Digital security systems from Verint eliminate the need for security personnel to continuously monitor video screens.When FBI director Robert Mueller responded to a question during a U.S. Senate hearing about why a piece of information about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks wasn’t acted upon by saying it wasn’t “actionable intelligence” at the time, management and employees at Verint Systems understood his distinction.
Verint has been an innovator in systems designed to produce actionable intelligence – information that is relevant not only to solving crimes, but also to actually helping prevent crimes, including terrorist attacks.
Verint, based in Woodbury, N.Y., was founded by Israelis and maintains a research and development center in Israel with about 300 workers, mostly software engineers. About 25 percent of the company’s stock is publicly traded after an initial public offering in May. The other 75 percent is owned by Comverse, a company founded and led by Israelis that’s now headquartered in New York.
Software is key to Verint’s work in several areas including delivering actionable intelligence to the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department in the War on Terrorism. One of the company’s key applications is in communications interception, otherwise known as wiretapping.
After law enforcement agencies obtain court orders to eavesdrop on suspects, Verint systems digitize the analog voice patterns in recorded telephone conversations. Verint software simultaneously analyzes the word patterns in the conversations to search for common names and other connections between different wiretaps, said John Kaiser, Verint’s vice-president of marketing.
“If Party A and Party B who we are monitoring are both in contact with Party C, then Party C is a person (investigators) might be interested in.” Kaiser said. “Our systems can monitor conversations on an ongoing basis and discover matches and connections that might indicate the existence of a conspiracy.”
Other Verint systems have less of a cloak-and-dagger ring. The company also sells complete digitized video security packages that are answering the needs of a growing number of courthouses, malls, and transportation systems and other key installations and systems in the United States.
Verint’s video products are designed to drastically improve the effectiveness of traditional analog video surveillance systems by digitizing the analog record of the video recording equipment.
Hours of video from a security camera at an airport baggage check station can be translated into digitized bits and bytes and stored on a server for instant retrieval should authorities, for example, want to produce a snapshot of people who came through the station at a certain time.
The system could instantly produce a picture of a person who got through a screening station without being checked. That image could be instantly transmitted to the handheld computers of airport security personnel who would have a better chance of finding the suspect quickly without needing to clear the airport.
“(Digitizing) makes it easier to access information,” Kaiser said. “Think of the difference between a video where you have to fast forward and look for something and a system where you can ask for something and get it instantly.”
In a mall application, a camera could be placed in an exit hallway to monitor foot traffic. If a person attempts to enter through the exit, the digitized input from the camera will be automatically caught by a computer that will send a signal to the mall’s security control room that someone is entering from the wrong direction.
The automatic detectors enable dozens of sites, hallways and entry points to be monitored at once without the inefficiencies from distractions and boredom that occur when an employee is forced to focus on a bank of video screens for hours at a time.
Verint has impressive list of sites now being monitored by its digitized building security systems including the U.S. Capitol Building, the Pentagon, and the Albert Bryant Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., the site of a number of high-profile court cases in recent years, including that of John Walker Lindh, who pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Verint systems also monitor the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., the world’s largest shopping mall with 4.2 million square feet of interior space, and the international airport in Vancouver, Canada, among other facilities.