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The valuable assets that trucking, freight and logistics companies must protect from theft and damage require more than a one-size-fits-all solution, but creative opportunities exist for companies that integrate physical security with new technologies.
Trucking companies already face unique security concerns, and could face new ones in the future. Right now, motor carriers must secure their facilities and equipment at night to prevent thieves from entering lots and stealing vehicles, batteries, catalytic converters and other valuable items. Down the road, those that adopt battery-electric trucks will need to protect against battery theft. No matter the example, equipment that is stolen or disabled can cause a fleet to suffer significant downtime — in addition to the costs of repairing or replacing the equipment.
A “virtual” approach to security systems can be customized to a variety of loss prevention situations, no matter the size of the operation or type of assets to be protected. A virtual approach combines video surveillance, access control — for example, fobs and key cards — and information technology integration.
To customize such a virtual system requires an assessment of the existing system’s quality and operational functionality. If it is poorly installed, creates false alarms, has worn-out sensors or is outdated, it will fail to reliably work without undue intervention. To deter truck or heavy equipment theft, it might be necessary to evaluate fencing, gates, burglar alarms and door locking controls/sensors. Next, it is important to examine existing cameras to determine if there is enough visual resolution in pixels of the area being monitored for intrusion. Finally, it is essential to take steps to improve function such as upgrading equipment or system integration.
Such a virtual approach takes full advantage of the interconnectivity of information across a broad range of systems and devices. Based on a trucking, freight or logistics company’s priorities, integrated systems can intelligently sift through millions of points of information and prioritize and escalate only the most relevant events to deter and prevent theft in ways that were previously not possible. This enhanced system intelligence is a rule-based approach that can successfully operate with a site’s workflow and continual stream of information.
For example, an intelligent camera monitoring system can distinguish between normal and abnormal trucking facility conditions and only escalate those that require action. Along with trucks and vehicles approaching a gate, people and various types of animals can be appropriately recognized. An intelligent system can sift through the data and quickly identify a person cutting through a fence or someone walking through a yard between two pieces of heavy equipment. This approach should also function reliably during variable lighting conditions at sunrise, sunset or nighttime.
This 24/7 virtual approach to security systems can operate more proactively than a traditional security center. Such intelligent systems can be integrated with and prompt on-site or off-site on-call security guards, supervisors and managers, as well as off-site law enforcement or other outside groups to take immediate, appropriate action to keep people and property safe.
For example, a virtual system could alert a guard that an intruder has jumped over the fence in the northwest corner of the truck facility and must be confronted or apprehended. As an initial response, an on-site guard could broadcast over speakers that the intruder is trespassing, the police have been called and the intruder should leave. Or the guard could have a two-way conversation if there’s another explanation.
Where traditional security may involve paying guards around the clock or missing important threats because disparate systems are not communicating, taking advantage of security integration with virtual and enhanced intelligence can ensure a prompt response when needed to prevent theft at a much lower cost.
Eric Brackett is president of BTI Communications Group, a technology convergence provider that serves the logistics, food, health care and aerospace sectors. The company acts as a single-source provider of physical security, access control, network and complex phone (VoIP) systems, down to installation of wiring and conduit.
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