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Three ways border control forces have received a helping hand through technology

14th November 2018 Print

Border control forces of a country or a bloc of countries will follow a set of measures which, in turn, enables nations to regulate the movement of people, goods and animals. Helping border control forces to carry out their very important work effectively has been various technological advancements. Here’s a look at three standout examples…

1. Holographic printers & drones

When VICE produced their report about the Tenth Annual Border Security Expo in San Antonio, Texas, they made reference to Zebra Imaging and their $1 million holographic printers. According to the report, these machines were already being utilised at Border Control stations in El Paso, San Diego and Tucson — having initially been sold to the US military for use across Iraq and Afghanistan and producing some 14,000 images during missions throughout the Middle East.

A Zebra Imaging spokesperson has described the technology by pointing out that a person or a drone is able to snap an aerial photograph of a border which has raised concern. That photo is then printed using the holographic printer, which can then be used to gain a better understanding of the landscape and to deploy effective missions if necessary. 

"Holograms do not save lives and they do not stop bullets, but what they do is give people a cognitive idea of what's going on around them physically,” commented Rick Black, the Director of Government Relations at Zebra Imaging. “We provide you that visual sense of presence — a hologram looks so natural, you think it's a solid model. Your brain thinks it's a full model even though you know intellectually it's a light pad.”

The spokesperson at Zebra Imaging goes on to acknowledge that the technology can act as optimal training tools too. This is because the immersive holographic images can function more effectively than either maps or models are able to. Mr Black underlined this point by showing a 3D image of some borderlands in Arizona at the San Antonio expo, complete with vivid mountains. "This provides a 360-degree full view,” Mr Black acknowledged. “It's to give the agents a presence of where they are so if they're doing a mission plan, for instance, when I point here you all know exactly where I'm pointing." 

2. The Internet of Things

What’s the first thing that jumps into your mind when you come across the phrase Internet of Things, or its acronym IoT? You may envision someone altering their home’s smart thermostat when sat at their office desk, or a person turning on a lightbulb using a smartphone app. However, global management consulting and professional services firm Accenture has acknowledged that custom agencies can also be using IoT to enhance their operations.

To demonstrate the technology, Accenture used Germany’s Hamburg Port Authority as a case in point. This is due to the organisation utilising the technology to improve how they monitor cargo and track journeys. Data is collected by the authority from sensors which are embedded into bridges, containers, roadways and vehicles, and then analysed. Once the analysis is complete, the findings can be delivered to officers remotely, as well as fed into schedules and assisting road authorities to channel traffic in more effective manners.

Analyse the data obtained from IoT operations and examples of fraud and other crimes may also be identified. Accenture explains: “For instance, IoT can check whether cargo actually moves along the declared routes or detect potential tampering by tracking unexpected temperature changes in containers.” 

3. The D3S wearable RIID

The D3S wearable RIID has been created by Kromek, a leading developer of high-quality nuclear detectors. It’s already been deployed by the New Jersey Port Authority and followed the President of the United States on one of his trips to Europe.

It’s claimed that the D3S wearable RIID is more powerful than a standard RIID, which means Radiation Isotope Identification Device. Furthermore, this piece of technology is designed to detect radiological threats such as radioactive contamination, dirty bombs, radiation at the scene of an accident or a terrorist attack, and the smuggling of radioactive substances.

Helping Kromek’s gadget to stand out even more is the fact that it’s an unobtrusive and hands-free piece of technology. Simply turn the detector on and then launch the accompanying app on your smartphone and the gadget will continuously scan for radiation without anyone needing to see it in operation or potential suspects to get suspicious — any alert of radiation can be picked up by your phone either sending an announcement into your earbud or simply vibrating.

“Armed with the D3S wearable RIID, you are a walking gamma and neutron detector, able to detect even shielded sources and identify the isotopes used,” Kromek stated when summing up the appeal of its D3S wearable RIID.