When it comes to airport security, there is a critical need for technologies that detect exterior threats and protect the perimeter. By using an advanced FLIR perimeter intrusion detection system, airports receive unmatched threat recognition, target tracking, perimeter defense and response capabilities. The result is greater efficiency, exceptional safety and enhanced customer experience for passengers, employees, aircraft and facilities.

Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is the gateway to Silicon Valley, providing transportation to 15 million passengers annually. SJC is recognized within the industry as one of America’s fastest‐growing major airports over the past four-year period, based on percentage increase in passenger seat capacity.

Perimeter security upgrade

Located in San Jose California, SJC is a robust engine of economic stimulus, transportation and international commerce. The airport is within an 18-mile radius of 6,600 technology companies in Silicon Valley and serves travelers employed by many of the world’s Fortune 500 enterprises, including Apple, Google, Facebook and Intel.

Ensuring secure operations is critical to the success and customer experience of SJC users. The airport occupies 1,050 acres of land and its perimeter spans six miles. With such a vast property and a high throughput of traffic, protecting the perimeter from external threats is essential.

Driven by high-profile intrusion incidents, perimeter security has become a top priority for airports in recent years. From 2004-2016, there were 345 perimeter breaches at 31 major U.S. airports, according to a report by the Associated Press. Like many airports around the country, SJC also faced challenges and crises of illegal trespassing of unauthorized individuals, despite the airport meeting all federal security regulations. This raised concerns about passenger safety.

Mineta San Jose International Airport

With a heightened need for better perimeter protection, SJC launched a multi-million dollar, three-phase initiative to upgrade its entire outdoor perimeter security system. The first two phases focused on physical upgrades to the fence line, raising 10,000 linear feet of fence from seven feet to 11 feet in critical areas of the airport.

FLIR Elara FC-Series ID, ioi HD Analytics, Triton PT-Series cameras with FLIR Latitude Network Video Management System

FLIR Elara FC-Series ID, ioi HD Analytics and Triton PT-Series cameras with FLIR Latitude Network Video Management System provide multiple layers of protection. Phase three was designated for fence technology enhancements through state-of-the-art video surveillance and detection systems.

In response to the cluster of perimeter breaches within a relatively short time period, our evaluation showed that the airport perimeter, with its seven-foot-tall fence, was indeed technically in compliance with current federal security requirements,” said Airport Deputy Director of Operations Bob Lockhart. “However, we also recognized some opportunities to improve the effectiveness of our perimeter, both from a perception perspective, as well as an actual strengthening of some of our perimeter,” he continued.

Trial with various security solutions

To find the best fence line analytic detection technology, SJC consulted National Alliance for Safe Skies, Inc. (Safe Skies), which is a federally funded non-profit organization that assists airports in the research, testing and evaluation of security technologies.

SJC’s partnership with Safe Skies began in 2014 when the non-profit first discussed the airport’s perimeter security needs. Safe Skies was later tasked to review a variety of perimeter defense systems to determine what solutions would be most effective at SJC.

Safe Skies tested and evaluated six different types of technology on-site including, thermal cameras, thermal cameras with video analytics, behavioral video analytic systems, pressure sensor buried cables, laser detection systems and wireless cameras. Each system was tested for two weeks, and Safe Skies presented a performance report to SJC for each one. After a detailed analysis, SJC selected an end-to-end perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) from FLIR Systems Inc.

FLIR PIDS solution

The FLIR PIDS solution is composed of 57 FLIR Elara FC-Series ID thermal analytic cameras and 50 FLIR ioi HD Analytics Bullet cameras along the fence line. The system also includes four FLIR Triton PT-Series dual sensor cameras with thermal and visible light sensors with pan-tilt tracking.

For the SJC deployment, Latitude VMS integrates with the Software House’s C-CURE access control platform

All of this technology fully integrates into the existing FLIR Latitude Network Video Management System, which is part of the FLIR United VMS family of products. As an ONVIF Profile S compliant platform, Latitude VMS enables seamless integration with edge devices and third-party systems.

For the SJC deployment, Latitude VMS integrates with the Software House’s C-CURE access control platform.

Distinguishing between an animal and human

The additional thermal and infrared camera coverage has greatly enhanced our abilities to detect unauthorized activities around the perimeter of our airfield,” Lockhart explained. Ken Castle, Vice President of business development at Ojo Technology, the systems integrator for the project, also described the advantages of the FLIR thermal technology. “Thermal cameras provide the data and visual confirmations that are lacking from so-called traditional fiber-based ‘shaker fence’ systems, which generate alarms when objects strike a fence or something creates vibration,” Castle explained. “The problem is that such alerts could be caused by dogs, wildlife, bicyclists bumping into the fence, tree branches or winds—none of which pose security threats.”

Castle continued, “With thermal cameras, the embedded analytics can immediately distinguish between an animal at 50 yards and a human at 300 yards, following their direction of movement. The viewing trajectory can be narrowed to cover just the fence, or widened to include territory in front of or behind the fence. The bottom line is that thermal analytics provide definitive visual information and virtually eliminate unnecessary or inconsequential alerts.”

Thermal cameras continue to be the industry standard for 24/7 perimeter monitoring and the technology is a key part of SJC’s PIDS solution.

Installation of a perimeter fence technology system

In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration awarded SJC an $8.1 million grant for the design, purchase and installation of a perimeter fence technology system. Deployment of the FLIR PIDS solution began shortly thereafter.

The project had an initial 150-day or a five-month turnaround with work beginning around the holidays in December 2016. As the systems integrator, Ojo Technology oversaw the phased commissioning of the project.

Ojo engineers preconfigured the cameras and servers, programmed the analytics for all thermal cameras, tested the functionality of each camera under a variety of lighting conditions, and worked with the airport security command center and its systems subcontractor to incorporate the new cameras into the existing network. Installation was completed in the fall of 2017, and, afterward, Ojo worked closely with FLIR and SJC to fine-tune the system for optimal functionality.

Integrator for PIDS

With such an aggressive schedule, Ojo Technology was instrumental in seeing the PIDS solution deployment through,” said Daniel Gundlach, Vice President and General Manager of security at FLIR. “Likewise, the collaboration, technical skill and ingenuity among the FLIR, SJC and Ojo teams was remarkable and a key reason why the project is such a success.”

Upon detection of an object approaching the fence line, the FC-Series ID thermal camera, initiates an analytic alarm hand-off

The success of a technical solution like the San Jose Airport PIDS project is dependent upon a strong partnership among all participants—from FLIR as the manufacturer to the integrator to the end user,” said Neil Roberts, FLIR security director for the PIDS deployment. “In this case, all parties were committed to seeing this project through to the end and addressing any technical needs that arose along the way.”

Threat recognition and response

The advanced FLIR PIDS solution is designed to deliver superior threat recognition and response. Upon detection of an object approaching the fence line, the FC-Series ID thermal camera, initiates an analytic alarm hand-off to the PT-Series camera for auto-tracking.

The FLIR HD cameras provide a color visual of the target for identification and verification. Through Latitude VMS, security operators manage response capabilities such as alarm functions, notifications and real-time interactive alarm maps.

Video monitoring with perimeter intrusion detection

SJC has used FLIR cameras and Latitude products for many years,” said Lockhart. “We appreciate our FLIR end-to-end solution and the ability to expand our current camera system with new perimeter cameras to enhance our current video monitoring and provide additional perimeter intrusion detection.”The safety of passengers, airline employees and service workers is greatly enhanced"

A defining feature of the airport’s PIDS solution was that all technology components were provided by FLIR, which created an advantage for integration and solution performance.

Open platform software management system

An all-FLIR system provided a tight integration to accomplish the goal of heightening security for the airport,” Castle said. Castle continued, “In theory, an open platform software management system can accommodate a variety of camera manufacturers and models in addition to ancillary security systems such as access control, intrusion alarms, public address and intercom systems, and blue light emergency phones. However, in actuality, the integration of various third-party components can be challenging as different brands of firmware in varying camera models and manufacturers don’t always provide consistent levels of performance, such as resolution and other features. This can be avoided entirely by deploying one end-to-end solution from a single manufacturer.”

The upfront and early design services that FLIR offers through sales support engineers and through our Raven Site Planning Tool help reduce the risk of non-conformance and ensure design stays on budget. The end result is optimal system performance and peace of mind,” Roberts from FLIR explained. “At FLIR, we strive to be the airport’s trusted partner not just for today’s security needs, but also for the future.”

Enhanced security and safety at the airport

The solution provides ongoing visibility of vehicle and cycling traffic along the outer fence line, as well as the movement of aircraft, cargo loaders, delivery trucks and service vehicles within the perimeter,” Castle said. He added, “Bottom line is that the safety of passengers, airline employees and service workers is greatly enhanced, and the expanded situational awareness gives the airport more options for responding to potential areas of concern.”

Having successfully implemented a robust FLIR PIDS solution to protect the airport perimeter, SJC plans to execute more security improvements on the interior side of the airport.

Future upgrade

SJC has a robust network of security cameras throughout ticketing areas, Transportation Security Administration entry points, terminals, concourses and additional newly built airport areas. The airport is continually evaluating camera locations for upgrades to newer equipment to provide increased coverage or higher resolution camera views. Storage archivers and updated client workstations are also planned for as budgets get approved.

By partnering with FLIR, SJC is able to utilize the advanced technology available on the market to provide safety and security and ensure the airport remains a thriving transportation hub that attracts new travelers.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Which Security Technologies Are Becoming Outdated Or Obsolete?
Which Security Technologies Are Becoming Outdated Or Obsolete?

When technology performs a required task effectively, there is little reason to upgrade to the ‘next big thing’. In this regard, the physical security market is notoriously slow to change. Much of yesterday’s most robust and dependable equipment is still in place at thousands of customer sites, still performing as well as the day it was installed. However, there comes a point when any technology becomes outdated. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Which security technologies are becoming outdated or obsolete?

Physical Security And The Cloud: Why One Can’t Work Without The Other
Physical Security And The Cloud: Why One Can’t Work Without The Other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organization secure.

Hybrid Working And The Threat Of Desk Data
Hybrid Working And The Threat Of Desk Data

The transition to remote working has been a revelation for many traditional office staff, yet concerns over data security risks are rising. Mark Harper of HSM explains why businesses and their remote workers must remain vigilant when it comes to physical document security in homes. Pre-pandemic, home offices were often that neglected room in people’s homes. But now things are different. After the initial lockdown in 2020, 46.6% of UK workers did some work at home with 86% of those doing so because of the pandemic. Semi-Permanent workspaces Since then, many have found that over time, those semi-permanent workspaces have become slightly more permanent – with official hybrid working coming into effect for an assortment of businesses and their teams. The adoption of hybrid working can in fact be seen as one of the few positives to come from the pandemic, with less travel, more freedom and higher productivity top of the benefits list for businesses and their employees. The handling of sensitive documents, is a growing concern for office managers But those welcomed benefits don’t tell the whole story. The transition to remote working has undoubtedly impacted workplace security, with various touch points at risk. The handling of sensitive documents for example, is a growing concern for office managers. In simpler times, sensitive data was more or less contained in an office space, but with millions of home setups to now think about, how can businesses and their office managers control the issue of desk data? Physical document security As of January 2021, it’s said that one in three UK workers are based exclusively at home. That’s millions of individuals from a variety of sectors, all of which must continue in their efforts to remain data secure. With that, reports of cyber security fears are consistently making the news but that shouldn’t be the sole focus. There is also the underlying, but growing, issue of physical document security. The move to remote working hasn’t removed these physical forms of data – think hard drives, USBs and paper based documentation. A recent surge in demand for home printers for example, only exemplifies the use of physical documents and the potential security issues home offices are facing. Adding to that, research conducted in 2020 found that two out of three employees who printed documents at home admitted to binning those documents both in and outside of their house without shredding them. Data security concern Without the right equipment, policies and guidance, businesses are sure to be at risk Those findings present a huge data security concern, one that must be fixed immediately. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has since released guidance for those working from their bedrooms and dining tables. Designed to help overcome these challenges, the ‘security checklists’ and ‘top tips’ should be the first port of call for many. Yet throughout, the ICO make reference to ‘following your organization’s policies and guidance’ – highlighting that the onus isn’t solely on the individuals working from their makeshift offices. Office managers have a monumental task on their hands to ensure teams are well equipped within their home setups. Without the right equipment, policies and guidance, businesses are sure to be at risk. But it would be wrong to insinuate that unsecure desk data has only now become an issue for organizations. Modern office spaces Keeping clear desks has long been a battle for many office managers. In fact, clear desk policies are practiced in most modern office spaces, with it recognized as a key preventative to personal information being wrongly accessed and so falling foul of GDPR legislation. Throwing sensitive documents in the bin was never an option pre-pandemic However, the unsupervised aspect of home working has led to a potentially more lax approach to these policies, or in some cases, they can’t be followed at all. For those taking a more laid back approach, organization leaders must remind staff of their data security responsibilities and why clear desk policies have previously proven effective. Ultimately, throwing sensitive documents in the bin was never an option pre-pandemic and this must be carried through to home workspaces now. Securely destroy documents There are also concerns over the equipment people have access to at home. For example, without a reliable home shredding solution, data security suddenly becomes a tougher task. To add to that, several recommendations state that employees working from home should avoid throwing documents away by instead transporting them to the office for shredding once lockdown rules ease. While this is an option, it does pose further issues, with document security at risk of accidental loss or even theft throughout the transportation period, not to mention the time spent in storage. The best and most effective way to securely destroy documents is at the source, especially in environments where higher levels of personal data is regularly handled. Correct shredding equipment The recent findings on home office behavior represent a true security risk Only when home workers implement their own clear desk policies alongside the correct shredding equipment (at the correct security level), can both home office spaces and regular offices become data secure. Realistically, these solutions should, like the common home printer, become a staple in home office spaces moving forward. The likelihood is that many UK workers will remain in their home offices for the foreseeable future, only to emerge as hybrid workers post-pandemic. And while the current working environment is more ideal for some than others, the recent findings on home office behavior represent a true security risk to organizations. With this in mind, it’s now more key than ever for business leaders, their office managers and homeworkers to all step up and get a handle on home data security policies (as well as maintaining their standards back at the office) – starting with the implementation of clear desk policies. After all, a clear desk equals a clear mind.