How Digital Technology Is Changing Border Security Operations

The last few years have seen extraordinary changes driven by the digital revolution. Some of the world’s oldest industries and largest organisations have been revamped entirely as old legacy processes are swept away, and business models transformed.

The rate of change has been rapid and unprecedented. In face of such innovation, the only option is to evolve, adapt and try to keep pace with the progress or risk being left trailing in its wake.

There are very few, if any, industries left that have been unaffected by digital disruption and border security is no exception. While many physical operations still rely on secure fences, perimeter patrols and border officials – especially in remote regions – smart technology is fast becoming the most effective way for governments and organisations to ensure security. 

Border management is a complex operational process which poses a unique set of challenges. Today, officials are faced with record volumes of traffic, from both trade and travel. They constantly have to monitor new and evolving security threats, keep abreast of legislative changes, deal with budgetary constraints, and manage a complex and variable mix of opportunities and risks. 

In order to do this successfully, constant communication is required – all relevant agencies, departments and officials need to have access to accurate and up-to-date information, in real-time. But maintaining efficiency and integrity across the entire length of a border can be difficult to achieve as various teams are operating at different locations.

For border operations, the use of digital technology aids in the mapping out of the entire border which provides a continuous stream of information regarding the perimeter’s security to all teams. This optimises management, increases co-operation between border personnel and enables better co-ordination between the governments of neighbouring countries. 

One of the most advanced and state-of-the-art technologies that can be deployed to unite the various agencies and departments in border security operations is Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). The technology converts a single fibre optic cable into a network of highly-sensitive, individual vibrational sensors.

The technology effectively provides an invisible ‘smart barrier’, detecting disturbances along its entire length. It enables operators to provide continuous monitoring 24/7, detect potential threats and direct operational responses in real-time. 

When it comes to physical border security, smart technology looks set to revolutionise operations, providing officials with a far more complete picture of their operations than is currently available. By giving them access to intelligent and actionable insights, border agents will be better co-ordinated and in a stronger position to respond to potential threats in the shortest amount of time.