F1-FLIR Systems partnership

Security is vital for IP-obsessed Formula One teams, says Christian Horner at IFSEC 2018

Head of Digital Content, Aviation

July 5, 2018

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Physical security is critical for Formula One teams in protecting their invaluable and ever-changing intellectual property, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has told IFSEC 2018.

The Formula One legend and team principal at Red Bull said the incredible pace of technological advancement means patents are impossible, raising the important of physical security to protect the team’s base.

“We’re paranoid about IP; it’s our life blood,” Horner told a packed Keynote Arena at the three-day event. “If there’s a dog in our base we want to know if it’s a friendly dog or a Mercedes dog.

“The rate at which we innovate is how we measure ourselves against Mercedes Benz or Ferrari; I’d certainly like to have a few cameras on them!”

“This partnership with FLIR is very important to us; innovation is at the heart of everything we do,” he said. “Formula One is all about the latest technology.”

Horner was speaking alongside the team’s head of technical partnerships, Zoe Chilton, discussing a new security camera solution installed by FLIR.

The team opted for 120 FLIR thermal and visual cameras using video analytics across its huge base, including the SAROS model

The team opted for a combination of 120 FLIR thermal and visual cameras using video analytics across its huge base, including the SAROS model, to provide the “best security solution possible”.

And as Chilton explained, the incredible rate of development at a Formula One team is why the IP and security concerns are so critical.

“We have 800 staff to build two cars,” said Chilton. “That sounds like a lot but we’re working to improve and develop them for every race, processing thousands of designs and components every week.”

“We have a relationship with FLIR that gives us the latest and greatest technology.”

The biggest challenge

The specific nature of the F1 team’s HQ creates a very challenging environment for security operators, Chilton told the Audience.

“We have 800 people in six buildings over 30,000 sq m of space in a wide variety of environments that we need to keep secure,” she said. “Some of them are fenced, some of them are completely open, and getting a map of how to best use those cameras was not our area of expertise.”

“We have people and staff walking and driving through our site all day, every day. We have pedestrians walking their dogs and that creates a huge security challenge.”

“Video analytics is vital for the outdoor areas. We could have vehicles, people on bikes or pedestrians. Our new systems can tell us what type of body is moving through the zone. So if it’s a person when we don’t expect to see a person, we can flag that and pass it to our security team.”

Additionally, as a sports team Aston Martin Red Bull needs to be “accessible and friendly” to visitors, Chilton, explained, creating another set of challenges.

“We’re talking about a paradigm shift offering the same coverage with a quarter of the cost.” John Distelzweig Vice President & General Manager, FLIR Systems

“We have a very specific security requirement and cameras need to be unobtrusive,” she said. “The minimum number of cameras we could install was important, which also helped us to save financially.”

Representing FLIR Systems on stage was John Distelzweig Vice President & General Manager at the company.

Distelzweig echoed Chilton’s statement that “biggest challenge” his company faced with the installation was the nature of the base.

“The requirements are very stringent; they’re proving themselves against fierce competition every week,” he said.

“The amount of data that’s being collected by the cameras is obviously massive, and moving to a real time situation and using the right data as quickly as possible was vital.”

“We’re talking about a paradigm shift offering the same coverage with a quarter of the cost. The partnership has been going on for five years now. It started out as a customer/supplier relationship and it’s now a technical partnership.”

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