Q+A with Anastasios Douvikas, Director of ICT + Security Engineering
You lead Ghafari’s ICT + Security Group. What kind of work does this team do?
Our team designs virtually any system that requires any kind of data transmission or network connection, ranging from building access, surveillance, and intrusion detection, to fire alarms, paging, audiovisual tools, and indoor and outdoor antenna for WIFI and cellular networks.
You’ve completed projects at a number of airports around the globe – which has been the most rewarding and why?
The two that come to mind are the perimeter security project at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, and our work on a couple of aircraft maintenance bases for the U.S. Navy in Guam and Italy.
The perimeter security project in Doha was very complex, and it involved the latest technologies in security and video analytics. The knowledge and experience we gained were unique for a U.S.-based company. In fact, we were recently invited to the TSA headquarters in Washington D.C. to present our expertise in perimeter security and our role on this particular project.
The Navy projects were exciting as well. We designed the communications systems (the remote control) for the unmanned Triton Surveillance / Spy aircraft that are housed and maintained at these bases.
What are aviation clients’ biggest security concerns in 2018?
Our aviation clients’ biggest security concerns today are cybersecurity, security on the ground and in conflict zones, as well as preventing threats from insiders.
In an effort to strengthen airport security on a global scale, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) has recently put in place the first Global Aviation Security Plan. Everyone is awaiting its implementation, which gives rise to a number of challenges, such as information-sharing among different governments, getting technology to market, and expanding and linking trusted traveler programs. This global alignment of security strategies will definitely impact our work going forward.
Outside of aviation, what are some other sectors that can benefit from your group’s services? Is Ghafari serving these markets?
Our team’s expertise can be utilized in a number of industries like higher education, healthcare, institutional, commercial, and manufacturing. Recently, we conducted a security assessment for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. We’ve also provided similar assessments for large-scale industrial complexes. The security risks in the industrial environment are a bit different and focused on protecting assets, preventing theft prevention, and blocking unauthorized access, without of course neglecting the possibility of a terrorist attack.
How has technology influenced the way we design security systems today?
Advances in technology are constantly bringing improvements. These days we can send power over the same cable as data, eliminating the need for new electrical circuits and outlets, for example. Security cameras can analyze their own images with onboard processing, where it was previously done on separate servers that took up additional space and power. Robust WIFI meshes can significantly reduce the need for hard-wired data outlets, which in turn can reduce the space and power requirements of the overall network.
At airports specifically, there will be a mass deployment of new screening technologies both for baggage and passengers in order to help detect and facilitate security on the ground.
Give us five adjectives that describe Ghafari team members.
Passionate, committed, hardworking, straightforward, and I can’t leave out thorough.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a huge soccer fan. I didn’t miss a minute of this year’s FIFA World Cup (I was cheering for Uruguay)!