Security Technology Executive

NOV-DEC 2014

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November/December 2014 • SECURITY TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE 23 Beyond that, Minuteman Security Technolo- gies uses Transit Sentry to provide remote trou- bleshooting and system maintenance for the various subcomponents in the bus from a dedi- cated support center as part of a comprehensive maintenance program. For example, Transit Sen- try offers an advanced interactive browser-based interface that provides real-time alert notifica- tions of system health, bus location, engine sta- tus, and the status of every camera and compo- nent within the surveillance system. The system also offers the capability to push firmware and software updates, to conduct remote system trou- bleshooting and to reset any system. "The MBTA is able to tap into any bus system and address issues while they are moving through the city from a web-based client interface or smartphone, ensuring a very high degree of reli- ability and service," explains Joe Lynch, CEO of Minuteman Security Technologies. Onboard Surveillance Leads to Greater Operational Efficiency and Safety While all the technical details of the system were met, the most advantageous aspects of having video surveillance onboard our buses are expe- rienced on a day-to-day across all of our agen- cies. In the first five months of having this sys- tem implemented, 500 cases were facilitated by the video, leading to a significant organiza- tion-wide impact, from a police, legal and safety standpoint. "The new onboard video surveillance system has helped us improve our customer service and general operations," Peters says. "Upon receiv- ing a customer complaint such as a slip-and-fall claim, our customer service agents use the video as a tool to verify if the events had or had not taken place, and to validate the details of the inci- dent. With this process in place, we operate the bus service in a fair, ethical and safe manner for the public." From a safety standpoint, the onboard system represents a constant reiteration of the following advantages: • Immediate access to video onboard buses in the event of an emergency. • Instant access to nearby buses for responding officers for better preparedness. • Quicker and easier investigations for criminal activity or claims. • Improved bus driver and passenger safety throughout the fleet. • Deterrence of vandalism and random acts of violence. • Enhanced investigation abilities for increased city-wide safety. "We might not see the actual crime take place, but there is usually activity that leads up to a crime," Sprague says. "Whether it's identifying a car in the vicinity or verifying a suspect's alibi, we have the ability to view, validate and retrieve information in a timely manner. That's a huge asset for our team's ability to gather video for forensic evidence and keep this city safe." Gradual Expansion Continues to Benefit Multiple Departments While MBTA is in the process of upgrading anoth- er 60 buses, our long-term objective is to gradu- ally enhance the video surveillance systems on all 1,100 buses. Meanwhile, Omnicast's Federated architecture has been extremely beneficial to our organization, helping us to manage all systems as one from two centralized locations while still pre- serving departmental autonomy in their day-to- day operations. This capability encompasses fixed and mobile video surveillance systems across our entire organization and all fleet, reaching termi- nals, yards, administration buildings and other mass transportation vehicles for a bird's-eye-view of our entire operations. "All of our service and technology partners have played a pivotal role in providing our mass transit organization with impressive capabili- ties," Peters says. "This concerted group effort has allowed our departments to respond to vari- ous incidents at moment's notice, and to see what is happening in real-time. This system is vastly more effective than what we had before." The amount of cases that we have been able to close in such a short period of time truly proves the value of this system. Furthermore, customer and dr iver feedback shows that they feel safer. Being able to keep people safe by deterring various types of incidents or to extract evidence — it is invaluable. ❚ About the Author: Randy Clarke is Senior Director of Security and Emergency Management at MBTA. On the bus, a monitor displays a live camera feed to passengers, acting both as a public advisory of video monitoring and as an added deterrent against criminal activities.

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