Cutting Edge Solutions for Perimeter Applications
Integrators discuss some of their most effective solutions for high-security perimeter applications.
When it comes to perimeter security, clients’ needs vary widely — sometimes within the same project. There is definitely no single approach that works for all. However, certain trends do seem to be emerging. Biometric technology appears to be truly coming into its own as a single solution, in many cases without being attached to cards at all. Other solid approaches include video analytics, security fencing, and an upgraded layered approach to security that takes into account more systems processes than ever before.
SDM spoke with several integrators about perimeter security applications that they would consider “cutting edge.” The solutions they offered to their clients fall generally into two categories: biometrics and layered security technologies. But whether brand-new technology, older proven technology or a combination of the two, they all share one common trait: they go above and beyond the “usual” to secure a perimeter door, fence or other location.
Biometric ‘fusion’ protects upscale police station. When Gil Neuman, CEO of Kent Security, Miami, was approached by the Bal Harbour Police Department about a new security system, he knew just what to suggest. “As an integrator we try to keep up with the new technology,” Neuman describes. “But when I ran into this product for the first time, I didn’t believe it would work. I am an engineer myself and I like to install products in my own office to test them out. I was one of the first users of this system and after about six months, I was ready to tell my customers about it.”
The system was SafeRise, from FST21, a blend of biometric technologies that won Best New Product in the SIA New Product Showcase competition at ISC West 2011. Based on a “humanized access control” concept, SafeRise combines facial, voice and behavior recognition algorithms to act as a mechanized version of a human guard. For employees enrolled in the system the door automatically unlocks as it “sees” or “hears” them. Others can be questioned by the system using the same technology.
Bal Harbour Shops in Miami is one of the most upscale and lucrative shopping centers in the eastern United States, so when the police department moved its station to the second floor of the mall, police wanted a security system that would match the tenor and exclusivity of the environment and be both attractive and very functional.
“We had been servicing the police department there for more than 20 years,” Neuman says, and we always shared the newest and best technology with them, so they were very open to it.”
Neuman’s company installed the SafeRise system on three external doors as well as one internal door. Employees, visitors and guests alike are greeted by the system, which automatically allows entrance to those it recognizes, questions those it doesn’t and alerts when something is potentially wrong.
From an installation standpoint, Neuman says, everything went smoothly throughout. “It is truly an IP system and everything gets run to their server. In the beginning we had the system connected to the Internet so our software engineers could make sure everything worked correctly. Then we took it off the network and put it onto their dedicated private security network.
“The customer needed a system that was trouble-free, headache-free and really high security and this was the best choice.”
Tried and true card-free access secures administration building. Ingersoll Rand’s HandKey hand geometry reader proved a durable and convenient choice for the Chesterfield County, Va. administration building. “We were asked to investigate a solution for their main administration building that wouldn’t require employees to carry cards for after-hours access control (although they later added card access for other doors),” says Al Tucker, president, Dominion Lock and Security, Mechanicsville, Va. “Our product of choice and theirs was the IR biometric hand reader.”
While the building was open to the public during the day, they wanted something to secure the building after-hours and allow employees who had a reason to be there a convenient way to enter. But because the units would be placed outside, they needed to be weather-resistant and very durable.
“We built an enclosure to hold the handprint reader for aesthetics, so it wouldn’t just be sitting out there on a pole,” Tucker says. “It was otherwise exposed to the elements.”
While the installation was in 2003, Tucker says it is as cutting-edge today as it was then and he would employ the same solution now. “The technology the unit uses to verify that it is your hand and how it is able to adjust for changes as time goes on makes it a proven choice for perimeter security.
“Over the years it has proven to be very low maintenance, very reliable and still the best choice for that customer.”
Fingerprint readers secure high-security lab. When a university animal research laboratory needed new security they approached NorthStar Security Inc., Atlanta. The integrator then turned to Innometriks, a manufacturer that sells Lumidigm fingerprint readers as one of its security solutions.
“This particular university had used another biometric solution for years, but over time the calibration was getting off and it wasn’t as high security as they would like, so they were searching for a better solution,” says John Cassise, CEO, Innometriks.
The Lumidigm solution works similarly to any fingerprint scanner from the user’s perspective, but the technology relies on multiple frequencies of light to read into the finger itself. “It eliminates the known problems of other fingerprint readers,” he says.
The university lab was concerned about security to their labs, for both the perimeter and interior doors. “Because they are doing experiments on live animals, they were very concerned about the potential for people or organizations wanting to set the animals free — animals potentially exposed to various substances you wouldn’t want running around loose,” Cassise describes.
The reader chosen had to be able to be exposed not only to the outside perimeter elements, but also to a clean room environment where it would be pressure washed with chemicals.
The retrofit went smoothly, he says. “NorthStar worked with the university’s existing network and were able to expand the system quickly,” Cassise relates.
The university is pleased with the results, he says. “The original phase was to put one building online, but once they saw how well it worked, they retrofitted all their other systems. They were particularly excited to discover that lab techs were now able to leave their gloves on when going from lab to lab because the readers can read through them.”
Iris recognition gives bank high-throughput security. A Charlotte, N.C. banking institution approached integrator Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Naperville, Ill., with a prestigious project. “The facility was brand new construction and very state-of-the –art,” says Christopher BenVau, senior vice president national accounts for Stanley. “They wanted a showcase of technology — very modern. They wanted that approach in every aspect of the construction, including their security system.”
The bank’s approximately 2,000 employees had previously used a proximity access card. But at this location, the “perimeter” was inside the lobby, which was open to the public. The security system would control access to the elevators going to the offices and upper floors of the building. “They wanted to find a way to get a large volume of people through an optical turnstile as fast as possible,” BenVau says. “They were also concerned about the security of cards in general and the possibility of employees handing their cards to friends or family or having their cards stolen.”
Stanley recommended the Hoyos line of in-motion iris identification readers. “The Hoyos system takes a high-resolution picture of your face, which gives a good image of the iris,” BenVau explains. “It uses infrared technology to make sure the pupils dilate and the image is of a live person, and does this all in a fraction of a second while the person is in motion from about 5 feet away. The readers are mounted on the turnstiles themselves. The employee simply has to look at the reader as they are walking up and it will read.”
This solution not only fit the speed requirements, it also allowed the bank to get rid of its huge population of cards. Smaller iris readers control internal doors throughout the building. The biggest issue Stanley faced as an integrator was educational, BenVau says.
“The bank actually had a biometrics committee because of concerns about privacy. There were people who wrote e-mails to us saying they believed this technology was the ‘sign of the devil.’ Some people were very reluctant to use it. Part of our job was to educate people about the technology and explain that it was just a picture.
A Layered Approach
High security fencing protects water utility. Often perimeter security is about much more than a single technology. Not only do facilities usually have a host of different technologies (often already integrated) that they desire to add to, but they want these technologies to do more than ever before. The most effective layered security solutions blend stable, older technologies with exciting new ones to create systems that can go beyond security to the business processes themselves.
For example, Birmingham Water Works in Birmingham, Ala., needed a fencing system after 9/11 that would meet the stringent security requirements and government mandates that followed that tragedy.
“For us, water is one of the most critical infrastructures,” says Scott Starkey, security superintendant at the facility. “You can live without power or gas, but not water.” Starkey approached Gallagher Security Management Systems, an electronic fencing manufacturer, for a solution. Gallagher’s solution, which the manufacturer installed, incorporates an electric fencing system that goes in behind the physical fence and triggers an alarm when touched or cut by someone trying to breach the fence. The system is further integrated with a video system that automatically tunes to that location when an alarm is generated.
“We looked at using guards, but they can only see part of the perimeter at a time,” Starkey says. “Gallagher can see all of the perimeter all of the time. It cuts down on overall cost.” The system also allows for more proactivity.
For more technological maintenance on the system, Starkey called in an integrator, Global Security Options of Birmingham and Carlsbad, Calif. “We took over the maintenance of their perimeter security systems for the six locations they have this fencing installed,” says James T. Odom, partner. “Perimeter fencing is out in the weather and they occasionally have problems with lightning or wind that requires fixing. If the system is not maintained they could receive false alarms, which cause the people monitoring the system to lose faith in it.”
Odom says this system is cutting-edge precisely because of the layered nature of the approach. “Most companies feel that by having video security systems they have ample security, but the reality is that these video systems generally only come into play after an incident has already occurred. Most companies today don’t have a monitoring center to watch cameras real-time, so they leave themselves open to security breaches real time. The Gallagher solution is monitored 24/7 by a Birmingham Water central station downtown. They always have someone looking at the alarm status of each individual system and the cameras are there to automatically flash to an alarm zone so they can instantly see if there is a true security breach.”
Layered approach helps airport terminal with security and business practices. Diebold, North Canton, Ohio, was approached by an airline terminal in the Northeast to provide security for its more than 20 gates using a complete integrated approach.
“At most airports, the perimeters are pretty unique,” says Jeremy Brecher, vice president of technology services, Diebold. “The air side of the door is a controlled space, but you also have the doors that when passengers are boarding have to be left open for a period of time.”
The airport also had a large baggage handling system it wanted integrated with the security. Diebold approached the project with a combination of Lenel’s OnGuard access control system and Verint’s Nextiva video system.
“The Lenel system was capable of doing a couple of unique integrations for the baggage handling system as well as a centralized provisioning system,” he says. “On the video side, there were some great real-time video viewing capabilities, which was important for not only security, but operations control.
“Using the video for more than just security is a great benefit to the airport. The provisioning system allows them to be more hands-on with the workflow. And the baggage handling system has all those air side facing doors that open and close. When you are thinking holistically about a perimeter you have to think about all those entry points. Integrating allows security to see when those doors are open or closed. If one jams and doesn’t close fully that is important to baggage handling, but also to perimeter security.”
The system leveraged the customer’s network infrastructure to create a hybrid solution that would support all of the systems they needed to manage. The challenge, Brecher says, was to always keep both the big and small picture in mind.
“How do you install a camera on a jet bridge that moves so it will always cover the correct angles? We had to deal with that, but also had to work with the customer and consultant to pull back and look at the whole place as a single operating mode. The value of these systems is in how they all operate together. If you have a problem you need to follow it through the terminal. It is about always keeping a micro focus on tasks and details while always watching the bigger picture and making sure everything flows and operates the way it was intended.”
Utility company uses blend of security for first-rate security. “Cutting edge. Is it a new term or not?” asks Greg Arthur, account manager for Niscayah Inc., an integrator in San Diego, Calif. “A lot of solutions out there are not necessarily brand new, and there are a lot of systems that we use including standard microwave systems and PIRs, but we also bring video analytics and thermal cameras into the game.”
That is the balance Niscayah brought to a utility company customer on the West Coast. “The customer needed to protect remote and urban facilities that included electrical substations, generator facilities, construction yards, vehicle storage yards and administration building sites,” Arthur says. The security upgrade project was part of an overall move to better protect employees and assets, including upgrading access control and monitoring methods to incorporate network communications.
“We chose a combination of cutting-edge technology and ones that are proven and have been solid for many years,” Arthur says. The solution included Optex’s Redwall series of motion detectors and beam sensors. “This customer needed very good verification of video alarms for a large number of their sites that are so remote only they can respond to incidents. They also needed to be able to see at night in completely dark conditions.”
These varied conditions proved challenging from a design aspect, Arthur adds. “There was not one cookie-cutter solution. There were many shapes and sizes of perimeters needing to be protected. Many sites had limited communications available. Some sites were 24/7 facilities and others were 8 to 5. Still others were disarmed only on entry to the site. Most of the sites had poor or no lighting for viewing of cameras. Some sites were in remote areas with desert and high wind environments and others were urban or inner city areas.”
Niscayah also incorporated some test sites where they installed video analytics from Bosch Security, and Arthur sees this solution as one that will be incorporated more going forward.
“We have some thermal cameras with video analytics that are working very well at the test sites,” he says. “We also incorporated motion sensors around edges or behind buildings where it was difficult to get analytics.”
Hypothetical best solution. James Henry, executive vice president, Kratos|HBE, Fair Lawn, N.J. has installed several cutting-edge solutions in the transportation sector. “The two most innovative technologies with the greatest recent contribution to overall perimeter security in my opinion are buried sensors with the ability to establish virtual zones and video analytics,” he says.
“In all of my installations I usually use HID for access control, often smart cards with biometrics so they can carry their templates on the credential. In several of our transportation applications, we are using biometrics to validate the card carrier as a means of portal entry through a perimeter, complemented with fence and radar and video analytics, as well as PTZ for tracking.
“I encourage my customers to take advantage of recent advances in analytics for video, in multiple detection technology and stand-off detection including radar. The art is in a complementary deployment of a mixture of those technologies with a fusion engine — a term for taking in all that data and creating ‘if/then’ statements to set criteriam,” he describes.
Henry gives an example of an authority with multiple airports. If there is an event at one airport it may or may not be meaningful on a larger scale. But if the same event takes place at two or three airports at the same time, it could be important. “That is where situational awareness and really networking and sharing information between regions, state, federal and local authorities is key. During the events of 9/11 it took a lot of manual activity to realize what was going on with these aircraft that were hijacked. The challenge going forward, in addition to refining the accuracy of technology and detection, is to refine the intelligence of systems that process this information to give human beings a more intelligent processing of that data and an understanding of when there is a very unusual situation or something that requires investigation.”
Layered security is the best way to achieve optimal results, he adds. “With all these innovative technologies out there, none can be the one singular silver bullet to provide a full security sweep. There always needs to be a triangulation or overlay of multiple, complementary technologies to achieve that kind of sophisticated solution.”