From Border Surveillance to Safety Rules Monitoring & FOD Detection
A Versatile Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Platform
February 2020 Konstantinos Zygourakis,
Security Integrated Systems, Services Business Division, Intracom Telecom

Nowadays, systems that provide a high degree of security awareness, safety monitoring and timely threat management are more imperative than ever. Security and safety awareness, and monitoring systems in order to provide value to their stakeholders must have:

  • an effective way of integrating with a multitude of diverse sensors and systems (cameras, radars, signal monitoring, building management systems, access controls, etc.), both new and legacy
  • a unified and easy to use interface for a non-expert to understand what, when and where security events are about to take place or are already happening
  • an intuitive modality for managing all security events and actions for their mitigation/remedy
  • a comprehensive recording and retrieval system for auditing and training purposes
  • system agility, and
  • design-ready for expandability (i.e. for sensor integration, data fusion, decision-aid algorithms, standard operation procedures etc.)

In summary, a security and safety monitoring and management system must provide to its operators the capability to understand the current situation, effectively manage all tasks needed for any type of situation and to be able to review past events without missing any valuable information and data.

Such systems are generally evaluated based on:

  • Probability of Detection (POD), which provides an indication of a systems ability to detect abnormalities within the area monitored. Probability of detection involves not only the characteristics of the sensor, but also the environment, the method of installation and adjustment, and the abnormality type. POD measurement data are always conditional and unique to the installation site.
  • Nuisance Alarm Rate (NAR), which indicates the expected rate of alarms not attributable to legitimate abnormalities. Generally nuisance alarms are caused by known or suspected environmental events such as animals, rain, wind, storms etc. A false alarm is an alarm where the cause is unknown, so an abnormality is always a possibility, but analysis after the fact indicates that nothing actually occurred.
  • Vulnerability to Defeat, which measures the effectiveness of sensors and system design. There is no single sensor which can reliably detect all types of abnormalities. Therefore the potential for defeat can be reduced by designing overlapping sensor coverage using multiple units of complementary technologies.
  • Time To Respond, which indicates the time gap from event positive detection to triggering the initial mitigation action.

Each of these performance characteristics will vary according to the technology selected and the unique site conditions – remember, no two sites are ever the same.

The real challenge for any type of security management system is to ensure a high POD, an extremely low NAR and minimize the potential for defeat utilizing sensors with overlapping coverage and optimally with complementary technologies.


Intracom Telecom’s SISC2 is a Security and Safety awareness, monitoring and incident management platform which stands up to these challenges, is capable of integrating with diverse sensors and has characteristics that well-address the aforementioned objectives.

functional modules of SISC2

SISC2 is a comprehensive solution that processes, classifies and analyses data received from different types of detection sensors. It combines all needed functional modules required for an "Integrated Command and Control Centre" and ensures:

  • Sharing of situational awareness, information and operational data
  • Integration with alarm and surveillance systems
  • Integration with legacy and 3rd party systems
  • Decision-aid support
  • Video analytics
  • Video management
  • Logging of all relevant information relating to incidents and operator actions
  • Record keeping to support accountability and traceability

SISC2 is based on modular architecture and all its services/functions are provided by discrete modules integrated in the platform. The platform modules implement functions for communicating and managing integrated sensors and systems (i.e. radars, cameras, meteo stations, fiber optic sensors, BMS, access control etc.), data fusion and event triggering, managing events and alarms, aiding and augmenting decision making, video analysis and management, handling incidents and assets, communication and collaboration, and users and platform management, reporting and logging.

SISC2 is a versatile tool offered for the surveillance and security operations management for borders and critical infrastructures protection.

SISC2 modular design is such that it enables the rapid functional adaptation to specific end user operational requirements. A worth mentioning paradigm of such functional adaptation is the quick introduction of new algorithmic parts within the SISC2 platform to provide solutions for safety monitoring and Foreign Object Debris (FOD) alarming and handling.

FOD at airports includes any object found in an inappropriate location that can damage aircrafts or injure personnel. FOD includes a wide range of material, including loose hardware, pavement fragments, catering supplies, building materials, rocks, sand, pieces of luggage, and even wildlife. FOD is found at terminal gates, cargo aprons, taxiways, runways, and run-up pads.

user interface screenshot of sisc2 app for alarming and notification
Fig.1: SISC2 alarming and notification user interface

Moreover, it can cause damage in a number of ways, by damaging aircraft engines if ingested, cutting aircraft tires, lodging in aircraft mechanisms preventing them from operating properly, injuring people after being propelled by a jet blast or prop wash etc. The resulting damage is estimated to cost the aerospace industry more than $4 billion per year.

Currently, the methods established to mitigate FOD risks at airports are mainly processes involving human observation for detection and rely solely on human judgment for hazard assessment capability to assure safety. This is done by regularly scheduled, periodic inspections, which are time consuming, require halting of airfield operations at the inspected area and have high probability of human error.

Other techniques that are used, apart from human procedures, involve radar and electro-optical systems for continuous surveillance of runways and airport surfaces. These techniques are costly and are susceptible to environmental conditions and to limitations in line of sight. In addition, some of these solutions require tedious and time consuming machine learning for identifying a-priori known objects, lacking the capability to effectively identify at zero-time left behind objects.

Intracom Telecom’s approach of detecting FOD in areas of interest relies in the integration with SISC2 of an electo-optical payload (EOP) sensor, which comprises an accurate pant-tilt-zoom system movement system and a high resolution day & thermal camera, capable to operate day and night and non-invasive to airport operations, i.e. without interfering with other radio propagation equipment located in airports (such as wireless communications, radars etc.).

The EOP sensor has been functionally integrated into Intracom Telecom’s SISC2 platform, enabling its full control and management in order to monitor designated (by the end user) areas of interest at 24 by 7 period. The video streams generated by the EOP sensor are analyzed by SISC2 algorithms to extrapolate anomalies that could trigger FOD detection alarms.

These SISC2 algorithms are based modelling techniques explored in many scientific areas, including computer vision. Based on human ophthalmic physiology, these technics mimic how human’s attention is rapidly directed to visually distinctive regions in an image, without explicit indication nor guidance. Our eyes and brain, when we look in a certain area, gain interest/attention for specific objects/items that stand out inside that area. They can rapidly spot these items in an area of observation which seem not to match with the rest of the scenery in that specific area.

The implemented SISC2 algorithms processes the retrieved by the EOP images smoothing out the background of the image and keeping into the foreground the contours of each and every anomaly spotted with respect to the background.

image of anomaly observation from EOP sensor
Fig.2: The background (left); the spotted anomaly (right)

The processing of observations made by EOP sensor, each time it passes over the same area, may produce erroneously contours of false anomalies. This is due to sensor movement drifts, light fluctuations, weather condition changes, people-vehicles passing in front of the camera etc. SISC2 algorithms to compensate for such erroneous results, implement a counter for each anomaly detected. When a predetermined threshold of the counter is surpassed, then the specific anomaly is treated as positive and triggers an FOD alarm. The counter threshold is parameterized and can be incremented or decremented by the end user, making the FOD detection algorithms respectively less or more sensitive.

Intracom Telecom's SISC2 implemented the aforementioned approach because alternative technics, such as neural network and video training, are only capable to find known objects (objects in which the algorithms was trained upon) and will fail in FOD detection of objects for which they are not trained a-priori. Such approaches in order to “learn” new objects usually requires long periods of training which is not practical.

Intracom Telecom has demonstrated the SISC2 capabilities for perimeter security surveillance and safety regulations monitoring in a proof of concept carried out in the Athens International Airport (AIA). AIA personnel was given the opportunity to best evaluate and appreciate the SISC2 technological components, which can effectively detect, identify, categorize and handle events pertinent to the security and safety operational cases:

  1. Perimeter fence protection,
  2. Unauthorized human detection
  3. Vehicles and aircraft movement, and
  4. FOD detection.
Fig.3:AIA proof of concept demonstration areas

The proof of concept successfully demonstrated a very high probability of detection in perimeter security and safety regulation violations, as well as detection of FOD.

In conclusion, Intracom Telecom’s SISC2 has a proven functional robustness, modularity and scalability for effective surveillance, collaboration, coordination and administration of diverse security, safety and operations management related events. SISC2 maximizes detection efficiency and operational effectiveness and timely produces situational awareness. It augments and expedites the operators’ decision making process by offering decision support, optimizing operation, back-office and mission plans, and managing available resources and tasks.