Border agency tests monitors

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"A moving target"

The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection will embark on a pilot project to automate the monitoring of intrusions along the border.

VistaScape Security Systems won a contract for software that analyzes border videos and sensors to present a single, real-time image of the region. Based on policies set by the border agency, VistaScape's Security Data Management System software recognizes events from streams of data and maps the events for a single agent to monitor.

"They are faced with this challenge of scaling their surveillance," VistaScape's chief executive officer Glenn McGonnigle said. "They want to watch more things."

The initial test covers one sector along the U.S. border with Mexico. McGonnigle declined to disclose the amount of the contract, but said it was the largest deal in the Atlanta-based company's history.

Border officials can use the Secure Data Management System to set policies, such as which objects can cross a certain part of the border at a certain time. The software then takes the unstructured data from video streams and pulls out structured data, such as the size, time and location of an object on the border. That information is plotted on a three-dimensional display at a console, allowing a single agent to monitor the area, McGonnigle said.

The software also can trigger surveillance of a specific camera based on an intrusion and send alerts to the nearest personal data assistant, he said.

VistaScape's product is meant to save the agency money by cutting down on the work and time spent by border agents watching hundreds of security cameras and motion sensors.

"It's really the only way we are going to be able to handle the scale of border security cost-effectively," McGonnigle said.

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