Security as way of life

  • Madhusheel Arora, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2015 10:22 IST

In the Southern sector of Chandigarh I live in, some of the residents have decided to carry out a survey on installation of gates on roads at major entry and exit points. The questionnaire asks residents whether they will pay up for gates when these will come up. Considering the horrid and nightmarish start we have had to the year and the December before it, with gun-totting men and women killing people at will, there is sparsely anyone who is saying no to anything that gets a few extra layers of iron gates or a wall between himself and the others.

So, even as there is always the fear gnawing on how secure we are, the anxiety can only be productive when the business of security does not just remain a commercial venture, but a way of life.

This is likely to take generations, but for the moment, the business opportunity is huge. The business for companies targeting civic security needs of the country is pegged at around $20-billion (around Rs 1.2 lakh crore) by 2020, according to a research report by Frost & Sullivan. This is in securing our airports, the mass transportation facilities and other critical infrastructure like oil and gas facilities, with both machines and the humans. With smart cities the avowed aim, we also need to ensure that the security infrastructure is also in place.

Closer home and more visibly in the tricity, holes in security remain for senior citizens, our public places, the ATMs, our homes, and carjacking incidents continue to create panic.

How do we secure our homes? Is there a business solution beyond the first port of call --- the CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras that cost between Rs 14,000 and Rs 20,000 for 3-4 cameras to be installed on a four bedroom house, depending on the construction and specifics of the location.

“It needs to be realised that for CCTVs to be effective, the analysis of the information they capture and the action taken on the images that are key. This is critical and here we sometimes lag,” says an employee with a firm in the business, not willing to be quoted.

While CCTVs have their utility, it is in deterrence where the business action is.

“It is in active deterrence (prevention) that the next big wave in security business is,” says Sunil Udupa, CMD, Securens, a company that offers e-security solutions for ATMs, cash-vehicles, malls etc.

Using the concept, the industry is now moving beyond mere recording, but also attempting to control the environment and talk to the intruder remotely to make him flee and so on.

The technology used for the transfer of images using e-surveillance is typically what is used in telecommunication (SIM cards) and no internet is used, as data can be easily hacked from there.

Another trend in security is smartphone apps, with even the police using WhatsApp. We also have apps for women. This is a great innovation, but these algorithms are yet to be tested for the exact way in which they would work. However, the fact that software engineers and the UT police have coordinated bodes well as it means a multi-pronged approach is in the works.

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