The first pan-European online network to help security organisations innovate could enable police forces to hunt down social media stalkers more effectively, and also allow customs officials to verify passports faster.
It means that police forces, fire services and border control agencies can come up with new techniques and access cutting-edge technology by sharing ideas across Europe.
‘They need to cooperate with technology providers, the companies who develop the new technologies, with the universities who are involved in the research and innovation process, and also with other security organisations,’ said Age Laine from Civitta, the Baltic-based small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) that spearheaded the development of the network.
‘This is the first online platform specifically focussing on the security sector,’ said Laine at Civitta, a management consultancy working in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine which led the group of companies that created the online network. ‘We expect Europe-wide collaborations to take place.’
‘It’s very important to know what exists today, and what kind of software needs to be developed.’
Cecilia Tatu, Coordinator, INSec
For example, border agencies could use the network to get technology that allows them to scan passports faster, she said.
The network is one of the main outcomes of the 16-member, EU-funded INSec project, which aims to help security services to innovate by allowing them to share knowledge across Europe.
Cecilia Tatu, from the Alma Group, a French management consultancy, coordinated the project. She explained that security firms needed ways to find out about the latest technology so they could stay one step ahead of the criminals.
‘Today, on social media, for example Facebook and others, there is a lot of information that is available online and could be used for detecting certain acts of cybercrime, for example child harassment,’ she said.
‘Police forces have to keep up with gathering the information in time, and it’s very important to know what exists today, and what kind of software needs to be developed.’
At the moment, the platform has 250 subscribers, and the project hopes that once it finishes in March 2014 there will be continued promotion to encourage more security organisations to innovate using the technology.
Bilingual people can effortlessly switch between languages during everyday interactions. But beyond its usefulness in communication, being bilingual could affect how the brain works and enhance certain abilities. Studies into this could inform techniques for learning languages and other skills.
From wars to weddings, Europe’s history is stored in billions of archival pages across the continent. While many archives try to make their documents public, finding information in them remains a low-tech affair. Simple page scans do not offer the metadata such as dates, names, locations that often interest researchers. Copying this information for later use is also time-consuming.
There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide and about 50 eruptions occur each year. But it’s still difficult to predict when and how these eruptions will happen or how they’ll unfold. Now, new insight into the physical processes inside volcanoes are giving scientists a better understanding of their behaviour, which could help protect the 1 billion people who live close to volcanoes.
Better predictions of volcano behaviour could protect people and infrastructure.
Bacteria can give structures an ‘in-built immune system’ to help them last longer.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.