Safe to fly
A fresh way of analysing security information is being developed with the help of Heathrow Airport. Known as TASS - it brings together different sources of data and offers security experts a single interface to see what is happening on the ground.
Andy Cowen, Security Development Manager at Heathrow, described the new technology: "The TASS system is a new way of taking data and feeds from existing airport systems bringing them all into one place. Any big airport could benefit from it. It could deliver information to a single user, could have the opportunity to bring synergies across lots of systems, and also potentially reduce manpower by decreasing the amount of resources that are required to operate and monitor these systems on an ongoing basis."
The airport operator programmes the system to make connections between data sources and highlight potential threats in real time.
Gideon Hazzani, Director of New Business Technologies at VERINT (the company behind the project), explained the benefits of the system: "If there is an emerging threat the alert will be shown in real time. Different alerts will be displayed with different colours representing different risk levels, red is high risk. The other screens can show different information, for example there is a 3D visualisation, all the terminal, indoor and outdoor, is modelled by one of our technological partners."
The TASS test sensors at Heathrow monitor everything from cargo to car parks added Hazzani: "We have the location of the different vehicles, even the location of passengers - anonymously - but we can see the flow of passengers inside the terminal. We may also see the location of airplanes."
The system - conceived in an EU research project - is designed to complement existing airport security systems already in place.