Changi Airport to use audio, video analytics to monitor security incidents from mid-2019

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat visiting the Integrated Operations Centre in the newly launched Certis Commonwealth building on Oct 23, 2018. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Changi Airport will pilot a Multi-Signal Surveillance Platform, which combines audio with video analytics to monitor security incidents.

The platform, which will start in the middle of next year, will help security officers determine if an alert received is truly a security incident.

For example, apart from the visual element, they can analyse the audio data to detect things such as gunshots and bomb blasts.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat cited the innovation as an example of an advanced solution in the evolving security climate.

The platform was developed by Certis, the largest private sector player in Singapore's security industry, together with artificial intelligence firm Xjera Labs, security firm Ademco and Changi Airport Group.

Speaking at the launch of the new Certis Commonwealth building on Tuesday (Oct 23), Mr Heng said Singapore may be one of the safest countries in the world, but it is still faced with threats from terrorism, cyber security and fake news.

"In the face of rising and complex security threats, the Government, the security industry and the community must work together to keep Singapore safe and secure."

Emphasising the need to build new capabilities and stay ahead of the threats, he said cyber space is a critical area in which security capabilities must be beefed up.

He urged companies to harness technology to detect and defend against the threats.

"As chairman of the National Research Foundation, I have mentioned to our researchers that one of the areas I would like to see more R&D work done is in the security area."

He said about 27 per cent of the national budget currently goes to security and national defence, and this investment in security will be continued.

He also stressed the role of the security industry, which employs about 47,000 security officers, 600 service providers and 240 security agencies.

They support the Home Team by protecting offices and shopping centres, patrolling the streets during festivities, and protecting key installations such as Jurong Island and Changi Airport.

While Singapore is one of the world's safest cities, according to global rankings such as the 2017 Gallup Global Law and Order Report and 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit Safe Cities Index, it is still vulnerable to security threats, said Mr Heng.

Singapore has been specifically targeted in jihadist publications and videos, along with a significant increase in the number of self-radicalised individuals arrested in the past two years, said Mr Heng.

"Equally worryingly, the nature and methodology of attacks have evolved. In the past, attacks were carried out at prominent locations by trained terrorists working in larger cells. Now, attacks are carried out by self-radicalised lone wolves who can strike anywhere, using ordinary objects like knives and trucks."

With more assets such as intellectual property and personal data in cyberspace, IT systems have become targets.

Fake news is also a threat to national security, as attackers can use disinformation campaigns to divide the community, he added.

On Tuesday, Certis also unveiled its new logo and business transformation.

Certis chief executive officer Paul Chong said: "The new Certis is about 'Security Plus'. This is a new transformational integrated service, with security at its core, combined with facilities management and customer service, underpinned by technology."

The integration of the services into one platform reflects how the company sees the world transforming, with its expertise moving beyond the traditional security functions.

Mr Chong said that whether it is responding to a fire, or a puddle of water on the ground which requires a cleaner to mop up, the same system of response and deployment of personnel can be applied.

The company had been working on the development for the past three years.

The new building in Commonwealth Lane cost "tens of millions of dollars" to retrofit into a living lab, where Certis tests its new technology.

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