In the middle of the day-to-day business of security, it is possible to overlook the “feel good” side of security â€” and that there are little boys and girls growing up fascinated with all things security. It is not just a job or an industry to them – it is cool. You remembered if you watched the Jan. 2, 2011 airing of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. At least I did. In the show, a smaller-scale adaptation of Matrix Systems’ commercial security equipment is installed in a family’s residence for its "secret agent"-loving son. Other security equipment is donated by industry companies including L-1 Identity Solutions, Stanley Access Technologies, Dynex Products, Bosch Security Systems North America, and K.N.S. Services Inc. All the equipment comes together in a “secret” security control room for ten-year-old Garrett Grommesh.
Grommesh is described as a huge fan of secret agents, espionage movies and the FBI. So when ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition built his family a new home, commercial access control provider Matrix Systems and other industry companies helped out by providing James Bond-style security equipment.
Grommesh's secret security control room, which is accessible only with a biometric fingerprint access control reader, was one of the highlights of the Jan. 2 prime time episode viewed by millions. The room features a wall of five security monitors wired to pan-tilt-zoom video surveillance cameras throughout the house to help Garrett watch over the household. Miamisburg, Ohio-based Matrix Systems donated access control equipment and installation services for the project's episode.
“Our security business is solely in commercial markets such as government, transportation, healthcare, education, commercial and industrial facilities, but we were honored to provide the Grommesh family a residential adaptation of our services,” said James Young, president, Matrix Systems, a provider of commercial security management and access control solutions under the Frontier brand.
On the TV reality show, now in its eighth season, contractors renovate and replace homes of deserving families. Typically the new or remodeled house includes a themed play area devoted to a child's hobby or passion. In Garrett's case, design team member and co-star, Paul DiMeo came up with the idea of creating the vault-like room of video surveillance equipment to accommodate a passion for spies and secret agents.
The hour-long episode featured the construction of the new two-story, 5,200-square-foot house built by hundreds of volunteers and vendors. The Grommesh family's previous residence, which was difficult for the wheelchair-bound Garrett to navigate, was moved and donated to another family featured in the episode. The Grommesh family was selected partly for the on-going community efforts of their non-profit foundation, Hope Inc., to provide mobility, recreational and educational opportunities to children with physical and cognitive challenges. The new residence is handicap accessible with an elevator, lower-profile kitchen counters, a therapy pool lift and other features.
Garrett received private instruction on how to operate the commercial security equipment from Matrix Systems' project manager, John Birdwell. He installed most of the equipment with Jim Russell, Matrix Systems' vice-president of sales, and Kevin Kosch, project engineer, K.N.S. Services Inc., a Plain City, Ohio-based video integration and card access installation company.
"We treated this like all of our projects, which includes 24/7 customer support and on-site training," said Birdwell, who has managed large commercial security projects for Matrix Systems clients, such as Kodak, Rochester, N.Y.; The State of Mississippi; and international steel producer ArcelorMittal Steel Co., East Chicago, Ind.
Both Garrett's parents, Adair and Bill Grommesh, were also trained to use the equipment. They even learned about registering guest fingerprint signatures to operate the home's two stand-alone biometric readers by L-1 Identity Solutions, Stamford, Conn. The play area's biometric reader also has a PIN pad, a small video monitor screen featuring Garrett's secret "Agent G" logo, and the ability to operate an Auto-Glide automatic door donated by Stanley Access Technologies, Farmington, Conn. The control station has four 15-inch monitors by Dynex Products, Richfield, Minn., with live video feeds from four mini-dome cameras by Bosch Security Systems North America, Fairport, N.Y. The cameras are stationed throughout the house. Matrix Systems and K.N.S. Services Inc. provided a Bosch Vidos Video Software Suite for managing video surveillance.
While the project was considerably smaller than the average commercial application, adapting state-of-the-art commercial equipment for residential use and working in a hectic, fast-track environment that completed the house in one week presented new challenges for Matrix Systems, according to Russell. "Typically on an access control security project, it's our people and possibly an electrical contractor," said Russell. "This project always had a minimum of 200 people onsite during our installation and integration work, which made logistics and planning more challenging."
"This goodwill project was an eye-opening experience for all of us at Matrix Systems," said Russell. "The Matrix team got a behind-the-scenes look at the tremendous amount of work and coordination behind the show, an effort that can't be conveyed in a one-hour TV episode," he said.
To check out the show for yourself, go to: http://abc.go.com/watch/extreme-makeover-home-edition/SH559052/VD55103713/grommesh-family.
For information on Matrix, visit www.matrixsys.com.