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5 Minutes With… Ken Kyle, Rail Business Development Manager, Synectics.

Posted on 06-Sep-2017 13:32:16

Ken Kyle Resized.jpg"As multi-agency threat detection and response becomes a key priority for governments, intelligently integrated solutions such as these will offer really valuable support."

Global security and surveillance specialist Synectics has recently appointed Ken Kyle, as Rail Business Development Manager to expand the UK sales team and build on the recent successes achieved in the transport and infrastructure market. To learn more about what has led Ken to this position and to gain some insights into the industry and the challenges to rail, Tim Edwards of Transport Security World recently caught with Ken for this exclusive interview. 

Tim Edwards (TE): Many thanks for the time today, to begin, what has led you to your role at Synectics?

Ken Kyle (KK): No problem at all. I’ve spent the past eight years working within the rail industry, delivering passenger and fleet connectivity services. This has included establishing long-standing relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in the rail sector, including ROSCOS, train operating companies and train builders.

However, I was keen to take on a new challenge and continue to grow and develop further, which is exactly why I was attracted to this role. It enables me to engage the global rail market with a more sophisticated security and surveillance rail proposition. It’s an exciting time in the rail sector and working for Synectics puts me in a great position to help support and promote widespread adoption of technologies that will make a real difference to the industry. I’m proud to have been asked to join such a great team, and am keen to play my part in helping to deliver continued success.

TE: What have you enjoyed the most about the position in your first 4 months?

KK: I’ve really enjoyed learning about the technological capabilities Synectics has to offer, not just in regards to transport, but in relation to casinos, oil & gas and critical infrastructure.  This is great transferable knowledge, which I can use to help drive adoption of emerging technologies and client-focused solutions in the rail market.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Synectics’ integrated surveillance solutions and at how these can help solve key issues facing the rail sector, from improving security to streamlining and enhancing operations.

TE: What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?

KK: Encouraging the rail industry to think about security and surveillance in a ‘joined up’ way by focusing on the benefits of integration – particularly in relation to converging on-vehicle and infrastructure solutions.

With networking/Wi-Fi capabilities continuously improving there is really no reason why, on arrival/approach to any destination, data from on-vehicle surveillance cannot automatically feed in to a station’s command and control solution, and vice versa – a fact which offers huge potential in terms of network-wide passenger protection and service efficiency. Operators need to look at the whole connected picture, rather than integrating in silos.

TE: What will be some of the biggest differences between rail now and in ten years’ time?

KK: It is expected that by 2019, nearly 35.5 per cent of the video surveillance industry will be dedicated to serving our global transport infrastructure. Why? Because the integrated solutions we as an industry can now offer, provide a perfect mechanism for improving situational awareness and managing data in order to help transport operators deliver better, safer, connected services.

What’s seen as forward thinking now, for example integrating on-vehicle systems (cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs), passenger information systems and telematics) to gain a holistic view of safety, security and operational performance, will become commonplace.

Also, as discussed earlier, we’ll see much more in terms of train-to-ground connectivity. The benefits of this will be significant. As well as supporting collaborative working, for instance making it easier for station-based security teams and/or local police forces to recognize and respond to on-vehicle threats, further advances in train-to-ground system convergence will help deliver a more connected passenger journey, deliver cost savings and enhance overall network management.

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TE:  How can multi model Transport operators running separate operations collaborate more to improve Security?

KK: Just as intelligently integrated command and control solutions enable transport operators to achieve a holistic view of their own networks, solutions based on an open platform framework also facilitate improved inter-operator/agency communications and collaboration.

At a basic level, this can involve integrating specific features such as remote evidence management software to enable authorized third party organisations (such as the police) to securely view and seize footage on request, without having to physically attend a control room. This is a process already implemented by many leading transport hubs.

However, there is also significant potential for a more collaborative approach to live incident management. Workflows are important to mention here – dynamic decision making tools offered as a feature within some surveillance command and control software solutions.  Implementing workflows which prompt external agency involvement if certain event criteria are met, and integrating VoIP for direct communications via the system, allows incidents to be escalated or jointly managed by appropriate parties.

As multi-agency threat detection and response becomes a key priority for governments, intelligently integrated solutions such as these will offer really valuable support.

Click here to read the digital guide - Protecting Rail and Metro From Cyber Security Threats

TE:  How do you strike the balance between creating the most secure possible journey for passengers whilst maintaining the best possible experience? Especially with the chaos we have seen at European airports this summer.

KK: While security and safety remains of paramount importance, transport operators also have to prioritise passenger experience and efficiency, particularly when service expectations are so high.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), only 8% of global air passengers think it is acceptable to wait over 10 minutes for security checks. The sentiment is universal. Regardless of transport mode, passengers want to feel safe but expect to travel without any unnecessary delay – transport is, after all, a service.

Ensuring that passengers remain safe and satisfied during periods of high level security concern, necessitates improved situational awareness i.e. achieving a complete picture that spans all operational aspects.

Using an open architecture surveillance solution to integrate, correlate and interrogate data from multiple, third party systems, operators are better equipped to identify security risks and, through interoperability, action appropriate responses.

Synectics Logo Process_hires.jpg

Crucially, solutions such as this can also be used to detect live service risks, such as excessive queues/waiting times etc., and also uncover areas for ongoing improvement based on analysis of things such as announcement reaction times, ticket purchasing behaviour and concourse/platform dwell time. This helps inform operational decisions such as concession area location, staffing, infrastructure investment, barrier-check usage, and help-point development, all of which serves to enhance overall passenger experience.

TE: Great, thanks very much for the time today.

For more information on Synectics please visit www.synecticsmobile.com 


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Tim Edwards
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