Changi Airport in Fibre Fencing First

Singapore Changi’s Airport has become the first airport in the world to use advanced fibre sensor technology for perimeter fencing and is working with project partner ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) on marketing the technology to airports around the world.
In August, Changi Airport Group (CAG) launched a project with fellow Singapore-based company ST Electronics to install a Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) using Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors for the airport’s perimeter fence.  The partners say that FBG sensors have been widely used internationally in structural health monitoring, for example in bridges, tunnels and buildings, but the technology has not previously been used at airports.
ST Electronics has developed the AgilFence PIDS using its intelligent signal processing and using fibre sensor technology licensed from Singapore-based research partner, the ASTAR Institute for Infocomm Research.
ST Electronics says AgilFence PIDS offers highly accurate and instantaneous intrusion detection, allowing a facility’s security force to respond quickly and effectively.  AgilFence PIDS uses FBGs embedded in the optical fibre cable to form an array of sensors for perimeter fence intrusion detection.  The highly sensitive FBG sensors are used to “sense” incidents, with even a very slight disturbance to the physical parameter triggering a response in the optical fibre sensor that translates into an intrusion alert, says ST Electronics.  The FBG sensors work like a colour-selective mirror, with each sensor reflecting a specific colour back to the system under normal conditions.  Any type of intrusion, for example someone trying to climb over the fence or cut it, will affect the steady state and change the colour of the sensor that is reflected back to the system.  When a change in colour is detected, an alert will be triggered, says ST Electronics.
The system uses the company’s proprietary intelligent signal processing system that has the ability to adapt and adjust automatically to different physical environmental factors and weather elements.  St Electronics says that the system’s precise discrimination and analysis of events results in a high degree of detection and an extremely low false alarm rate.  The sensors can be customised to any length spacing, resulting in more localised pinpointed accuracy on any intrusion attempt and an optimal deployment of CCTVs around the perimeter fence.
St Electronics says it spent more than a year developing its unique signal processing algorithm, which incorporates a user-friendly alarm management and display system. This was then integrated with the basic FBG technology from ASTAR to form the AgilFence PIDS solution.  Extensive and rigorous field trials, comparing the AgilFence PIDS with other existing solutions, were conducted before the system was offered to the market.
Installation of the AgilFence PIDS at Changi has already started, with the implementation to be rolled out in stages and the project to be completed by the end of 2012.  The total length of the AgilFence at Changi will be more than 12 miles (20km), according to the partners.  Changi’s perimeter security currently comprises a double-layered perimeter fence and around the clock patrolling by security teams.  The AgilFence PIDS will result in better detection of perimeter intrusions, more accurate determination of the incident location and a faster response time by the security team.
CAG says it opted for the AgilFence PIDS after a consultancy study conducted in 2010 looking at ways to enhance perimeter security.  CAG conducted detailed market research and technical analysis of the various perimeter intrusion detection solutions available in the market, with the AgilFence PIDS deemed to be the most suitable.  Unlike other technologies, AgilFence PIDS is not affected by environmental factors such as electromagnetic and radio frequency interference, according to the partners.
“CAG went through a very detailed evaluation process before arriving at the decision. This included a thorough market survey of the different technologies currently available. A field trial was also conducted to compare the performance of all available solutions before the decision was made to select St Electronics’ AgilFence PIDS proposal,” say the airport authority.
The system is superior to the other systems available in the market in many aspects, says CAG, pointing to better detection performance, higher pinpointing accuracy and allowing the customisation of sensors at specific parts of the fence to reduce the possibility of false alarms while maintaining detection capabilities.
Compared with traditional fences, the partners say the AgilFence PIDS has numerous key advantages.  These include offering a high probability of intrusion detection; a low false alarm rate; more accurate detection of perimeter intrusion; allows a shorter response time by security forces and therefore a more effective deployment of resources; excellent customisation options; no single points of failure; no power or electronics required in the field; resilient to electromagnetic or radio frequency interference and to lightning strikes; easy maintenance of system; and higher cost effectiveness.
A further advantage is that it is easy to install and maintain, say the partners.  The partners decline to reveal the cost of the project, but say it is “a multi-million dollar” security system.  The project cost includes the supply, installation, testing, commissioning and maintenance of the system.
CAG and St Electronics are now working together to promote the fence on a commercial basis to other airport operators and installation operators worldwide, while ST Electronics has started to market the solution to potential local customers.  “This system will enhance security and complement existing systems to provide round-the-clock protection and safety for the airport,” says Lee Fook Sun, president of ST Electronics.  He adds: “Globally, there is a growing demand for such a solution to protect high value assets against intrusions and attacks.  We are therefore confident that the collaboration with CAG will prove beneficial to both parties.  Hence, we are particularly positive as we plan the launch of this product into overseas markets.”
Emma Kelly
Picture Caption:
The fence’s sensors work like a colour-selective mirror, with each sensor reflecting a specific colour back to the system under normal conditions.  Any type of intrusion, for example someone trying to climb over the fence or cut it, will affect the steady state and change the colour of the sensor that is reflected back to the system.  (CAG)

The fence’s sensors work like a colour-selective mirror, with each sensor reflecting a specific colour back to the system under normal conditions. Any type of intrusion, for example someone trying to climb over the fence or cut it, will affect the steady state and change the colour of the sensor that is reflected back to the system. (CAG)