AbeoTS protects Potomac Basin

Sensor validation provided by IT-friendly Agent Vi video analytics
Thursday, May 1, 2008

HERNDON, Va.—Abeo Technical Solutions chief executive officer Bill Adams has been working with the TSA for eight years. In that time, "we've found that video analytics is an outstanding tool to help validate alarms from other systems, whether it's fence detection, radar, what have you," he said. "Analytics helps the operator understand the difference between a dog and a bear," something that was important to the folks at the Helena, Mont., airport for which Abeo integrated an improved security system.
Now, for the high-profile Potomac Basin Security System—an integrated security network funded by the Naval Air Systems Command and covering Reagan National Airport, Bolling Air Force Base, and the Washington Navy Yard—Adams and AbeoTS have chosen Agent Vi video analytics software, primarily because "it's important not to have to burden my customer," he said.
The burden he refers to is the expense and service required of servers, specifically the servers needed to process most video analytics. "Most high-end analytics," he reasoned, "they're streaming MPEG-4 video back to a server, and you may have to have a server for every camera to do the analytics. So, if you have 1,000-plus cameras, and you say 20 percent are going to run analytics, then you have to put in hundreds of Dell servers.
You can imagine the IT headache that creates. Just the heat alone those servers generate is a nightmare."
With Agent Vi, however, "you're not trying to move all that streaming video, you're just moving a small amount of metadata." This, he said, "allows us to run 150 cameras with analytics off a single server."
Further, this allows AbeoTS to use analytics in combination with other security infrastructure to better protect the Potomac. "Our theory is to find the problem as far out and as soon as you can, then validate that it's a security violation," said Adams. AbeoTS uses seismic, radar, or fence-line detection systems at airports, for example. ‘The problem," Adams said, "is that all of those systems are dumb systems, just a blob on the screen. But I can use the geospatial information and slew a camera over there with analytics, where I've pre-trained the background, and with a single PTZ, with pre-trained set points, I can associate the radar target with the PTZ," and the analytics can validate or refute the alarm without an operator becoming involved.
Inside a confined space, such as an airport terminal, AbeoTS similarly uses analytics tied to the access control system to validate a piggy-backing violation, this time using the analytics to identify the piggy-backing, then cross-checking to the credential presented to see if the employee has escort privileges, for example.
Of course, AbeoTS and Adams are already looking for the next leap in technology. "What we're excited about," he said, "is using analytics with other tools, like radar ... figuring out how to do analytics with some of the much wider tools, and give us more information than the blip on the screen." ssn