Applying Man-Overboard Technology to Long-Fall Detection Markets

Using Man Overboard Technology to detect long falls

In addition to having tremendous potential in the cruise line industry, man-overboard detection technology is directly applicable to other maritime and non-maritime applications.

The man overboard system from PureTech Systems utilizes a patented approach using geospatial video analytics and pairs of thermal imaging cameras which face each other. The synchronized video clips are then used to accurately detect a fall. At the same time, the system also ignores environmental interference, background imagery from various sea states or shoreline views and avoids false alarms due to normal operating conditions such as blowing debris, crew operations and other deck activity.

In addition to having tremendous potential to cater to the current requirements of the marine industry, man overboard technology is directly applicable to the broader safety category of “long-fall events” and applicable to many additional applications.

Reusing the Technology

Accurately detecting a human falling from a considerable height in an outdoor environment is not an easy problem.  An object falling from such heights can reach speeds of 70 mph.  A long-fall detection system therefore must be able to detect objects moving at these speeds, while accommodating for the surrounding environment, including varied weather conditions.  A reliable detection system must accurately detect human falls in all these situations, while avoiding false alarms and providing actionable data to react to the situation.

Key components of the man overboard detection solution which are applicable to other long-fall situations include the ability to determine an object’s real size, classification, location, speed and trajectory – confirmed via synchronized data from two independent camera views.

Other Maritime

Although cruise lines and ferries visiting U.S. ports and rated with passenger loads greater than 250 are the only vessels currently subjected to man overboard detection system mandates, smaller cruise ships and ferries, commercial ships, off shore platforms and even military vessels are all subject to a man overboard event.  Although not a mandate, many of these users may have the desire to install MOB systems for added safety or to reduce operational liability.  Video detection is highly scalable; to apply such a system design to these additional platforms merely requires a change in the camera mounting locations, and potentially a lens change.  For some markets, a lower cost camera may be a more appropriate choice to ensure both safety and affordability.

Jumper Detection on Bridges

Many other industries have the need to monitor for long falls of humans or dropped equipment, such as bridges, buildings, work sites and other industrial locations.

Bridges / Buildings

The use of long-fall technology on bridges, buildings and commercial sites is also directly applicable to the long-fall technology used for MOB events.  In these installations, additional savings may be realized as there may not be the need for higher priced marine-grade cameras, which have extra protection against extreme weather and a corrosive salt environment.

Anti-Boarding

Although cruise ships try to avoid operating into high risk areas, the threat of piracy, hijacking and kidnapping is still a safety issue which must be considered.  Ideally, detection and deterrence measures can be taken early to keep pirates at a safe distance from the vessel, but in situations where this cannot occur, or in the case of a covert boarding attempt, the same technology used to detect a person falling from a ship can also be used to help detect an illegal boarding attempt.

When used in this manner, the system is not recognizing a fall, but rather the class of the object (human, boat, etc.), along with location data, speed, trajectory and background modeling to determine if a person is moving upward, onto the ship.  If this is the case, the system can provide a video-based anti-boarding alarm for verification and immediate action by the crew.

Dropped Objects

When we think of long-fall events, we typically think of the unfortunate scenario where the falling object is a human.  However, many industrial operations have the need to monitor for dropped objects, including equipment that has been dropped.  In some cases, this could relate to a safety action like the sounding of an alarm or confirming that implemented safety processes are working.   It may be used to help find the equipment after it has been dropped, saving the time spent finding the lost item and/or the cost of replacement.  Other uses are not necessarily tied to the detecting of the drop itself, but rather to the idea that a tool or piece of equipment has been placed somewhere. In such instances, the video analytics can identify this dropped or placed object and provide a notification for future reference should the item be reported as misplaced.

In the case of dropped objects, versus human sized targets, the resolution of the video must be increased to accommodate the appropriate number of pixels to detect and differentiate the object from the background and environmental conditions.  Similarly, the distance at which the item may be detected will also decrease due to the smaller object size.

Detection Using Intelligent Video

The use of geospatial video further enhances the detection capabilities of this type of solution.  Geospatial video is the understanding of where each video pixel resides in “real” space – meaning latitude, longitude and elevation.  This adds another dimension to video analysis by allowing the software to not only understand the physical location of the object, but also the real size, the real speed and the real acceleration.  Therefore, although an object may be falling at the same expected speed of a human, a geospatial video solution can understand that this same object is too big or too small to be a human, and suppress the alarm.

The use of opposing cameras provides a means by which the video analytics can further confirm the event is happening on the ship itself, and is not something occurring in the background, such as on the water, in the sky or on the dock.  In addition to actually being detected in both images, an event occurring between two camera pairs must pass several additional tests for the duration of the fall – including time stamp, object size, object location, object speed, object type and fall trajectory – on both cameras within the pair before being considered an alarm, thus reducing false alarms.

The use of intelligent video for these long-fall scenarios also increases the overall understanding of the event when the alarm is raised to appropriate safety or security personnel.  Specifically:

Image Data – As humans, we inherently rely on vision as one of our primary senses; the human mind will rely on its sense of sight as a means to confirm any other data received.  Using video analytics for detection means data preferred for validation by a human – still images and looping video – is instantly available to reduce the time required to confirm the event.  To further ensure rapid verification, video analytic systems highlight the potential target with graphical “bounding boxes” on both still images and full motion video clips in order to quickly communicate what event raised the alarm.

Location Data – In addition to logging the GPS location of the vessel ship at the exact time of the event, video solutions leveraging geospatial data also provide insight as to the location where the event took place on the vessel or the structure itself.  Including location information with each alarm allows first responders to more quickly reach the incident location or confirm the point of origin.

Conclusion

The cruise line industry has recognized the need for man overboard detection systems which provide accurate detection and notification of falls from sea-going vessels.  This same video-based technology, which monitors thermal images, processes them using intelligent video algorithms and combines this data with geospatial techniques, is also readily applicable to other maritime industries, including ferry operators, oil platforms, commercial shipping and military vessels.  Other types of industries that have the need to monitor for long falls of humans or dropped equipment, such as bridges, buildings, work sites and other industrial location, can also benefit from this type of video detection technology.

Learn more about other types of intelligent video monitoring.

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Man-Overboard Detection and Monitoring

OVERVIEW: The cruise line industry has recognized the need for man overboard (MOB) detection systems and many manufacturers have invested research and development to create technology which results in accurate detection and notification, including the video-based system developed by PureTech Systems.  The result is a system with highly accurate detection and the capability to supply crew members with critical event location data to reduce the delay between the time of the event and the deployment of rescue procedures

Industry

Test Dummy for Man Overboard Testing

Man-overboard detection systems must reliably analyze real-time information with high accuracy to provide precise probability of detection with a minimal false alarm rate.

The marine industry has been innovating and implementing advanced state-of-the-art technologies to ensure safety of the people on board ships and other vessels.   Ships are constantly subjected to environmental and weather changes, and climate and waves tend to become rough and hazardous as a ship enters deep waters. During these difficult times, there is a high chance that a person might fall overboard.

A man-overboard (MOB) event may occur due to various reasons, some accidental, some intentional. In response, the U.S. government introduced regulations by signing the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) in 2010. The act introduced the requirement of automatic man-overboard detection/monitoring systems and operators’ need to record and track these types of events.

As a result of these regulations, many companies are now developing systems that can detect and sound an alarm in the case of man-overboard events. These systems must reliably analyze real-time information with high accuracy to provide precise probability of detection with a minimal false alarm rate.  The systems must also be affordable and easily installed, taking into account the minimal downtime available for cruise ship maintenance. Continue reading

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Anti-Boarding Alarms using Man Overboard Technology

Cruise Ships Address Anti-Boarding

Cruise line efforts as well as government mandates have called for the installation of man-overboard detection systems. These same systems can also be used to aid in anti-boarding efforts.

PureTech Systems currently addresses the issue of man overboard detection through the use of intelligent video technology.  Its man overboard (MOB) system captures images using thermal cameras surrounding the ship’s perimeter, extending from the lowest passenger deck to the waterline.  The result is a system that addresses a need in the cruise line industry to accurately and quickly detect and notify a ship’s crew of a possible MOB event.  However, this same technology can also address other problems within the maritime industry: piracy and unlawful boarding.  Although cruise ships try to avoid operating in high risk areas, the threat of piracy, hijacking and kidnapping is still a safety issue which must be considered.  Ideally, early detection and deterrence measures can be taken to keep pirates at a safe distance from the vessel, but in situations where this cannot occur, or in the case of a covert boarding attempt, the same technology used to detect a person falling from a ship can also be used to help detect an illegal boarding attempt.

The Technology

The man overboard system from PureTech Systems utilizes a patented approach using geospatial video analytics and pairs of thermal imaging cameras which face each other. The synchronized video clips are then used to not only accurately detect a fall, but also to ignore environmental interference, background imagery from various sea states and shoreline views as well as avoiding false alarms due to normal operating conditions such as blowing debris, crew operations and other deck activity.

The threat of piracy, hijacking and kidnapping is still a cruise ilne safety issue

Although cruise ships try to avoid operating in high risk areas, the threat of piracy, hijacking and kidnapping is still a safety issue which must be considered.

Key components of the solution, including the ability to determine an object’s real size, classification, location, speed and trajectory – confirmed via synchronized data from the two independent camera views – have a secondary benefit; mainly the ability to also act as anti-boarding detection system.  When used in this manner, the class of the object (human, boat, etc.) is used, along with location data, speed, trajectory and background modeling to determine if a person is moving upward, onto the ship.  If this is the case, the system can provide a video-based anti-boarding alarm for verification and immediate action by the crew.

The solution also has the capability to identify and suppress alarms on events which may exhibit traits of an anti-boarding event, but in fact are a result of normal crew operation, such as a worker performing maintenance on the outside of the vessel.  Additional intelligence applied to the specific actions of the worker, such as the deck at which he begins maintenance, crew change confirmation and direction of movement, can remove these maintenance actions as potential anti-boarding alarms.

Industry Acceptance

Technology for anti-boarding and piracy

The solution also has the capability to identify and suppress alarms on events which may exhibit traits of an anti-boarding event, but in fact are a result of normal crew operation

Current industry actions around man overboard will likely have a positive effect on anti-boarding technology, as well.  Industry regulations and mandates have created an increased need for MOB systems, which will be required on all cruise ships carrying more 250 passengers which stop at a U.S. port. It’s also likely that international mandates will follow.  Most cruise lines operating under these conditions have been testing MOB systems extensively over the last year to help them determine the best system which will meet their operating needs, and to understand how best to install and incorporate these systems into their safety procedures.  Most will begin formal purchasing with the expected release of the ISO MOB standard, anticipated before the end of 2017.  As part of selecting these systems, cruise lines are evaluating how to get the biggest value from these required expenditures.  One means is selecting an MOB system which can also aid in their protection against anti-boarding capability.  Having a system which can perform both MOB detection and alert on potential unwanted boarding can create a larger return on their investment.

Conclusion

For many markets, including the cruise line industry, safety and security are always difficult value propositions as systems designed to meet these requirements don’t add to the company’s’ profits and the loss associated with these events are subject to probabilities.  When budgets become tight, these types of systems don’t typically make the cut.  However, the ability to use a single technology to meet several safety and security needs can ease the purchase burden and result in a safer environment for the passengers and the crew.  The use of intelligent video to achieve both man overboard detection and alarming against anti-boarding is one such example.

LEARN MORE – WHITE PAPER MAN OVERBOARD DETECTION

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Testing MOB Detection Systems with OSCAR

Man Overboard Detection Test

Man overboard detection systems are a revolutionary jump in the detection and response to an MOB event

“Man overboard!” is an exclamation given aboard a vessel to indicate that someone has fallen off of the ship and is in need of rescue. Traditionally when a man overboard event occurs, the person who sees the fall shouts, “Man overboard!” and the call is then repeated by everyone within earshot, even if they have not seen the event. This is intended to be repeated until everyone on deck has heard the man overboard (MOB) call.

Until recently, this same process continues to be utilized with only a few advancements through the use of ship-wide alarms. However, recent technology advancements have enabled the development and deployment of man overboard detection systems which can instantly detect an MOB event, provide supporting evidence to the crew, facilitate a ship-wide notification and provide information valuable for rescue efforts.  Such systems are a revolutionary jump in the detection and response to an MOB event, but how exactly does one go about testing such a system to ensure they actually work?  Do these technology companies hire Acapulco cliff divers to jump from ships?  Let’s take a closer look at how man overboard detection systems are tested.

Who is OSCAR?

OSCAR Man Overboard Test Dummy

“OSCAR” is a man overboard rescue dummy used for simulating man overboard events.

Crazy enough, people have jumped off cruise ships in order to facilitate the testing of man overboard detection systems.  However, from a practicality standpoint, using real humans is not the safest or most efficient approach, especially when testing the range of potential conditions in which an MOB may occur.  So how does one simulate a real fall from a cruise ship or other maritime vessel?  Meet OSCAR.

OSCAR is 6 feet tall, weighs about 180 pounds, and although he may have a somewhat odd appearance, he is very effective at his job.  OSCAR is a man overboard rescue dummy used for simulating man overboard events and performing open water rescue training.  OSCAR is designed and built to simulate a realistic look and feel of a typical adult human. To achieve his 180-pound physique, Oscar is filled with water, which can also be heated to truly mimic the core temperature of a real human. After testing, the water is removed, and OSCAR becomes very manageable for transport and storage at 35 pounds.

Another unique aspect of OSCAR is his ability to change form.  Removing some of his appendages is possible by merely unscrewing a bolt, allowing OSCAR to reduce his height and weight to simulate a small child or even an infant.  As cruise lines continue to expand their marketing strategies to make cruising a desired activity for the entire family, the ability for man overboard detection systems to be effective for a range of body sizes becomes more important.

Man Overboard Testing with OSCAR

Luckily, man overboard events are not a common occurrence; however, when they do happen, detection systems must be very accurate to not only detect the event, but also avoid false alarms.  To ensure this level of performance, MOB systems subject themselves to extensive testing scenarios.  These scenarios typically fall into several testing categories:

Environmental Testing – Cruise lines try to operate in ideal conditions, but they still experience a wide range of air temperatures, water temperatures, weather (rain, fog), lighting situations (day, night, cloudy) and sea conditions (sea states).

Fall Characteristic Testing – Ships come in many different sizes and configurations and falls may occur from a few meters above the water line to over 200 feet in height, at the stern, the bow or anywhere along the sides of the vessel.  The victims may range from young children to adults.

OSCAR - MOB Testing

On board testing of man overboard detection using OSCAR

Operational Avoidance Testing – Ships have a variety of operational procedures that occur on the sides of the ship.  These include cleaning, maintenance operations and crew changes.  As such, detecting an MOB event is more complex than just identifying activity that is occurring outside of the ship’s deck rails.  To ensure timely response to events, these operational procedures must be understood and tested to ensure they are not the cause of an unwanted MOB alarm.

The result is an extensive matrix of potential testing scenarios, all of which are within OSCAR’s testing capabilities.  Here is a typical MOB test using OSCAR.

  • Prior to tossing OSCAR overboard, a heating blanket is often used to heat OSCAR to the approximate temperature of a real human. This characteristic is often exploited by MOB systems utilizing thermal cameras.  In some cases, OSCAR may even wear clothing to further mimic an actual human.
  • One end of a climber quality rope is securely fastened to the railing on the deck at intended test height. The other end of the rope will be attached to OSCAR. (You don’t want to lose OSCAR at sea!)
  • The rope should be long enough so OSCAR can fall the full distance, but not enter the water. Entering the water when the ship is in motion can cause excessive force on the rope, the point of attachment and OSCAR himself.
  • Prior to tossing OSCAR overboard, the rope should be neatly spooled on the deck, clear of all personnel and other obstacles. It’s also a good idea to use a knot that is easily released.
  • All personnel need to stand clear of the dummy and the rope before tossing him overboard, as a 180-pound object falling from a considerable height carries with it a large amount of force.
  • At 180-pounds, it is difficult to actually “throw” OSCAR overboard, but a simple drop or push is all that is required to simulate a typical fall.
  • OSCAR is then retrieved by pulling the rope onto the deck.
  • All pertinent data at the time of the test is then documented.
Man Overboard Rescue Flag

The flag representing the letter “O,” or “OSCAR”, is reserved for the communication of a man overboard event.

The test is then repeated, taking into account the various environment conditions, fall characteristics and operational events listed earlier.

How OSCAR got his name

At this point you may be asking how OSCAR got his name.  Why didn’t we name him Fred or Bernie?  Actually, the name dates back to the era when flags were used on the open seas to communicate between ships.  The system evolved over centuries into a comprehensive, internationally-recognized flag signaling system functional for military and non-military purposes.  Today, the International Code of Signals is an internationally-understood system comprised of 26 square code-letter flags for each letter of the alphabet (A-Z). There are also ten numeral pennants, one answering pennant, and three repeaters.  Each letter of the flag alphabet is also assigned a phonetic codeword from the ICAO phonetic alphabet.

So, what does this have to do with OSCAR’s name?  Part of the system includes single flag codes, whereby the use of an individual flag represents a message or condition.  Over the years, the flag representing the letter “O,” or “OSCAR”, was reserved for the communication of a man overboard event.  Hence, the origin of our rescue dummy’s name.

If you’d like to learn more about man overboard detection systems, including the technology behind their detection capability, you can find more in our white paper on man overboard detection.

Man Overboard Testing Dummy Resting

OSCAR resting after a long day of man overboard testing

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Man Overboard – Technology Suppliers Are Not the Only Ones Taking Actions

Obama Signing Cruise Security ActThe marine industry, considered to be one of the most dangerous industries, has been innovating and implementing advanced state-of-the-art technologies to ensure safety of the people on board ships and vessels.  Ships are constantly subjected to environmental and weather changes, and climate and waves tend to become rough and hazardous as a ship enters deep waters. During these difficult times, there is a high chance that a person might fall overboard.  A man-overboard event might occur due to various causes, such as unexpected ship movement, a loss of balance, slippery deck floors, and in some cases, people might deliberately jump off the ship in an attempt to commit suicide.  Technology providers are actively developing and testing systems to aid in the detection and response to such events, but they are not the only institutions taking actions. Continue reading

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Man Overboard Integration and Crew Notification

Man overboard events (MOB) can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water to over 180 feet.  Falls from these heights can injure and often kill the victim.  MOB events may be reported by a bystander or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  This information must all be verified by the crew before taking action, which can take a considerable amount of time.

Cruise Ships must turn around in the event of a man overboard

The Williamson Turn is one of several maneuvers made when a man overboard event is detected. It is effective, but is a slower maneuver.

Consider these facts:

  • The typical stopping distance of a cruise ship is 1 mile.If it takes 15 minutes to confirm an MOB event, a ship may have moved 7 miles from the original fall location.
  • A typical man overboard detection system can report a MOB event in under 1 second.

Accurately detecting a human falling from a moving ship is not an easy problem to solve, but it is now achievable with recent technology efforts, including the use of video analytics, as patented in the man overboard detection system developed by PureTech Systems.  Man overboard systems such as these use thermal video from dedicated MOB cameras to intelligently evaluate potential fall events, while filtering out environmental conditions (rain, waves, sea spray, debris) and normal crew activity (crew changes, maintenance). Continue reading

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Man Overboard Detection for Cruise Ship Safety

Most of us have gone on a cruise vacation or know of a close friend or relative who has done so.  Cruising is a popular vacation option enjoyed by families and individuals throughout the world.  What is not so well known, though, is the fact that man overboard events continue to be a common occurrence within the cruise industry.  Since 2005,

Man Falling off a cruise ship

On average, 22 people fall off cruise ships every year. However, few cruise ships in operation today, have any form of system to detect these “man-overboard” events.

  • 268 Man Overboard Events have been reported.
  • On average, 22 people fall off a cruise ship every year.
  • 86% of those victims do not survive, or are never found.

Man overboard events (MOB) can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water to over 180 feet.  Falls from these heights can injure, render unconscious, or even kill the victim. Likewise, falls from ships operating along northern routes can expose the victim to extreme water temperatures, which can result in hypothermia and death.

Given these scenarios, one approach to increasing the survival rate of MOB events is to ensure accurate timely detection, followed by a rapid response protocol.  However, few cruise ships in operation today have any form of man overboard detection system.  Although they may have cameras and imaging systems to monitor activity on board the ship, these camera systems are primarily used for basic surveillance or evidential activities and are not designed to actively notify the ship’s crew in the instance of a man falling overboard.  In most cases, MOB events are reported by someone who happens to notice the fall, or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  This information must all be verified by the crew before taking action, which can take a considerable amount of time.

READ THE FULL WHITE PAPER HERE

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Detecting Man Overboard Events Using Video Analytics

Man Overboard Detection with Video Camera

Few cruise ships in operation today, have any form of system to detect man-overboard events, which on average, occur 22 times per year.

On average, 22 people fall off cruise ships every year.  However, few cruise ships in operation today have any form of system to detect these man-overboard (MOB) events.  MOB events are typically reported by someone who happens to notice the fall or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  Although ships typically have cameras and imaging systems to monitor activity on board the ship, these camera systems are not designed to detect a man falling overboard. Increasing the survival rate of MOB events requires accurate and timely detection, which can be achieved with the patented man overboard detection technology from PureTech Systems. Continue reading

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Mobile Border Surveillance

Mobile Border Surveillance ALERT Truck

Today’s surveillance needs have moved beyond the traditional fixed camera on a fence line. Sensors need to be smart, easy to set up, collaborative and able to move rapidly as threats move.  The use of mobile surveillance platforms, including truck- and trailer-based, provide increased surveillance during critical times and allow flexible incident response, without the large infrastructure costs and time required to install a complete fixed sensor perimeter.  Today’s mobile systems also deliver the same, or higher, detection capability and accuracy as its fixed location sensor brethren.  One such system, the ALERT Truck system, is an excellent example of a mobile surveillance platform which leverages geospatial technology with intelligent video, radar, precision distance and highly accurate cameras to provide world-class surveillance in a cost effective mobile package. Continue reading

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) grants “Full Operating Capability” of Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS)

RVSS and PureActiv receive approval from Customer and Border Protection (CBP)

RVSS deployed for protection across the southern U.S. border, utilizing PureActiv as its command and control and patented video analytics, receives Full Operating Capability from DHS’ Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Congratulations to our team here at PureTech Systems in light of the recent announcement that the Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) deployed for border protection across the southern border of the United States has been granted “Full Operating Capability (FOC)” by the U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The RVSS system consists of a series of elevated towers and structures equipped with advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors to provide persistent ground surveillance to Border Patrol agents.  An important component of the RVSS system is PureTech Systems’ Geospatial Video Management System for Command and Control and the PureActivÒ patented video analytics used for real-time automated long range detection, classification, and tracking in support of  CBP’s mission along the U.S southern border.

Read the entire release HERE

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Video Analytics for Perimeter Surveillance

Critical Facilities have a continued need for efficient security, especially pertaining to protecting their perimeters. Facilities must actively monitor and respond to theft, unauthorized intrusions, safety events and potential terrorist activities. The ability to monitor a wide range of events over a vast amount of area in varied weather conditions, while accurately identifying potential threats and reacting is a complicated scenario. The solution calls for knowledgeable personnel and accurate sensors that work together to quickly assess a situation and react to it. This presentation looks at how video analytics can be used to address the perimeter surveillance needs for critical facilities.

Click here for other Presentations from PureTech Systems

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Protecting the Power Grid – Video Surveillance

The Department of Homeland Security said it well….

“Everything is dependent on electricity.  EVERYTHING.  Without electricity, we’re basically back in the 1850s.”

Most of us haven’t had to deal with not having electricity, internet, television, refrigeration or telephone so it’s often hard to imagine the chaos that might ensue if the power grid were to experience a major issue.

This presentation explores ways to protect the power grid.  We’ll look at the various aspects of NERC CIP014 and how intelligent video surveillance solutions (video analytics) can be deployed to address these vulnerabilities.

Interested in reading more about protecting the power grid?

Read our Case Study – Substation Physical Security

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Measuring Service Duration with Intelligent Video

INDUSTRIES

Quick Lube, Auto Service, Fast Food, Pharmacies, Coffee Shops, Emission Testing Facilities

Intelligent Video as a means of monitoring service duration for express lube

Intelligent Video, as a means of monitoring service duration, provides valuable data including lane number, start of service, end of service, total service time and evidence images for entry and exit.

CHALLENGE:

We live in a faced paced society.  We want everything fast – fast information, fast coffee, fast money.  This need has given rise to the drive-thru era and continues to be the pacing metric for many service businesses including the quick lube industry. In addition to service quality, the express oil change industry competes on quickness of performing the oil change, or service duration.  This same metric is of interest to many other industries, which have drive-thru components, including fast food establishments, pharmacies, coffee outlets, emission testing facilities and other types of quick turn auto service locations. One way to increase customer satisfaction, implement process improvement, reduce labor costs and protect against loss is to monitor and manage service duration times.  The challenge is how to effectively and accurately measure this length of the service

SOLUTION

Turns out, there are several ways to measure drive-thru service. Continue reading

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Substation Security Automation

When addressing NERC CIP014 physical security requirements, substations and power transmission facilities must not only consider how to detect, deter and delay, but also the means to assess and respond.  A traditional approach to address these components of a security plan might rely on a security officer to perform these tasks.  However, when considering available funding and allocation of human assets, it is important to realize that today’s security technology can automate many of these tasks by quickly and effectively assessing, responding and deterring an intrusion event without requiring any interaction from security personnel.

Automated Security Camera Auto Follow on Thermal

Many of the actions required to verify and respond to an intrusion event can be automated through intelligent video and sensor control.

 Traditional Response Scenario

To understand the automation capability of today’s security systems, let’s first consider a typical intrusion scenario.  The first task is understanding a threat has actually occurred.  This may be accomplished by a security person physically monitoring video feeds, or some type of security sensor providing an intrusion warning.  When such a threat is detected, a series of operations are set in place to validate the threat and determine if it warrants action. Continue reading

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Substation Physical Security – CASE STUDY

Electric Substation NERC Physical Security

All parts of the power grid can become victims of a malicious events, but substations are particularly vulnerable due to their role in distribution and the nature of their equipment.

INDUSTRY:

Energy, Utilities, Power Transmission

CHALLENGE:

The power grid is a modern engineering marvel, providing us widely available and affordable energy for not only our day to day lives, but also highly critical infrastructure elements for which we rely on personally, and as an economy.  However, our reliance on the grid also makes it highly susceptible to adverse events, including physical attacks.  All parts of the grid can become victims of malicious events, but substations are particularly vulnerable due to their role in power distribution and the nature of their equipment.

The challenge power utilities worldwide are facing is finding an affordable solution, which can help detect, deter and facilitate an informed response to a substation security event.  In the United States, this need is furthered by the physical security mandate CIP-014 issued by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), calling for identification of security issues, vulnerability assessments and deployment of appropriate processes and systems to address. CIP-104 specifically calls for implemented security plans which include measures to deter, detect, delay, assess, communicate, coordinate and respond to potential physical threats and vulnerabilities.  Fortunately, there are many solutions to help power utilities address these security concerns, one effective choice is the use of intelligent video. Continue reading

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