2010 LOC keen to use security tech

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 28 Sept 2007

Organisers are keen to see the best available technology is used to deliver a safe and secure World Cup "and mitigate any risks associated with the tournament".

This is according to 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) safety and security head Linda Mti.

He said the LOC needs technology that will assist with "crowd control inside the stadium, intelligence gathering and analysis, identification of individuals and groups [such as European football hooligans] who are barred from entering SA, electronic ticket security features, security telecommunications technology and so on".

Mti was speaking at a recent Saab-organised conference on strategic capabilities for national security. Various Saab presenters illustrated options to an audience that included Mti and various police, as well as disaster management chiefs.

They concentrated on IT that would allow key leaders to make better decisions based on more complete information in a shorter time, when assessing any potential security situation inside or around soccer stadia and other public spaces.

Saab International VP Riaz Salojee underlined that a key parameter for any technology deployed by state agencies - or the LOC - for 2010 was that it had to have a legacy value to be cost-effective.

Salojee and the Saab presenters made a case for a "prudent national investment" in the means to plan for, prepare for and mitigate the impact of natural and manmade disasters.

He said investing in situational awareness, as well as command, control and communications (C3) for the emergency services, coupled with establishing a single national contact number for the security and emergency services, would be a major step towards realising a legacy from hosting the World Cup.

Continuing trend

Salojee noted this capability can be further enhanced by what could be an example of south-south cooperation within the India-Brazil-SA framework.

The Saab-developed Erieye surveillance system is in operational use above the Amazon basin aboard Brazilian-built Embraer aircraft. Erieye is assisting that country with natural resource management, border control, as well as search-and-rescue, among other tasks.

He noted that deploying Erieye for the World Cup would continue a trend set by last year's World Cup. The German authorities requested the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to deploy its airborne early warning and control fleet to help better secure the event.

Erieye, combined with a C3 system, will help key decision-makers take the right action at the right time, to achieve the right outcome, Salojee said.

"Technology allows us to do this in an integrated, cost-effective and timeous manner. Today you have got to have the right resources at your disposal, be they technical, human or financial, to deal with the spectrum of contingencies, ranging from the classical military threat right down to disasters, natural and man-made.

"We've heard from our Swedish and Brazilian colleagues how they've applied these capabilities in their context. In SA, we have to find our own niche requirements and operational concepts.

"The real value of technology is that it helps provide the peace, stability and security that forms the bedrock on which social, economic and political development is based," he added.

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