NYC Transit bus fleet, which includes 18 depots and approximately 4,500 buses.
One of the more challenging requirements for the Bus Camera Security System was the necessity to have video stored and available for retrieval from the bus for a period of 90 days. Most transit systems store information for less than ten days. Additionally, any event-based video must be removed from the bus via a wireless network during the four minute refueling at the depot in the evening.

Finally, the successful vendor was required to provide a turnkey video data management service to NYC Transit. Integrian’s TransitCam solution was able to comply with these requirements with ease as a similar solution has already been employed at New Jersey Transit.
“This project underscores the range of products and services Integrian is able to provide,” said Bob Bradley, Integrian’s VP of Sales and Business Development. “After such an extensive evaluation and selection process, we are honored to have earned NYC Transit’s business through the hard work of the Integrian team combined with a highly capable and flexible TransitCam product.”

Integrian is recognized for its pioneering technology in mobile digital video. In addition to the TransitCam product suite for bus, light rail and rail applications, Integrian’s DigitalPatroller is widely known in the public safety market for its rugged, reliable operation and exceptional data management system.

For more information on bus cameras, customers can listen to a podcast on the program by logging onto NYC Transit’s podcast service TransitTrax at