Under vehicle surveillance systems

Under vehicle surveillance systems

The Under Vehicle Surveillance Systems (UVSS) market is moving into high gear, driven both by regulation and need. As demand has risen, so have formidable options for users.

The Middle East has always treated security issues with respect and sophistication, not least in the protection of critical infrastructure facilities. Whether government, military or civilian, the Under Vehicle Surveillance System (UVSS) has become an increasing ‘must have’ element of the security system. It’s now a key component to challenge both terrorism and smuggling, and every other aspect of closely monitoring the underside of any vehicle.

Yet, in recent years, the UVSS market in the Middle East has evolved significantly.

Client end users and the top end integrator community have become significantly more demanding. Simply being able to scan the underside of a car for hazardous items is no longer sufficient. It has now become routine to expect additional functionality, including license plate recognition, car make and model, as well as driver and passenger facial recognition.

There is also a growing recognition (following a variety of high profile failures at the integration and execution stage) that UVSS units need to be fully integrated in the security software platform that enables video surveillance, access control, blockers, barriers, X-Ray scanners, perimeter protection and so on to work together seamlessly. Stitched together ‘Frankenstein’ security systems are being tolerated less and less.

End-to-end solutions

Beyond the requirements of specific customers and regulation in general are the problems of stopping serious security threats relevant to the Middle East region. The solution to these problems cannot be effectively implemented by using separate devices and disparate subsystems, without taken into account the complexities of their integration, organisational confusion and human factor problems in operation.

No matter how great the technical parameters of some UVSS are in terms of searching for ‘bookmarks’ on the bottom of the car, perimeter video analytics, license plate recognition systems and smart cameras that recognise even rear row passengers in complete darkness, the Frankenstein assembled from multiple vendors may not work at a critical moment. There are many examples of unsuccessful projects built with the involvement of the top consultants based on the selection of the best technologies from different vendors, where the master integrator was unable to combine them into an efficient system.

Efficiency is lost not only ‘at the junctions’ due to limited integration capabilities and the lack of uniform standards maintained throughout the entire life cycle of the solution, but also due to the low level of decision support automation and consideration of the human factor, which creates significant security gaps. The industry has long demanded end-to-end solutions that scale to the size of the entire infrastructure of the customer with a high degree of automation and independent control over the implementation of security management regulations demanded by regulators.

Scalable systems

Traditional approaches cultivated for decades by niche hardware manufacturers are not capable of providing the required complexity and automation in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, new IT/AI technologies, adopted by new type market leaders offers breakthrough hardware and software solutions that allow solving such problems from the outset in a complex, flexible and seamless way.

Managed by intelligent dispatching geographic information systems and implemented regulations that reflect a deep understanding of the customer’s business processes, they are not only designed as a scalable system with the necessary redundancy and resilience, but also optimised in terms of hardware redundancy compared to their predecessors. In fact, the new generation of systems sets new standards for a shorter design, delivery and deployment cycle and the degree of meeting the customer’s expectations in terms of solving their problems.

Appearance is all

As with all the best security technology in the Middle East, looks do matter. When security equipment and paraphernalia are attached to or surround your facility, the most sophisticated end users are not willing to settle for ugly or jarring just because the use is security. The aesthetics of how a UVSS looks and feels and how it least disrupts and enhances the integrated architecture is a high consideration.

But that’s not all…

The Middle East buyer is no longer willing to accept large and ungainly equipment which resembles a sarcophagus and needs significant digging and trenching and days of work to even install.  This is one of the reasons that the First Generation, and once early market leaders, are now losing ground. Integrators are no longer willing to pour tonnes of concrete underground, and customers are increasingly reluctant to shell out for the UVSS itself, then its installation, and then over-expensive repairs when the system fails or needs updating.

And without native video analytics and an operating system to truly integrate the UVSS into the security ecosphere, the technology is prone to failure, is outdated and hard to support. In our research among end users for this article, one was quick to point out that it cost less to purchase a new generation UVSS from another vendor than to wait and ship a new unit for a failed installation from the outdated first generation suppliers.

In addition to the technology imperative, end users and integrators have now begun in earnest to take into account the total cost of ownership of the UVSS. They’ve realised it is not just the actual cost of the UVSS, but additionally the cost of installation and maintenance, warranty and post-warranty obligations, the cost of repair and restoration – the total cost of lifetime ownership.

Consequently, systems integrators are now changing the game in the high demand UVSS market.

What to consider for your UVSS


  • Ensure your chosen UVSS has been developed in synchronisation with global UVSS market trends, especially to the Middle East market – for example, tolerance of heat and dust.
  • Ensure your chosen vendor’s offering will work in the region and that there is a strong, local support network.
  • Ensure the UVSS you’re considering meets the highest global standards and exhibits latest generation software.


  • Base your search on price alone. The low price has been the driver of sales where end users need a piece of hardware to show minimal compliance or need a piece suitable for simple facilities with low security requirements.
  • Consider an OEM UVSS unit, because of poor support, low quality components and less than stable integrations.
About the author

Jonathan is the Head of Special Projects at ISS – a market-leading developer of security surveillance and control systems. Its ISS SecurOS UVSS is a compact system that it easy to install and maintain. It comes with a world-class enterprise-ready software platform and proprietary native video analytics and can be integrated with 3rd party systems.