Part 2: Improved Border Security, Faster Border Clearance and Reduced Cost – “Choose Any Two”?

 Author(s): , Posted on July 16th, 2015

PART 2: Using advanced targeting analytics to focus resources on the biggest risks

In Part 1 of this series, we focused on the role of the automated clearance eGate and advanced biometrics in enabling more effective security measures and faster clearance while reducing costs.

But the enabling technology that arguably offers the greatest potential benefit is advanced targeting analytics.  Targeting analytics enable the automated identification of low risk travellers and cargo that can and should be cleared with little or no manual intervention, and higher risk travellers and cargo for which additional analysis or inspection is appropriate. While biometrics addresses the “identity” of the traveller and provides the ability to identify individuals who are on existing watch lists, targeting analytics looks at the underlying “intent” and can be used with both travellers and cargo.

Australia currently employs a basic automated targeting analysis system that uses pre-defined rules to identify travellers and cargo that represent a potential risk.  But advanced targeting analytics go much further and are characterised by three particularly significant capabilities: all-source, self-learning, and forward-looking.

All-source analysis systems need to handle the explosive volume of unstructured or poorly structured data from many different sources with different levels of accuracy and authenticity.  Advanced targeting systems, such as that used by the US Customs and Border Protection, draw upon a suite of tools to ingest such data and accurately identify, extract, assess and associate the information therein so that it can be properly analysed.

Predictive analytics enable advanced targeting systems to “learn” from past experience and emerging information patterns to more accurately identify high-risk travellers and shipments.  In essence, the system continually refines and revises the rules to achieve significantly improved targeting accuracy.  This translates to fewer false alerts (i.e., shorter queues and fewer manual interventions) and fewer misses.

Advanced targeting solutions also employ sophisticated forward-looking modelling tools to provide insight into the impact of proposed changes in the targeting system parameters and rules.  Such models are able to project the resulting traveller/cargo queues, resource requirements and costs before changes are even implemented.  For example, what is the impact of requiring an inspection of all cargo containers on ships that transit Sri Lanka?  The forward looking models enable fine tuning of the system to improve clearance accuracy, speed and cost-efficiency.

Advanced targeting analytics is not limited to a physical border clearance, but is used early and repeatedly beginning with the earliest indication of a potential travel/shipment and subsequently as additional information is received – in some cases even after entry.  For travellers, this may start with the visa application or ticket booking – with additional analyses performed as more information becomes available (e.g., travelling companions, method of payment, amount of luggage, prior locations visited).  In this way, potential risks are identified and resolved as early as possible – resulting in significant cost savings.

By leveraging these enabling technologies and partnering with evolving the travel and trade ecosystems, Australia can achieve the golden triad – improved border security, faster clearance and greater efficiency.

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About the Author

John Kendall is the Director of the Border and National Security Program for the global public sector practice at Unisys. Based in Canberra Australia, John has overall responsibility for Unisys border and national security initiatives around the globe. Read all Posts





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