Star-Bulletin Features

Monday, August 20, 2001


Stuffs featured item
Security scanning devices around building walls and
stairwells mark checkpoints for security guards to
prove they were at a certain place at a certain time.


Plastic strips create
part of high-tech
security control

You see these little plastic strips popping up on large buildings around town. They're in stairwells, on building edges, on walkways, near elevators, in parking lots. They're tough, Lexan-like material, and if you peer at them closely, there's a kind of metallic bar code hidden inside.

This is the "Electronic Guard Tour Verification System." Got that? OK, good night.

Oh, you want more information?

Security guards walk a beat, and it's supposed to be both regular and varied. There are check-in points to make sure security is maintained. Guards carried a device called a watchclock that generally used a specialized key device to unlock the clock for the next leg of the patrol.

These keys were hidden wherever they could be, but, being keys, people would make off with them. A high-tech solution was the answer.

Thus the strips, called Data Transfer Units, or DTU. You can stick 'em anywhere and they're impervious to the weather. Combine them with a gizmo called a Data Acquisition Unit, or DAU -- sort of like bar-code scanners in the supermarket -- and the guard just rubs the two together to prove he was at a certain point at a certain time and in the proper circuit of point-checking.

The units can be plugged directly into a computer printer to punch out a paper report.

Do you know where YOUR security guard is tonight?

Burl Burlingame

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