Operating on a limited budget and tasked with confronting the ongoing threat of terrorism, airport perimeter security technologies face a daunting challenge. Bradley Podbur, head of export sales at Geoquip, explains how integrating security systems can increase detection performance, cut costs and minimise false alarm rates.

Could you introduce yourself as a company, and outline the products and services that you provide?

Bradley Podbur: Geoquip Worldwide is a global leader in secure communications and perimeter detection solutions (PIDSs). We pride ourselves on providing every customer with a total perimeter security solution that is specifically tailored to meet their individual needs and requirements.

As part of the CRH Fencing and Security Group (CRH FSG), which specialises in security applications across the UK and the rest of the world, Geoquip has an established record of reliability as well as a strong reputation for quality and innovation. CRH FSG Group products and systems include high-security fencing specifically designed to work in conjunction with PIDSs, along with hostile vehicle mitigation solutions incorporating PAS 68, USA DOS and Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA)-certified products. We meet the highest industry standards, and our products have been tried and tested in over 50 countries for more than 30 years.

What key challenges is the airport perimeter security sector currently facing?

The global PIDS market is being increasingly influenced by three developing trends. Firstly, the presence of major assets on customers’ sites. Secondly, the perceived threat of terrorism. Finally, the availability of funds to implement protective measures to these assets and site personnel.

These factors are affecting the installation of PIDSs all over the world: in airports; oil and gas facilities; and solar, nuclear and utility sites, as well as many others.

How can airports respond to these issues?

Central to any response strategy is the implementation of a high-quality detection solution: it has to be extremely sensitive, yet at the same time produce an absolute minimum number of false alarms. Repeated nuisance alarms will only cause complacency.

Equally important is the provision of CCTV to provide visual verification of an alarm event. In the past, CCTV was the main focus for external protection, but it became apparent that it is not possible to monitor multiple cameras without a detection device that alerts the operator to an alarm when an event occurs. This has led to the integrated approach; the two technologies working hand in hand.

So the market is moving towards a more integrated perimeter security solution?

That’s right. What we’re seeing more and more of is one provider offering the full package.It’s a strategy Geoquip has also adopted. Today, we manufacture a wide range of different technologies for perimeter detection, including Perimbar infrared beams, Hawk-I underground detection, as well as a suite of products within the Defensor series of fence-mounted detection.

Does this integration extend to the control room?

Yes. We offer external IP communications systems, including Gthernet and Gthernet 10G, which integrate CCTV and alarm signals into a redundant fibre-optic network for transportation of signals back to the control room. This dramatically minimises installation costs for the security integrator.

We also have a front-end security management system called Geolog Vision. This product manages the perimeter alarms, controls the CCTV cameras, and provides network video recording and storage, as well as allowing integration with intruder and fire alarms, and access control devices. It’s a user-friendly platform, as there is only one management system to work with. It has been used at several international airports in recent years across Europe, the Far East and North Africa.

Has the service you provide changed over the years?

Over the past three years there has been an enormous drive towards synergy in the CRH FSG UK corporate group that Geoquip belongs to. The aim is to allow the customer to benefit from a total security package from one company.

Have these developments led to new products?

The Geoquip offering is complemented by the ability to provide the physical fence that is installed around the site perimeter. This is manufactured by our sister company, Heras UK Fencing Systems.

Geoquip and Heras have also undertaken a joint venture, creating a new product called SensorFence. In addition to combining all the physical attributes of high-security fencing, it also incorporates a specially designed rail for housing the sensor cable. The rail provides crucial mechanical protection to the sensor, preventing it from being cut or attacked. It also offers additional protection by concealing the sensor, and allows optimised calibration to achieve maximum detection rates and minimal false alarms.

"CRH FSG is the only fencing and security group in the UK that provides a truly integrated perimeter security solution."

The communication cables for Gthernet can also be housed within the SensorFence rails, often removing the need for trenching around the airport perimeter. This results in considerable financial savings for the security integrator and the end customer, especially when compared with using conventional fences for the same purpose.

CRH FSG also incorporates entrance-control systems such as blockers, crash barriers and gates from Broughton Controls. It is a huge benefit for our customers to be able to source all of these products from a single provider.

How does this corporate structure compare with your competition?

As far as we are aware, CRH FSG is the only fencing and security group in the UK that offers such a wide range of products and provides a truly integrated perimeter security solution. With the emphasis always on quality, the selection process is far simpler for the end-user, from conceptualisation and contract negotiations through to after-sales service and support. As part of our ‘wrap-around’ service, we also provide a comprehensive security review, system design, installation and project management, and on-site support.

What direction do you see perimeter fence protection technology taking in the future?

Perimeter fence protection will remain at the forefront of PIDS systems – the physical fence will always be the first line of defence. As well as developments such as Hawk-I buried detection for long-range perimeters, Geoquip envisages that the use of products such as SensorFence will move to the forefront of PIDS applications. It is a question of education; once end-users start to realise the cost savings available when using these products, demand will naturally grow.