This year’s Super Bowl in Houston depended on several security solutions and companies to ensure safety, including situation management and data correlation capabilities by Vidsys and high-resolution network cameras by Axis.

The Super Bowl is one of the nation’s most-watched annual events and draws large crowds wherever it is held. Last year’s Super Bowl in San Francisco attracted more than a million visitors.

According to the FBI, the security that kept everyone safe at this year's Super Bowl have been in the makings for years. “We’ve been working for several years with our partners to make sure appropriate security is in place,” said Perrye Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure it’s a safe event.”

The Vidsys platform is a key component in managing events of this magnitude. It collects, analyzes, verifies, resolves and tracks information from multiple, disparate subsystems using open architecture standards to help mitigate and manage threats and risks. The software works directly with special response groups and connects command and control center communications and video footage, enabling authorized users from any location to view and manage situations in real-time.

“The City of Houston is a long-valued customer, and our team looks forward to supporting their city-wide security and smart city efforts during the Super Bowl this year,” said James I. Chong, CEO and founder of Vidsys. “While large events are a logistical challenge, having the right technology, people, and process, along with a strong partnership reinforces a well-executed program.”

Leading up to the Super Bowl, the city of Houston hosted Super Bowl LIVE, a 10-day fan entertainment festival in downtown Houston from Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 2017.

Houston’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security selected Axis’ video and audio products to provide surveillance at and around the event’s venue, Discovery Green, a 12-acre park in downtown Houston. More than one million fans were expected to experience the excitement of Super Bowl LIVE, which included free concerts, fan games and other attractions. 

A combination of Axis dome network cameras, a thermal network camera and network horn speakers were deployed throughout the venue to help monitor and secure entryways, stages and entertainment areas. Axis partner Preferred Technologies Inc., facilitated the system’s deployment for the Houston Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, who managed the surveillance equipment and monitor cameras from a central command center and the Houston Emergency Operations Center.

Axis has worked with the city of Houston for years, said Scott Dunn, national manager, strategic channel development, Axis, “but this of course is a whole different deal for the big game.” Dunn said they focused on several key areas to ensure a smooth event, including rapid deployment, video and audio transmission over wireless, and the various lighting challenges presented at these types of events. These challenges are of course added to the crowd size and the openness of the event, making the right solutions paramount. 

Dunn said improving technology allows Axis to better meet the needs of these types of events. “Wireless transmission is much better now that it was a decade ago. One of the strengths Axis brings is our strong partner ecosystem, not only for analytics, but also for infrastructure.”

Axis had Q6155 cameras used for over watch, which, Dunn said, can produce 1080p imaging at high frame rates. What really makes these cameras special, Dunn said, is that they have ultra-low energy laser capabilities, creating extremely good autofocus. This effective autofocus overcomes a challenge that has plagued high definition, long range recording for years. “The city is extremely happy with the performance they are getting,” Dunn said, “both from the images they are getting as well as the speed and low latency because of the wireless backbones.”

Dunn said Axis has partnered with Jemez Technology, whose advanced perimeter detection analytics are running onboard the Axis thermal cameras at the event.

For audio protection, Axis has partnered with Louroe Electronics and with Sound Intelligence to detect aggressive sound.

“All of these technologies — the over watch cameras, the thermal with analytics, and the audio capabilities — are really all about  creating an environment for early warning to augment the law enforcement teams so they can have faster response and better situational awareness. And everything is tied to their emergency operation center; they are using Vidsys to coordinate all this and present it to law enforcement and the office of public safety.”

“Axis is proud to have been chosen to protect Discovery Green during the Super Bowl LIVE event. Our video and audio technologies will be on site and ready to keep attendees safe,” said Fredrik Nilsson, vice president, Americas, Axis Communications Inc. “For fans, Super Bowl LIVE will be filled with excitement and fun. For public safety personnel, the security requirements are complex, including monitoring large crowds and a need for temporary deployments. Axis’ IP-based video, thermal, and audio products are designed specifically for unique and challenging security situations like these.”

Dennis Storemski, director of the city of Houston Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, said, “This is an opportunity for fans of all ages to enjoy the best of what Super Bowl LIVE and the city of Houston has to offer and have an unforgettable experience. Keeping the public safe during an event of this size requires close coordination between agencies and real-time information sharing. The Axis network surveillance equipment will help us closely monitor crowds, have visibility into more areas at once, deploy personnel strategically and respond appropriately as needed.” 

Siklu Communication, a provider of millimeter-wave wireless solutions, also provided 60GHz V-Band radios, which are not subject to Wi-Fi interference, and are thus able to provide a reliable wireless connection even with heavy congestion in the city during the event.