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TransportSectorManagingTheEbolaVirus November2014_riskuk_nov14 07/11/2014 15:58 Page 37

Transport Sector: Managing the Ebola Virus

recognise the challenge faced by CCTV operators when asked to find footage pertaining to a particular person. Even if there’s a date or time range available it’s still a manual process that takes many man hours of laborious trawling through footage. In an airport environment, the shear footprint of such vast estates makes this task immense. All the while, the clock is ticking. However, new technology that airports are already assessing to help locate and track the movements of suspects, people of interest and missing children across the CCTV network may hold the answer. How, then, does this new technology operate in the real world?

An imaginary Case Study Imagine a person who has travelled from Sierra Leone to the UK presents at hospital and tests confirm a positive diagnosis of Ebola, immediately triggering a chain reaction of events that begins with treatment of the patient but, in tandem, encourages an investigation designed to locate the people that may have come into close contact with the patient. In this instance, the investigation reveals that the victim arrived in the UK a week earlier on a flight from Freetown to London via a connecting flight from Paris. The team calls the airport and they co-ordinate with the airlines to request the manifest for the two flights such that all passengers might be contacted. At the same time, the airport is sent an electronic photograph of the patient which is then passed across to the Control Room operators. That photo is uploaded to the system and every second of footage captured by every camera from the time the plane arrived at the gate is scanned in minutes (not hours). Security officers are then presented with a shortlist of people matching the patient’s photo. The CCTV operator narrows the search by selecting the right person and is automatically presented with every instance in which the patient appears on camera. Those camera images are time-stamped on a map of the airport that’s also presented to the operator so that he or she can see exactly the route the infected person took and when. The surveillance operator is then able to drill down still further, clicking on each image to replay the footage in order to gain more insight (ie did the person speak or shake hands with anyone, kiss or hug anyone or share a bottle of water or a sandwich?). They’re looking for any

detail, in fact, that could give cause for concern around cross-contamination. Known members of airport staff that came into contact with the patient can be identified and communicated with in the appropriate way. Meanwhile, the movement of unknown people who came into close contact with the patient can be tracked in the same way to help kickstart the identification process.

Tackling unconventional foes Obviously, such a solution isn’t going to wipe out the threat from Ebola. However, it’s one way in which technology investments being made by airport management teams to enhance security against the ‘familiar’ threats can be leveraged in helping to confront a more ‘unconventional’ foe. Whether we’re fighting the threat of terrorism or disease, the answer lies in being able to glean as much information as possible for dissemination to the right people at the right time, and having the tools and capabilities to hand such that security can play an effective part in the co-ordinated and joined-up efforts designed to act around – and react to – changing situations. The risk posed by Ebola is yet another reminder of the important role airport management teams have to play in helping to preserve the safety, security and well-being of not only those specific people who work within and travel through these locations but also the wider population at large.

“We’ve moved from analogue to IP cameras. Video analytics are now highly sophisticated while sensors and alarms have become more advanced and plentiful” 37

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