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London: Subsidizing Security Concerns With SMS

LondontubeThe BBC reports that the city of London has announced plans to make it easy for its citizenry to use their SMS services throughout their underground subway system. Their experiences with the cost of 21st century security may be a cautionary tale for their slightly backwards American cousins.

If you're not familiar with security in the U.K., you may not realize that it is the nation most under surveillance on earth. Virtually everything is monitored on videocameras, and individual locations are detected via mobile phones and logged for future reference. TfL, London's transportation ministry, hired services company Capita on a US$432 million project to expand on those systems by enabling real-time monitoring of automobile license plates. To subsidize this program, the system was designed to accept toll payments via SMS.

Real-time monitoring of so many transactions seems daunting, but new software from companies like Attensity helps. If you're a city or mall manager contemplating wireless services at your property, you may need to invest in services like these to comply with tomorrow's Homeland Security requirements. To do all this and yet remain profitable, you're going to need to understand not only how these programs work but also how they can lead to improved ShopperTrak-style applications.

(If you're interested in checking this system out and get free admission to London's top attractions at the same time, British Airways has a great $139 fare. ;o)


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