TSA seeks advice on video systems

The Transportation Security Administration is asking industry for advice on whether so-called intelligent video systems ought to be used to boost security of U.S. transportation systems such as airports, seaports, mass transit systems and highways.

TSA on Feb. 24 published a
request for information asking for ideas on how intelligent closed-circuit television systems might be used most effectively. The goal is to deploy such systems first in airports and then in other transportation facilities.

Closed-circuit TV systems are a standard surveillance tool. Adding intelligence to the systems typically means adding analytical software, and often network and camera upgrades. The intelligent systems are designed to automatically identity significant events and threats, such as a package left unattended in an airport waiting room or a person entering a restricted zone.

TSA's goal is to identify vendors of such systems, though there is no solicitation or contract available at this time. However, the intelligent video industry is a growing area for government contractors, with clients including federal, state and local law enforcement, transportation facilities and government offices.

"It is envisioned that such a video system, hereafter referred to as Intelligent Closed Circuit TV, could be part of an integrated approach to enhancing the security of the national transportation system in the United States by means of remote surveillance," the TSA notice states.

Vendors, who must respond by March 14, should describe capabilities for detecting and classifying objects, animals, humans, weapons and vehicles; for detecting known suspicious behaviors such as loitering and countersurveillance; and for identifying crowd anomalies including crowds moving in a new direction, crowds running and stopping and dead spots in normal traffic areas, among other capabilities. The systems also should be able to track an individual through a facility by coordinating multiple cameras.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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