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This year, the security and protection of the UK’s critical infrastructure has been high up on the political agenda. In May, tough new measures came into force that required firms in charge of essential assets — including water and electricity facilities, oil and gas pipelines, borders, telecommunications, transportation — to put in place robust safeguards against all manner of network outages, hazards, breaches and threats.

Firms will now be required to report breaches and outages to regulators within 72 hours or face fines of up to £17 million. And any potential risks must be both assessed adequately and reported directly to the appropriate regulator.

In the recent past, the idea of using technology to monitor and manage critical infrastructure en masse wasn’t really feasible. But the advancement of digital technologies over the last decade has driven extraordinary change in what is now possible.

So, when it comes to protecting and securing assets relating to the UK’s core infrastructure the focus has shifted towards investing, adopting and integrating new digital technologies like DAS.

DAS is one of the most advanced, state-of-the-art monitoring technologies that can be deployed to safeguard infrastructure assets. And among the biggest benefits it offers is that it makes use of existing fibre optic cables, converting them into an ecosystem of highly-sensitive, individual vibrational sensors.

For firms and investors alike, this makes integration and adoption far easier, as the UK’s cities and towns have hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre optics cables installed throughout. This is what makes DAS such an appealing monitoring platform, as it ‘plugs-in’ to cables that are already in place.

If we take the National Grid for example, the organisation that oversees the majority of the UK’s electricity and gas – pre-emptive and targeted maintenance is essential to keeping the National Transmission System (NTS) safe, fit for purpose and operating efficiently. With DAS, operators and maintenance engineers can use the fibre optic cables running alongside its assets to monitor both the security and integrity of its sub-surface transmission network in real time. This is a powerful capability, particularly where assets take in miles of terrain in remote locations.

To fall in line with new legal requirements, UK firms need a far more complete picture of their operations than has previously been available. This is the only way to ensure that they can provide adequate protection and stay ahead of the many complicated and diverse challenges that they face.DAS Smart City Future