Integrated security provider TDSi has long courted the leisure and entertainment sector
TDSi’s MICROgarde controllers provide full control and visibility of people accessing the non-public sections of the facilities

With high numbers of people traffic, the leisure and entertainment sector market is a thriving one of the security industry. From hotels to leisure complexes and entertainment venues such as cinemas, sports stadiums/facilities and theme parks, along with the assorted restaurants and customer facilities associated with it, there is a lot the security industry can do to protect people, property and assets.

Integrated security provider TDSi has long courted the leisure and entertainment sector, where having joined-up security is essential to actively managing large crowds or heavy people traffic throughput, safely and securely. Sarah Phillips, Product Marketing Manager of TDSi, commented, “This sector has long been a vital one to our business and that of our local installation and specification partners. Besides transportation, the leisure and entertainment sector has to deal with some of the largest numbers of people, mixing between restricted and public areas – often within a relatively small or compact location.”

Sarah continued, “As well as access control, CCTV and alarm systems, we have seen a rise in the demand for other solutions such as people counters and video analytics software which can detect potential problems from movement patterns detected in surveillance feeds. It’s a sector which has some of the most interesting security issues and solutions as well as being a key one for many security providers.”

While the scope and nature of projects within the leisure and entertainment sector can vary greatly, TDSi has found that the needs and solutions are often very similar, as Sarah added, “The basics of access control haven’t changed much even with the advent of fully integrated security. Of course we still see demand for stand-alone access control systems (be they using biometrics or more traditional MIFARE or proximity systems) but many customers want these to be integrated into the rest of their security and building’s control systems, so there is a very strong demand for more versatile controllers. This also means that there is a need for powerful software to bring these security strands together, such as our EXgarde suite – which has become one of the most important components of our entire security offering.”

Aston Villa FC

A good example of the leisure and entertainment sector’s need for combined systems is TDSi’s solutions at the world-famous Aston Villa Football Club Villa Park Stadium in Birmingham and its Bodymoor Heath training ground in Warwickshire. Using a mixture of TDSi’s MICROgarde controllers, EXcel network access controllers and EXpert master controllers, Villa Park has full control and visibility of people accessing the non-public sections of the facilities.

The prestigious 42,785-seater Villa Park has hosted 55 Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) semi-finals, more than any other stadium. Home to the Club since 1897, it’s seen numerous expansions and changes. Staff and visitors on a non-match day typically number around 1000, but for a big game this can swell to over 5000. Because of the nature of the sports ground, with large public access areas and high profile players and management, along with substantial building assets, the club sought an access control manufacturer that could offer the wide range of product options needed, while providing high quality and exceptional value for money.

"Using TDSi’s access control products and software has given us a highly flexible approach to our access control; we can easily add additional access control on a selected door and integrate it into the rest of the network”

Aston Villa FC’s Maintenance Manager, Josh Tooth, commented, “We have been working with TDSi for a number of years and as the company understands the complexity of our access control needs and provides solutions that give us peace of mind, our needs have been met. Using TDSi’s access control products and software has given us a highly flexible approach to our access control; we can easily add additional access control on a selected door and integrate it into the rest of the network. ”

Because of the on-going program of upgrades and dispersed locations of access control points around both sites, TDSI suggested Aston Villa FC use the EXgarde PRO software solution to manage a range of different access controllers. Having organically evolved, Aston Villa FC’s facilities use TDSi’s readers and controllers which control individual doorways on the network. The EXgarde PRO solution can be up-scaled or downscaled easily as operational requirements dictate. With unlimited user definable holidays, automatic fire door release, timesheet reports and full integration with intruder alarm systems, TDSi’s controllers have offered Aston Villa FC the flexibility needed for future evolution of its access control needs.

Josh added, “We are also rolling out TDSi’s facial recognition reader as a next generation access control system which negates the need for authorized staff to carry security cards with them. This is especially useful at busy times and also means there is no risk of security cards being stolen and unauthorized people being able to gain access.”

Protecting Greece’s stadia

At the other end of the spectrum, protecting a number of independent but centrally administered sports venues can seem like a particularly daunting task. However, in many ways the challenges are very similar and the beauty of integrated security systems is that they can be up-scaled easily. This has been the case with a TDSi project to secure a number of stadia in Greece.

As the spiritual home of the Olympic Games, Greece has a well-cemented connection with the spectacle of sports events and a great appreciation for the excitement of public stadia. With a population of over 10 million people, modern Greece continues to enjoy live sporting events but also has to deal with the dilemmas of safety and security while minimizing queuing and maximizing the viewing experience for spectators at these popular and busy events.

Overseeing the majority of Greece’s public stadia is the General Secretariat for Sport, a government department that ensures the safety and smooth running of the facilities across the country.

By their very nature, Greece’s nationally administered stadia (like most publicly accessible buildings) house a mixture of publically-accessible areas along with restricted zones that are designed only to be used by authorized individuals due to concerns over security and safety. The challenge is to maintain reliable access control while ensuring that staff (such as administrators, security personnel and event competitors) can easily move between these areas and the general public areas.

“We are also rolling out TDSi’s facial recognition reader as a next generation access control system which negates the need for authorized staff to carry security cards with them"

To maintain the highest levels of security and safety, while using the latest and most efficient access control technology, the Greek General Secretariat for Sport, assessed that its stadia needed a modern and highly reliable solution for access control. Requirements included a full electronic surveillance system to help protect athletes and spectators and act as a preventative measure against violence and disruption at 22 stadiums that are used for sports events and other activities throughout Greece. This constituted the largest such project ever to be established in the country with a budget of over €4m.

The Greek General Secretariat for Sport appointed system integrator and value-added solution and service provider Space Hellas, which specified TDSi access control systems because of their reliability, ease of use, stringent security protocols and superb value for money.

The installation is based upon two levels, covering a total of 60 users, firstly at two control centers and then at the 22 stadia across the country. Solutions employed at the two Control Centers include two installations of TDSi’s EXgarde PRO Access Management software application, which both remotely administer 128 doors in total across the 22 stadia sites. The Control Centers themselves are guarded using the TDSi Excel4 4 reader controllers. Each of these controllers administer three readers/doors each. A total six eXprox VR readers (three at each site) are also deployed. These readers are ideal for locations that may be prone to vandalism or attack and offer robust, high quality access control through contactless technology.

At the next level, each of the 22 Stadia use a TDSi MICROgarde MGII controller, a two-door access control unit that provides reliable access control for up to 400 doors. These deliver a highly effective solution with central control and event reporting back to the Control Centers. Also installed across the network of stadia are 44 highly cost-effective eXprox VR readers. As well as protecting staff and competitor areas of each stadium, TDSi’s access control systems also guard access to computer rooms and training facilities.

The integrated electronic sport facilities surveillance system employs the latest in digital technology and along with TDSi’s access control systems also comprises of high-resolution cameras, high-quality digital recording systems and the latest generation of cabling and network infrastructure. At the same time, the project provided the necessary technical infrastructure for the formation of a Stadium Control Center and a Police Control Center for each stadium.

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