Smart video surveillance making gains

As the nation's land and seaports upgrade security to protect against terrorist attacks, more of them are turning to intelligent video surveillance software.

Broward County, Fla.'s Port Everglades selected ObjectVideo VEW software, from Reston, Va.-based ObjectVideo Inc., to protect its perimeter, the company said this week.

The Broward County win comes on the heels of a deal with the Jacksonville, Fla., Port Authority.

"Port Everglades is a dynamic environment, being located along the Intercoastal Waterway where there are many recreational crafts and tourists," said Raul Fernandez, chief executive officer of ObjectVideo. "To ensure security in such an environment requires adoption of technology and the type of forward thinking that Port Everglades has demonstrated."

Security One Systems Inc., an integrator based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will install the ObjectVideo system in Broward County. Quality Communications Fire and Security Inc., also of Fort Lauderdale, is handling the Jacksonville deployment.

Terms of the contracts were not available. In a similar deal, New York City-based L-3 Communications Inc. deployed smart surveillance software from Arlington, Va.-based Pyramid Vision (See story) under a $3.4 million contract with Virginia Port Authority.

"We intend to take advantage of the most innovative technologies and means for keeping our port secure," said Mel Becena, security administrator for Port Everglades. "The level of sophistication that ObjectVideo VEW provides, including features such as its video tripwire, are essential in making our port security proactive."

ObjectVideo's video tripwire feature, which the company recently patented, allows security personnel to create virtual perimeters on land and water by drawing a digital tripwire on a computer snapshot of what the surveillance camera sees. Unknown people or vehicles crossing the tripwire trigger an alert.

Intelligent surveillance products from companies such as ObjectVideo, Pyramid Vision and others interpret what video cameras see by processing the images against a set of rules. In March, ObjectVideo received a grant from the National Science Foundation to research ways for the software to learn as it observes an environment. This would allow a system it to detect suspicious activity without using rules.

ObjectVideo is also researching intelligent night vision software under a competitive award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The privately held company was founded in 1998 by former DARPA scientists and program managers.

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