Security at major events in the digital age: a high-tech platform to support human decision-makers
Mass gatherings such as international sporting events and pilgrimages to holy sites can attract literally millions of people. For organisers and host cities alike, it's a constant challenge to keep all these people safe and secure from potential risks such as terrorist attacks, crowd surges and dangerous levels of congestion on public transport systems. The new digital platform from Thales seamlessly integrates all types of security systems and services to keep the public safe and make sure major events go off without a hitch.
From physical risks to cyberthreats
The range of threats that can disrupt major international events – terror attacks, crowd movements, transport system congestion, cyberattacks and malicious use of drones – is broader and more diverse than ever before. Security systems need to become increasingly sophisticated to keep pace with this evolving threat landscape, so that event locations, public spaces and transport systems are protected at all times, and participants can attend in comfort and safety.
Today we have the technology to meet these challenges.
Along with intelligence-gathering in advance of events, access control systems – using scanners, identity recognition, gate monitors and on-the-fly detection systems to avoid slowing down flows of people entering a site – remain the most widespread method for preventing a terror attack.
It's also important to be able to detect suspicious packages or unusual activity in a throng of people so that response teams can be dispatched quickly and a security perimeter can be established. Thales’s new digital platform meets this challenge by integrating a vast array of physical and virtual sensors ranging from video cameras, audio sensors, radars, intrusion detection and access control systems to cyberthreat detection sensors, social media analysis tools and citizen alert apps for smartphones. The platform aggregates and analyses huge volumes of information using Big Data and artificial intelligence technologies (video analytics, event correlation, prediction tools, etc.) to provide a real-time overview of the situation and help security system operators to make the right decisions at the right time. Also thanks to digital technologies, many threats can be anticipated and defused by analysing social media feeds, and citizens can be alerted to danger and report suspicious activity themselves via a dedicated portal.
Sensors deployed at sensitive sites and sophisticated data analytics techniques enable city authorities to manage flows of people and traffic intelligently and stay updated on the situation in real time.
New technology is now also available to prevent the growing threat of drone attacks on major events. Drones of any size can be detected by sophisticated sensors (including radar systems, video cameras, and electromagnetic detection systems), and neutralised by electromagnetic jamming solutions that present no risk to the public.
A new digital platform to optimise and strengthen the capabilities of security operators
The new security platform unveiled by Thales at Milipol Paris 2019 ties together all these different technologies in a private, public or hybrid cloud architecture that is open to third-party applications. The solution can deployed for event or site supervision, allowing law enforcement and security services to gather, process and analyse massive volumes of data at unprecedented speed before deciding what action to take.
The platform has a three-level structure:
At the lowest level, different types of conventional, sophisticated and virtual sensors capture information and feed it into the system.
Conventional sensors range from physical access control systems and weapon/metal detectors to video cameras and intrusion detection systems. More sophisticated sensors include radar systems, thermal imagers, sonars, drone detection systems, CBRN sensors, observation balloons, and communications interception systems.
Finally, virtual sensors such as cyberthreat detection probes are used to prevent cyberattacks, while citizen apps and social media analysis tools help provide advance warning of potential threats.
All these sensors supply data to the platform’s intermediate level, a secure “data lake” where a whole series of processing operations (video analytics, event correlation, prediction tools, etc.) analyse the data and automatically flag up events and limit the number of false alarms.
This intermediate processing level then feeds in to the top level, which offers three main functions to assist security operators: situational awareness, decision support, and response assistance.
The ultimate aim of Thales’s Security Digital Platform is to provide law enforcement and security services with a scalable, fully digital command and control centre – an integrated, automated security “war room” that helps them work together more efficiently and keep people and property safe at sensitive sites and major events.
“Thales’s new Security Digital Platform ties together all available sensors and services to manage data resources, crisis situations and emergency responses around the clock, in real time and with human operators always at the heart of the decision-making process.”
An event under close watch: the G20 in Brisbane in 2014
Thales contributed to the G20 security system in Brisbane (Australia), notably by managing the accreditation system for participants and staff. The solution included a network of smart gates, RFIDbadges and a secure data processing system.
A successful instance of event security management: the Brisbane G20 in 2014
The security of pilgrimages: Guadalupe
Pilgrimages carry major security risks and problems. Thales is active at the Notre-Dame de Guadalupe pilgrimage, in Mexico, by deploying mobile command centres assisted by mini-drones.