“System of systems” approach to border security


The increasing flow of people and goods across international borders creates a need to efficiently manage and protect legitimate trade and travel while preventing illegal immigration, identity fraud, human trafficking and smuggling.

This, Swedish defence and security company Saab says can be achieved by implementing a security strategy incorporating an optimal mix of personnel, infrastructure and technology.

It adds the rider that the full potential of the deployed technologies is not always realised due to a lack of integration between the different border security systems.

The ideal scenario is a collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that pool their resources and capabilities together to create an integrated system which offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems. This is what is typically defined as a system-of-systems approach,” Saab Grintek Defence, the Swedish parent’s South African operation, said.
“This integration, while achievable, isn’t always easy – mostly due to the disparate nature of the systems that are typically deployed at borders and ports of entry.
“What is required is some sort of ‘glue logic’, referred to as an integration platform, to facilitate the integration.
“Integration platforms are computer software that integrate different applications and services. They typically contain a set of functional components, including a message bus to enable reliable messaging between applications and adaptors to perform translations between the protocols of the different applications. In this regard Saab has two advanced integration platforms, SAFE and TactiCall.
“SAFE is an advanced integration platform with a powerful command and control capability. It is based on open architecture and offers a range of services to border security personnel via fixed, mobile, portable and web-based applications. These services include information sharing, decision support, workflow management, control of integrated systems, logging of all events and resource management. By making use of these services border security personnel are able to task resources, track them, perform video surveillance, handle alarms, provide access control, exchange information with external databases and create reports among others. This can be done from either a central location or several decentralised locations.
“SAFE is modular and can be scaled according to the size of the organisation and the required functionality,” the Centurion-based company said.