Through the measures followed by the border control forces of a country or bloc of countries, nations are able to regulate the movement of animals, goods and people. Here’s just three pieces of new technology which have helped border control forces to conduct their incredibly important work in a much more effective manner…

1. A combination of drones & holographic printers

While they were reporting on the Tenth Annual Border Security Expo in San Antonio, Texas, VICE made reference to Zebra Imaging and the firm’s $1 million holographic printers. According to the report, these machines were already being utilised at Border Control stations in El Paso, San Diego and Tucson — having initially been sold to the US military for use across Iraq and Afghanistan and producing some 14,000 images during missions throughout the Middle East.

Using the technology, a spokesperson at Zebra Imaging noted that either a drone or a person will have the opportunity to take an aerial photograph of a border of concern. That photo is then printed using the holographic printer, which can then be used to gain a better understanding of the landscape and to deploy effective missions if necessary.

“Holograms do not save lives and they do not stop bullets, but what they do is give people a cognitive idea of what’s going on around them physically. We provide you that visual sense of presence — a hologram looks so natural, you think it’s a solid model. Your brain thinks it’s a full model even though you know intellectually it’s a light pad,” commented Rick Black, the Director of Government Relations at Zebra Imaging.

The technology will be able to double up as optimal training tools as well, adds the Zebra Imaging spokesperson. This is because the immersive holographic images can function more effectively than either maps or models are able to. Mr Black underlined this point by showing a 3D image of some borderlands in Arizona at the San Antonio expo, complete with vivid mountains. “This provides a 360-degree full view,” Mr Black acknowledged. “It’s to give the agents a presence of where they are so if they’re doing a mission plan, for instance, when I point here you all know exactly where I’m pointing.”

2. The D3S wearable RIID

International technology group and leading developer of high-performance radioactive security products based on cadmium zinc telluride Kromek is behind the pocket-sized DS3 wearable RIID. The device has already been deployed by the New Jersey Port Authority and followed the President of the United States on one of his trips to Europe.

The device is said to be more powerful than a standard RIID, or a Radiation Isotope Identification Device as it’s also known as. Furthermore, this piece of technology is designed to detect radiological threats such as radioactive contamination, dirty bombs, radiation at the scene of an accident or a terrorist attack, and the smuggling of radioactive substances.

Take note too that the D3S wearable RIID from Kromek is a hands-free and unobtrusive device. Simply turn the detector on and then launch the accompanying app on your smartphone and the gadget will continuously scan for radiation without anyone needing to see it in operation or potential suspects to get suspicious — any alert of radiation can be picked up by your phone either sending an announcement into your earbud or simply vibrating.

Kromek stated: “Armed with the D3S wearable RIID, you are a walking gamma and neutron detector, able to detect even shielded sources and identify the isotopes used.”

3. The Internet of Things

There may be a few images that spring to mind when you hear the term Internet of Things or its acronym IoT. You may envision someone altering their home’s smart thermostat when sat at their office desk, or a person turning on a lightbulb using a smartphone app. However, global management consulting and professional services firm Accenture has acknowledged that custom agencies can also be using IoT to enhance their operations.

A case in point used by Accenture when discussing the technology was Germany’s Hamburg Port Authority. This is due to the organisation utilising the technology to improve how they monitor cargo and track journeys. Data is collected by the authority from sensors which are embedded into bridges, containers, roadways and vehicles, and then analysed. Once the analysis is complete, the findings can be delivered to officers remotely, as well as fed into schedules and assisting road authorities to channel traffic in more effective manners.

Data that is compiled via IoT operations can also be used and analysed in order to pinpoint instances of fraud or other crimes. Accenture notes: “For instance, IoT can check whether cargo actually moves along the declared routes or detect potential tampering by tracking unexpected temperature changes in containers.”