The Role of Agencies in Transforming Border Management

Emerging technologies are providing huge opportunities to enhance border security. However, agencies must decide on the proper adoption of technologies into their border security systems.

FREMONT, CA: Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, biometrics, data analytics, and machine learning have created new threats and possibilities, necessitating an immediate and creative response from industry leaders. Among the many challenges, globalisation and the growing threat of terrorism are also limiting border agencies’ ability to protect the swift movement of people and goods across borders. Despite these challenges, many countries are willing to adopt next-generation technologies. A reason for leaning towards technology is the idea that it can reduce risk and enhance border security by improving customer service delivery.

Impact of New Information Technologies

Shortly, emerging information technologies will facilitate a fundamental change in border management which will lead to industrial transformation. The major challenges faced by border agency leaders are a fast-changing operating environment, challenging legacy system integration, and an ageing workforce, all of which hinder digital transformation. Many agencies are adopting more technologies that help them achieve data management and operational objectives. Utilising advanced analytics and predictive modelling techniques to re-engineer travel and customs processes is widely popular among customs and border agencies to improve business performance.

A major reason for executing advanced analytics is to enhance and augment the work of employees. Although data analytics is broadly adopted, video analytics is in limited use despite its obvious advantages and capabilities in the management of ports and border crossings. Additionally, biometric-based solutions are also less adopted, even with the availability of mobile devices to collect travellers' biometric information (fingerprints, face pictures, etc.) at border crossings or when they apply for visas. Implementing IoT-based projects is also observed as rare among several organisations in the industry.

The employment of smart containers, embedded sensors, and monitoring technologies by various border authorities are examples of innovation possibilities despite the low adoption rates. This is particularly significant in the freight sector, where smart containers with sensors and tracking devices like GPS and RFID chips are used. These devices enable manufacturers, carriers, and shippers to more precisely monitor the temperature, vibration, losses, and location of their goods.

People and processes

Major operational alterations are required to use next-generation technologies, which forward-thinking agencies have already implemented. Such agencies have taken the lead in the adoption of new technologies through smart digital agency programmes introduced in their companies. These programs facilitate digital transformation in day-to-day operations. The initiatives, however, are being scrutinised to identify the potential effects of other contemporary technologies such as analytics, AI, machine learning, robots, and intelligent processing services.

Many customs and border agencies believe that new technologies will increase work satisfaction among employees by enabling them to focus on more specialised and critical tasks. Organisations will be able to bring in a radical transformation through their data scientists and research and development staff. However, the need for new digital developers and designers is high.

Collaboration and Innovation Mindset

A lack of industry models is impacting the deployment of new technologies. By collaborating with universities, research institutions, and forward-thinking companies, border agencies can find and implement innovative solutions to operational challenges. Therefore, organisations are willing to accept public-private partnerships and new commercial models.

Along with collaboration, education also plays a crucial factor in helping border agencies improve the transformational possibilities of intelligent technologies. Thus, the private sector and academia should share information on emerging technologies with the public sector. They must also pass the information on the effective methods and the results of implementing technologies.

The majority of border security agencies are using intelligent technologies for ensuring safe, secure, and efficient passage of goods and people across borders, and importantly offering economic significance and national and global prosperity.

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