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Israeli technology has chief role in battling world threats

Migdal Haemek company HTS's Container Code Recognition system controls half of the international market.
hts.jpgOn Sunday, Israel begins to host the first three-day International Homeland Security Conference, showcasing locally developed and manufactured solutions to terrorism threats before security experts and decision-makers from around the world. One of the companies that will be presenting its products is Hi-Tech Solutions (HTS), a company based near Migdal Haemek that specializes in image processing and computer vision technologies, mechanisms critical for a wide variety of civilian and security applications.

Established in 1992, the company saw its first commercial product sold in 2000. HTSs proprietary technology provides both digital and video image records, for direct recognition, identification and recording of alphanumeric and graphic codes.

Put simply, HTSs systems can read numbers from a photo and reproduce them in text form. This ability enjoys a wide range of possible applications, many of them in the fields of law enforcement, traffic management, cargo administration and security.

Today, HTSs two main products are License Plate Recognition (LPR) and Container Code Recognition (CCR) systems. By pointing a camera, connected to a computer, at a cargo container or a vehicles license plate, HTSs technology can reproduce the numbers in text form. Link that ability to any system that monitors movement of large volumes of traffic and you get a highly effective, real-time solution that can be put to many uses.

In the civilian market, HTSs systems are especially useful for providing logistical solutions for anyone who wants to quickly and accurately track movement of vehicles. One major project that HTS is involved with in Israel is the soon-to-beopened Carmel tunnels.

The tunnels that run under the city of Haifa will use HTSs system to assist in its toll collection.

HTSs equipment is mounted on 24 toll routes in the tunnel project, where it will capture images of the license plates of all the vehicles that pass through and send the translated data to the operating company for billing purposes.

Another application that Israelis may be familiar with is automated parking lots.

Already in partnership with Tel Avivs Ahuzat Hahof parking lot chain, many of the citys major parking lots use HTSs products to enable users to exit the lot after paying without having to present the payment receipt at the exit.

HTSs systems are also in use at ports to track containers entering and exiting the facility by land and by sea.

Mounted on cranes and port gates, the system enables the identification of hundreds of thousands of cargo containers, and crosschecks them with their manifests to make sure they are being offloaded at the correct location and contain the right cargo.

Another place that the system is in use is at the entrance to Ben-Gurion Airport. While waiting for the security guard to wave them through, all vehicles are filmed by HTSs gatemounted cameras and the license plates numbers are crosschecked with a security database alerting the system if any blacklisted vehicles appear at the gate. Systems based on similar principles are used by commercial and state agencies all across the world.

According to HTS CEO Philip Elovic, HTS systems are successfully used in over 40 countries, with the See Container CCR system controlling 50 percent of the international CCR market.

Elovic said that though they have a smaller market share in the LPR market, it is there they see the most potential for growth.

LPR technology has really evolved, and as the accuracy of the technology grows, so does customer confidence. Today the technology is accurate enough to be put to use in revenue collection systems, with a low enough error-rate to justify their widespread implementation, said Elovic.

HTS is currently developing systems that will see its technology used on mobile platforms.

One possible use would be by municipal parking inspectors, who could carry a hand-held device installed with the software.

Additional future applications for the system are drivethrough banks and car rental agencies, and advanced building security systems.

At the Homeland Security Conference, HTSs vice president in charge of business development, Meta Rosenberg, will present the companys abilities before a large group of security professionals, including foreign public security ministers, chiefs of police, mayors and airport security experts.

Elovic said Rosenberg will talk about how HTSs technology can be used to boost homeland security in a post-9/11 world.
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