Don't shy away from high profile security integration jobs. Arenas and stadiums can prove a solid business relationship. 

Being in the spotlight has its advantages, in addition to obvious challenges. There are certain security integration assignments that, because of location, public accessibility, or homeland security profile, carry more weight in design, installation, and stature.

As America remembers, on this tenth anniversary, the tragedy of 9/11, security of the memorial museum and the World Trade Center structures under construction are essential and have significance beyond typical door controls or security video. Ted Meshover knows well.

Meshover, president and chief executive of the privately held Universal Security Systems Inc., moved six years ago into a 22,000-square-foot building in Hauppauge, New York, to concentrate on integration of security systems. It is designing electronic card access control systems for all of the doors at One World Trade Center, now under construction. In addition, the company handled security video and access control systems at the memorial museum, being dedicated later this month. Media reports suggest the museum contract is worth about $4 million.

In an interview recently, Meshover said, in securing the contracts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, “We’re getting the opportunity to rebuild. We’re working on sacred soil. We’re there to improve and advance security measures they had there at the time.”

Government and corporate security has moved decisively ahead after 9/11. Today’s System Integrator sister publication, Security magazine, recently spotlighted Security Initiatives Since 9/11/01; Securing Critical Infrastructure Post 9/11; Alerts and Mass Notification in a Post 9/11 World. Read more about these initiatives in the sidebars below.

While there is no doubt that the new World Trade Center buildings and the 9/11 memorial museum are in a unique spotlight, integrators have been involved —successfully — in other projects that draw attention and public attendance.

And such projects can add to both the bottom line and the importance of the integrator’s business, too, when it involved government and corporate efforts.

For example, for the U.S. Navy, the San Diego-based Pacific Beacon facility is a unique security strategy that can be replicated worldwide.

The first privatized community for enlisted single sailors in the country, it is being protected by an integrated approach consisting of 941 dual master suites in three high-rise buildings overlooking San Diego Bay. Pacific Beacon was developed through a public-private venture between the Department of the Navy and Clark Reality Capital as part of the Homeport Ashore program.

Rising Higher. 1 World Trade Center, shown at halfway point. Photo courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Tishman Construction Corporation

In addition to residential units, the facility includes a pool, rooftop terrace, barbeque area, poker room and café. To meet the challenge of helping protect this facility and the active duty men and women who live there, Clark Realty Capital and the Bergelectric Corporation, the project’s integrator, selected Facility Commander to serve as the main security system. Pacific Beacon represents the first large-scale deployment of the InfoGraphics architecture integrated into Facility Commander under the Microsoft Windows platform.

Currently, the system guards common areas and individual apartments for more than 1,800 residents, integrating over 1,000 access control readers, 300 fixed and dome cameras, and numerous entry and exit points into a single, unified system, operated through a central monitoring station. There also is a life safety control platform with addressable smoke detectors. With military personnel coming and going, the design allows staff easy access to approve and give entry to new and returning residents. Additionally, the system will be compatible with the Navy’s new Common Access Card (CAC), which will allow personnel the convenience of using their existing CAC cards.

At one of the world’s most historic and iconic sports venues, new technology and security measures will allow Churchill Downs to maintain a free-flowing public setting while providing a safe and secure environment. The venue selected Honeywell’s Pro-Watch security management system to ensure better control and monitoring of the racetrack’s administrative facilities.

Louisville-based integrator Ready Electric Company Inc. installed the initial proximity card reader system at the Churchill Downs administrative building, where all track operations are managed. The system will ensure only authorized personnel can access the building, while continuing to allow easy public access to the rest of the campus, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1986. 

System operators can assign appropriate access privileges to individual cardholders. Additionally, badging capabilities allow designated Churchill Downs employees to manage the credentialing process for all cardholders as necessary. The software will allow staff to expand the overall security system in the future as needed. For example, the access control system can add an unlimited number of doors and encompass multiple buildings, as well as advanced video technology.

“More corporations and facilities like Churchill Downs are moving toward software such as this because having the ability to easily grow in the future will ultimately help save money,” says Dan Kloenne of Ready Electric. “Security threats are constantly evolving, and many want to invest now in flexible technology that will help them adapt as necessary.”

For security system integrators, protecting arenas, stadiums, large public venues and special events involves traditional tools and skills but unique needs specific to the venue, location, event, time of day, crowd demeanor and even international and terrorist situations.

As compared with others worldwide, security integration has been part of a brand-spanking new venue, the KFC Yum! Center, where, after several years of design, planning, and construction, a team of experts created a technology-centric infrastructure to best support operations and security when it opened last October.

It was no small task. There are 240 miles of Cat5e and four miles of fiber. There are nearly 150 cameras, all IP-based and power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled. The cameras integrate with electronic access controls, which include biometrics in some areas of the facility. There is Wi-Fi inside the concrete-challenging facility, digital radios for first responders, and some staff members have Android phones for text and e-mail communications during operations and security incidents.

It was a big construction job: a 721,762 square foot facility of seven levels costing $238 million, with seating ranging from 22,000 to 17,500 depending on the type of event, when Chicago-based Mortenson Construction’s John Wood, senior vice president, handed the keys over to representatives from the Louisville Arena Authority and Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB).

In between, integrator Orion Systems Group of Fairfax, Va., successfully delivered enterprise-class IP video and access control systems on time and budget, and in time for the first event, an Eagles concert.

“One of my biggest challenges has been, going back more than two years, the wish of KSFB to be at the forefront of technology in our state-of-the-art facility,” explains Alicia Dunlap, the board’s director of division of information technology. “At KFC Yum! Center, we want all athletes, sporting personnel, performers, event staff, fans and visitors to feel safe and secure both within and around the facility.”

So it took “exceptional personnel focusing on project management and quality control” to make this project possible and successful, adds Paul Garver, president of Orion.

As another example of a high profile integration effort, in Des Moines, the AAA Iowa Cubs recently installed an integrated access system at its home field, Principal Park, thanks to integrator Strauss Security Solutions of Urbandale, Iowa.

Principal Park, home to 72 Iowa Cubs games each season, sees more than 500,000 fans through its gates each year. Over the years, the stadium has undergone numerous expansions and improvements. Prior to upgrading access control capabilities, the Iowa Cubs relied on lock and key, motion detection sensors, and door ajar alerts. But as Jeff Tilley, director of stadium operations, explains, “We felt we had a certain number of doors where we wanted more information and more control; we wanted to better document who was coming and going and to limit access.”

Tilley and Jake Samo, his assistant manager for stadium operations, shopped around and looked at a number of different access control systems. Now they use the software as a service approach to control the main entrance doors to the stadium and access to the Cubs’ front office, the facilities office where equipment and promotional items are stored, and to the Cubs owner’s personal office.

The system is managing upwards to 100 employees, interns, and part-time help divided into approximately 12 groups with specific access days and times as well as access locations for each group. Each group’s specific access privileges track their function at the ballpark — grounds crew, cleaning crews, front office interns, concessions, stadium operations, etc. Tilley and Samo are considering adding outside contractors to the access groups in the future.

Security Initiatives Since 9/11/01

Many security initiatives have been developed since 9/11, some of which are still works in progress. Here is a partial list, contributed by some Security magazine readers.

•  The Department of Homeland Security.

•  The identification and establishment of the 18 Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KRs) for the United States. Recognizing, coordinating and structuring the CI/KRs into sectors provides both the private and public sectors an operational platform that did not exist before. “Protecting one sector protects all sectors,” says Thomas Collins.

•  The “See Something, Say Something” Campaign promoted by the Department of Homeland Security that allows the average citizen to participate in the protection of his or her neighborhood and country.

•  Fusion Centers. “The implementation of 72 Fusion Centers across the United States have provided a nexus for law enforcement agencies and representatives of the private sector to share information and participate in the all-hazards all-crimes fusion center environment,” says Dave Shepherd, CEO of the Readiness Resource Group.

•  The Homeland Security Information Network or HSIN, that allows vetted individuals from both the private and public sector to receive the latest information on the current threat environment, distribution of intelligence reports, notification of training opportunities and even communicate with other security professionals throughout the U.S. in a community of interest.

•  The National Incident Management System. “We have been utilizing the incident command system or ICS in our schools since 2003,” says Guy Grace. “It is a tremendous resource to have this framework in our schools. The system helped us to organize our major crisis response elements. The school districts’ ICS has dealt with countless emergencies over the years, and without this ICS structure we could have had some disasters.”

•  CFATS (Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) regulations and mandates address some of the most critical assets in the U.S., such as chemical plants, electrical generating facilities, refineries and universities.   

•  “The SAFETY Act that was passed in 2002 to encourage the development and deployment of anti-terror services and technologies without fear of liability in the event of more terrorist acts,” says Marc Shapiro, senior vice president International Accounts Division, G4S.

•  “As controversial as the Patriot Act may be to some Americans, the provisions within the act have enabled our federal agencies to gain the intelligence to implement pre-emptive actions to help thwart terrorists domestically and globally,” says Tom Giannini of SimplexGrinnell.

•  “Private and public cooperation initiatives, such as the FBI’s Infragard program, provide an excellent forum for public education,” says Bob Messemer. “While Infragard pre-dates 9/11, it quickly became the preferred forum for the exchange of ideas between the public and private sectors in how to better protect critical infrastructure assets vital to our economic development and national security.”

“The reality is while these activities are ‘worthy,’ nothing can ever replace the losses and tragedy that came out of the terrorist acts and crisis of 9/11,” concludes Sandy Jones of Sandra Jones and Company. “I can only hope that as an industry we continue to recognize that our products and services can make a difference, help save lives, protect assets and mitigate risk.”

Securing Critical Infrastructure Post 9/11

The cyber and physical security of the North American power grid is center stage in the efforts to ensure critical infrastructure resilience in the United States and Canada. Every aspect of modern life depends on electricity, from banking and finance to transportation, from education and social services to operation of our military complex, from hospitals and public safety to communications. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) leads the effort to improve physical and cyber security for the bulk power system by initiating leadership, supporting security practitioners and moving the electric sector forward by addressing threats to critical infrastructure. NERC coordinates electric industry activities designed to protect the industry’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats. Security is addressed in the daily operation of the electricity grid and in future planning of the grid.

Here, Mark Weatherford, vice president and CSO of NERC, shares his thoughts on securing the electric grid post 9/11:

“Security has become a more visible component in the everyday lives of American citizens, and there has been tremendous change in both the requirements of government and business and the expectations of citizens. People are more aware of their surroundings and more willing to identify things that are out of place or unusual. Within the private sector critical infrastructure communities, the events of 9/11 provided illumination of how critical the secure operation of our businesses is to the functioning of society. Within the electricity industry, events over the past 10 years that resulted in geographically isolated specific power outages combined to drive vast improvements in physical security of plants and facilities. On the cybersecurity front, the electricity industry has been very proactive in developing mandatory and enforceable security standards for those entities considered vital to the reliability of the bulk power system in North America.

The electricity sector has had a mature understanding of risk management for many years as related to natural disturbances such as hurricanes, earthquakes and how hot and cold weather can affect the efficient operation of the power grid. The greatest changes in risk management have been in the evolution and understanding of man-made threats such as targeted terrorist attacks and the ever-changing cybersecurity threat environment.

 Within the electricity sector, the development of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards has had a profound effect on the industry. While industry was adopting and incorporating changes in digital technologies to increase productivity and realize economic efficiencies, there was no consistency in the efforts. The CIP Standards continue to evolve as would be expected in any new large scale initiative but in a very short period of time have already resulted in higher levels of consistency and more focused awareness across the North American electricity sector.”

Alerts and Mass Notification in a Post 9/11 World

By Joe Wilson, president, Industrial System Division, Federal Signal

The tragedy of 9/11 triggered a long overdue examination of emergency preparedness strategies and the systems in place that keep America safe. Yet, a decade later, as public safety becomes increasingly more important, less than half of Americans still do not have an emergency plan in place and 37 percent do not feel confident in their abilities to react properly during an emergency, according to the 2010 American Public Safety Survey conducted by Federal Signal and Safe America Foundation.

While Patriot Day (9/11) reminds Americans of the dangers that should never be completely removed from our minds, the recent unrest caused by this year’s devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other severe weather, not only escalates public safety awareness, but reaffirms the need for emergency preparedness. So how do emergency managers effectively communicate in the event of an emergency?

It was not that long ago when the agencies responsible for issuing warnings and alerts to the general public depended almost exclusively on outdoor sirens and radio and television broadcasts. However, today’s emergency managers must consider a much broader spectrum of communication technologies and messaging formats, no matter what type of threat occurs. This includes everything from landlines, cell phones, pagers, radios, text messaging, public address and intercom systems, LED signage, message boards and strobe alerts, to a variety of IP-based technologies, including e-mail, instant messaging, RSS, smart phones and even social networking technologies such as Twitter and Facebook.

These advanced technologies and messaging formats are clearly playing an expanded role in the development of the newest generation of emergency warning and mass notification systems. By the same token, it has become evident that these new technologies must be considered in context with a host of human factors such as age, physical disabilities and cultural differences, which have always been a concern in planning emergency alert and notification systems. For this reason, today’s emergency communications and mass notification planners must consider how the two major domains – increased communication layers and human factors – come together to directly affect the myriad of issues that must be addressed.

An effective, comprehensive emergency warning and mass notification strategy must demonstrate the flexibility to accommodate the needs of different audiences. For instance, consider the needs of those unable to read English, or of people who are simply illiterate. The question begs to be asked: If someone cannot read a text message, then what good is a smartphone platform?

Another example of human factors to consider is the way people prefer to be notified. The Public Safety Survey also revealed that Americans prefer technology for emergency notification:

•    By a telephone call – 26 percent
•    By a television alert – 25 percent
•    By text message – 18 percent
•    By outdoor loudspeakers – 15 percent
•    By radio alert – 10 percent
•    By e-mail – 3 percent
•    Not sure – 4 percent

While it’s impossible to address every issue relating to the expanded layers of communication and diverse human factors in challenging today’s emergency planners and first responders, having an expanded perspective on both the scope and complexity that comes into play in the development of emergency communication systems will help address today’s new set of concerns.

The most effective strategies for today’s and tomorrow’s emergency communications and mass notification systems will reflect the views of planners and decision makers who can answer “Yes” to three central questions:

1. Have you made every effort to understand the needs of your community inside and out? This encompasses researching and assessing the full scope of social and cultural norms, including language differences, as well as evaluating factors such as age and physical handicaps.

2. Have you applied this knowledge to available technologies and leaned on others’ experiences? This includes a thorough analysis of current and potential mediums of communication with a focus on issues that relate to reach, control, and variability.

3. Are you taking all the necessary steps to ensure that the citizens you serve are adequately prepared for an emergency situation? In addition to providing both initial and continuing education and training in emergency communications and procedures, this includes providing information on emergency kits, checklists and instructional pamphlets, while promoting awareness programs.