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Singapore Develops Smart Fence for Perimeter Protection

Mar. 7, 2013 - 08:22PM   |  
By WENDELL MINNICK   |   Comments
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TAIPEI — Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics) has solved major problems with sensor-based perimeter security fencing.

ST Engineering has developed a cost-effective, fiber-optic, sensor-based perimeter security solution known as the AgilFence Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS), said Tang Kum Chuen, president, ST Electronics, Communications & Sensor Systems Group. It can secure borders, military facilities and high-asset commercial properties.

The Singapore security environment offers many comparisons to problems other countries face today.

“When it comes to border security, terrorism is seen as the main threat, though of course the authorities are keen to prevent illegal immigrants coming over,” said Ian Storey, fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

Post-9/11 Singapore hardened its security infrastructure following the discovery of a Jemaah Islamiyah cell, which had targeted Western interests, including U.S. military personnel, Storey said. In general, because of its close links to the West, and the large concentration of Western interests in the country, Singapore sees itself as an attractive target for international terrorist groups.

While optical fiber is widely used in fence intrusion detection systems, the AgilFence PIDS is unique as it uses a series of tiny mirror-like sensors known as fiber bragg grating (FBG). Each of these permits a specific wavelength of light to be reflected when white light is transmitted along the optical fiber cable. The reflection sequence is predetermined and no alarm will be triggered as long as this steady state is maintained.

In the past, FBG sensor cables were costly to produce and the complexity of managing data from a large array of sensors deterred many companies from applying this technology.

“ST Electronics has mastered the relevant technologies,” Tang said.

The result is an affordable option. Large areas such as military facilities and air and naval bases will “enjoy substantial cost savings as fewer cameras are needed when long-range PTZ cameras are used, thereby reducing hardware, civil work, infrastructure as well as maintenance costs,” Tang said. AgilFence PIDS requires no power for the cable in the field resulting in significant cost reduction.

Singapore is well known for asset protection, said a U.S. defense industry source based in Singapore. Singapore has not forgotten the efforts by Indonesia during the Indonesian-Malaysian crisis from 1962 to 1966, he said, when the Indonesian strongman, Sukarno, waged a covert war against creation of the state of Malaysia. Indonesian commandos infiltrated Singapore on sabotage missions that resulted in numerous bombings, including the famous MacDonald House bombing in 1965.

There have been recent concerns over terrorism, he said. In 2002, a Singapore citizen, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, plotted to bomb the Changi Airport. He was arrested and later escaped to Malaysia in 2008, where he was captured and returned to Singapore in 2010.

Today, AgilFence protects Changi Airport along with nine other sites around Singapore. Alan Tan, vice president of Changi Airport Group’s Aviation Security, says that Changi Airport “always aims to find the best tools that will allow us to ensure the highest safety standards at Changi Airport.”

Changi Airport’s perimeter protection plan boasts a double-layered fence with anti-tunneling protection that surrounds the perimeter of the airport. This is now further enhanced with AgilFence and an optimal number of low-light pan–tilt–zoom cameras placed strategically along the fence, Tan said.

It is suited especially for users looking for an intrinsically safe system with cut immunity, Tang said. Neither a single nor multiple cable cuts will cripple the entire protection system. “It is resilient to defeat,” he said.

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