Security firm seeks World Cup glory
Updated: 2012-03-21 07:56
By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Experience gained from major events gives company a head start
A Chinese company is hoping that the expertise and experience it gained in designing security systems for the Beijing Olympics and other large events can help Brazil host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, a senior manager said.
Beijing Aerospace Changfeng Co Ltd has a proud track record on the mainland for its security systems. Its long list of accomplishments includes the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the 2009 Tian'anmen Square parade marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China, the Shanghai Expo in 2010, the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010 and last year's Universiade Shenzhen. These events involved managing and safeguarding huge numbers of both domestic and foreign visitors.
Now the high-tech company is looking for more international business.
"Social stability is a worldwide issue. We have seen demands from foreign governments for better security at borders, cities and large sporting events. We want to explore foreign markets," Zhou Xiang, vice-general manager of the company, said in an interview.
Preliminary technical talks were held last year with delegates from Brazil as well as other customers from Guinea in West Africa, Belarus and Russia. Though no deals have been sealed, Zhou said that the company's experience in the sector is a plus.
"The security system for large events, like the Olympic Games, is not just surveillance and sirens. It is a much more comprehensive solution, including intelligence and command systems enabling a quick response to emergencies," he said.
Managing the flow of huge numbers of people, both safely and efficiently, is one of the big headaches for organizers of large events.
The 2008 Olympics had to deal with records, not just on the track but off it.
Some 11,000 athletes attended the Games, about 50,000 members of the media covered them and more than 1 million visitors saw them. The opening ceremony was attended by a record number of leaders from more than 50 countries and regions.
Deploying a limited number of security staff to guard the many venues, as well as taking precautions against potential terror attacks, can pose real problems, he said.
"The organizers asked all the venues to report how many security personnel they needed. After the initial calculations, the total number of security staff needed came to 60,000, way higher than the 40,000-plus available," he said.
His team then designed software that made it easier to rationally distribute the security staff among the venues.
The Beijing Olympics was the first Games to implant personal information into tickets and passes.
This system bore fruit in a security scare before the Games when 18 tickets to the opening ceremony assigned to a foreign delegation went missing. A cross-check involving thousands of references resulted in those holding the missing tickets being denied access outside the National Stadium, he said.
A number of security features seem to come out of science fiction.
One product uses invisible near-infrared light to "see through" car windows covered by dark film.
Some of the products rely heavily on defense technology. A major shareholder is the No 2 Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp (CASIC). CASIC is the country's biggest missile weapons system developing and manufacturing enterprise.
During the six-month Shanghai Expo, a globe-shaped facility was used to help monitor tall buildings that stood around the Expo Garden.
"As long as an always-closed window is open, or a person appears on any of those highrises suddenly, the facility can immediately detect the difference in images and alert us," he said.
For Zhou and his colleagues, no news is good news. But sometimes, security products that remind them of potential threats can result in unintended and humorous consequences.
At the Shanghai Expo microwave radars were deployed to detect any object that was thrown over the wire fence, in case someone threw explosives from outside.
"The detectors did help catch objects thrown over the fence, but none of them were explosives," he said.
"Unauthorized vendors threw low-quality Expo souvenirs over the fence, trying to sell them at a higher price inside."