Using NetVue window, the officer can view live video or rewind to the point where the event occurred
Software House’s NetVue allows integration of access system with the Intellex units

A fire alarm led to the evacuation of employees and members of the public from the main government executive building in New York’s Westchester County. Using a new integrated security system, public safety officials were able to check video associated with the event. Within seconds they saw that an elderly woman had mistakenly pulled an alarm, thinking it was necessary to enter an adjacent restroom. Those who had already left the building were allowed to quickly return.

While the event turned out to be a non-emergency, county officials were happy to see that their multi-million dollar investment had worked as planned. Westchester County, located just north of New York City in southern New York state, is home to nearly one million residents.

The county serves as corporate headquarters for a number of well-known companies, including PepsiCo and IBM. White Plains is the county seat.

About two years ago, the county began making plans to update and increase security at its main center in White Plains. The terrorist attacks on New York City changed the timetable.

“Even before September 11, we felt that as the operator of governmental buildings, we needed to improve the security in and around our facilities,” said Salvatore J. Carrera, Westchester’s director of economic development–real estate. He also oversees the county’s Department of Public Safety.

“After September 11, we listened to the warnings from federal agencies and changed plans that were slated to be implemented within a few years and moved them to the forefront,” Carrera said.

The county turned to a White Plains-based systems integrator, Antar-Com Incorporated (ACI), which in less than four months completed drawings and oversaw the installation of electronic security equipment to protect two county buildings and an adjoining parking structure.

“We can easily expand this system to more facilities or add biometrics if we want. This is a good, long-term investment for the county”

The extensive system, which includes video surveillance cameras, digital video recorders, barrier turnstiles, x-ray equipment, intercoms and metal detectors is all integrated through a C•CURE® 800 access control system and NetVue video integration software by Lexington, Mass.-based Software House, part of Tyco International’s Fire & Security Division.

“County officials were concerned about having a system in place quickly so we went from drawings to a completed project within four months,” said Isac Tabib, a principal at ACI and the Vice President of Technology. “The design was continually enhanced as we introduced the county to all of the system’s capabilities.”

“I was not going to buy something that would be obsolete within six months or a year,” Carrera said. “We can easily expand this system to more facilities or add biometrics if we want. This is a good, long-term investment for the county.”

C•CURE has the ability to link all the facilities into the central server or operate each facility as a stand-alone C•CURE system
Software House’s C•CURE Vision badging system produces photo IDs for employees

The new system includes the Michaelian Office Building (MOB), a nine-story facility that houses the offices for the county executive, board of legislators and a number of departments such as public works, planning and public safety. Major components of the system have also been extended to other buildings housing offices for the county clerk, the district attorney, courtrooms and several other county departments.

The MOB is generally open to the public on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The access system is used to automatically lock and unlock the public entrance.

Visitors enter through one door and are required to show a picture identification card (usually a driver’s license). A public safety officer uses a driver’s license scanner by Bartizon from Yonkers, N.Y. and Passage Point software from San Jose, Calif.-based STOPware to create temporary ID badges. The scanner and software integrates with the C•CURE system. Visitors are then directed through a metal detector, while items such as purses and attaché cases are placed on a conveyor belt and examined by x-ray.

A temporary badge is issued to visitors to be worn while within the building. When ready to exit the building, visitors are required to swipe the badge at a turnstile from Lillington, N.C.-based Tomsed Corp. The badge is logged out of the C•CURE system and is immediately invalidated. The county uses a C•CURE Vision badging system to produce photo IDs for employees. The access system permits a variety of time, day and area restrictions for each badge. Currently the county maintains about 25 different clearance codes.

Employees may enter the building through specific access points, each requiring that a valid ID badge be read by proximity card reader for entry. The system also integrates Intercoms from ValCom Inc. of Roanoke, Virg., located within the facility’s parking garage in the event an employee needs to contact a public safety officer in the main security control room.

By the time ACI was finished, it had connected the C•CURE 800 to more than 175 card readers and 23 Software House apC-/8X panels. The host computer downloads information into each panel’s memory.

Tabib said the quick installation was also helped by the use of a Universal Interface Board (UIB), from ITG of Oyster Bay, N.Y. The UIB, a device used in many of ACI’s major installations, links field devices, such as electrified locks and the apCs. The boards use color-coded wires and plugs to simplify system installation and maintenance. A total of 21 LEDs on each board indicate the status of the various connections, while 24 fuses protect the apCs from damage during electrical spikes.

“The system is fantastic. It is a major deterrent. It turned out to be a much more sophisticated system than we had originally anticipated needing"

From the security control room, officers monitor the intercoms, as well as the access and video surveillance systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More than 70 fixed and dome cameras from Phillips monitor the entrances, hallways, parking areas and ground-level airway vents. The video is monitored on 13 20-inch and six nine-inch color monitors from Phillips. All video is recorded on Intellex digital video management systems from San Diego-based American Dynamics of Tyco’s Fire & Security Division.

Software House’s NetVue allows for integration of the access system with the Intellex units. For example, a public safety officer can double click on icons next to events such as “Door Propped Open” which are generated on the C•CURE monitoring station. When the NetVue window opens, the officer can view live video or rewind to the point where the event occurred. Also, the video clips can be easily saved as .avi files for archiving or emailing.

County officials are also preparing a single point of entry whereby all goods coming into the building – including mail, packages, even lunches – will be screened by an x-ray machine.

Carrera said that at first county employees were a little suspicious of such a comprehensive system. But now that it has been in place for several months, they have adjusted and appreciate the added security afforded them. And he said he has not had one complaint from the public.

Carrera said the courthouse lobby is now being renovated. All visitors currently pass through a metal detector to enter the building. Employees are also required to carry photo ID cards. Within the near future, a visitor pass system, similar to that used in the MOB, will be installed, he said.

County officials are preparing a report with recommendations on which a number of additional county-operated sites will also undergo a security upgrade. By using the C•CURE as a standard, Carrera said, the county will have the ability to link any and/or all of the facilities into the central server or operate each facility as a stand-alone C•CURE system.

He said he was extremely pleased with the way the entire security system has functioned and praised ACI for its prompt work and continued support, including training.

“The system is fantastic,” Carrera said. “It is a major deterrent. It turned out to be a much more sophisticated system than we had originally anticipated needing. But, I feel very confident we have done the best we can to protect our employees and citizens.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021
New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021

Organizations faced a number of unforeseen challenges in nearly every business sector throughout 2020 – and continuing into 2021. Until now, businesses have been on the defensive, reacting to the shifting workforce and economic conditions, however, COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans. This is now giving decision-makers the chance to take a proactive approach to mitigate current and post-pandemic risks. These long-term technology solutions can be used for today’s new world of social distancing and face mask policies and flexibly repurposed for tomorrow’s renewed focus on efficiency and business optimization. For many, this emphasis on optimization will likely be precipitated by not only the resulting economic impacts of the pandemic but also the growing sophistication and maturity of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), technologies that are coming of age just when they seem to be needed the most.COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans Combined with today’s cutting-edge computer vision capabilities, AI and ML have produced smart cameras that have enabled organizations to more easily implement and comply with new health and safety requirements. Smart cameras equipped with AI-enabled intelligent video analytic applications can also be used in a variety of use cases that take into account traditional security applications, as well as business or operational optimization, uses – all on a single camera. As the applications for video analytics become more and more mainstream - providing valuable insights to a variety of industries - 2021 will be a year to explore new areas of use for AI-powered cameras. Optimizing production workflows and product quality in agriculture Surveillance and monitoring technologies are offering value to industries such as agriculture by providing a cost-effective solution for monitoring of crops, business assets and optimizing production processes. As many in the agriculture sector seek to find new technologies to assist in reducing energy usage, as well as reduce the environmental strain of modern farming, they can find an unusual ally in smart surveillance. Some niche farming organizations are already implementing AI solutions to monitor crops for peak production freshness in order to reduce waste and increase product quality.  For users who face environmental threats, such as mold, parasites, or other insects, smart surveillance monitoring can assist in the early identification of these pests and notify proper personnel before damage has occurred. They can also monitor vast amounts of livestock in fields to ensure safety from predators or to identify if an animal is injured. Using video monitoring in the growing environment as well as along the supply chain can also prove valuable to large-scale agriculture production. Applications can track and manage inventory in real-time, improving knowledge of high-demand items and allowing for better supply chain planning, further reducing potential spoilage. Efficient monitoring in manufacturing and logistics New challenges have arisen in the transportation and logistics sector, with the industry experiencing global growth. While security and operational requirements are changing, smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye, but have a significant impact on the overall customer experience. Smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye. Video analytics can assist logistic service providers in successfully delivering the correct product to the right location and customer in its original condition, which normally requires the supply chain to be both secure and ultra-efficient. The latest camera technology and intelligent software algorithms can analyze footage directly on the camera – detecting a damaged package at the loading dock before it is loaded onto a truck for delivery. When shipments come in, smart cameras can also alert drivers of empty loading bays available for offloading or alert facility staff of potential blockages or hazards for incoming and outgoing vehicles that could delay delivery schedules planned down to the minute. For monitoring and detecting specific vehicles, computer vision in combination with video analysis enables security cameras to streamline access control measures with license plate recognition. Smart cameras equipped with this technology can identify incoming and outgoing trucks - ensuring that only authorized vehicles gain access to transfer points or warehouses. Enhance regulatory safety measures in industrial settings  Smart surveillance and AI-enabled applications can be used to ensure compliance with organizational or regulatory safety measures in industrial environments. Object detection apps can identify if employees are wearing proper safety gear, such as facial coverings, hard hats, or lifting belts. Similar to the prevention of break-ins and theft, cameras equipped with behavior detection can help to automatically recognize accidents at an early stage. For example, if a worker falls to the ground or is hit by a falling object, the system recognizes this as unusual behavior and reports it immediately. Going beyond employee safety is the ability to use this technology for vital preventative maintenance on machinery and structures. A camera can identify potential safety hazards, such as a loose cable causing sparks, potential wiring hazards, or even detect defects in raw materials. Other more subtle changes, such as gradual structural shifts/crack or increases in vibrations – ones that would take the human eye months or years to discover – are detectable by smart cameras trained to detect the first signs of mechanical deterioration that could potentially pose a physical safety risk to people or assets. Early recognition of fire and smoke is another use case where industrial decision-makers can find value. Conventional fire alarms are often difficult to properly mount in buildings or outdoor spaces and they require a lot of maintenance. Smart security cameras can be deployed in difficult or hard-to-reach areas. When equipped with fire detection applications, they can trigger notification far earlier than a conventional fire alarm – as well as reduce false alarms by distinguishing between smoke, fog, or other objects that trigger false alarms. By digitizing analog environments, whether a smoke detector or an analog pressure gauge, decision-makers will have access to a wealth of data for analysis that will enable them to optimize highly technical processes along different stages of manufacturing - as well as ensure employee safety and security of industrial assets and resources. Looking forward to the future of smart surveillance With the rise of automation in all three of these markets, from intelligent shelving systems in warehouses to autonomous-driving trucks, object detection for security threats, and the use of AI in monitoring agricultural crops and livestock, the overall demand for computer vision and video analytics will continue to grow. That is why now is the best time for decision-makers across a number of industries to examine their current infrastructure and determine if they are ready to make an investment in a sustainable, multi-use, and long-term security and business optimization solution.

How Technology Can Elevate Guest Services And Their Security
How Technology Can Elevate Guest Services And Their Security

The return to the workplace is a focal point for many in the built environment but one of the most important elements is easy to overlook. Guest services will be vital in the return to the workplace. Front-of-house teams will be responsible for welcoming building users back and reassuring them as they negotiate shared spaces in the post-Covid era. The workplace will inevitably look different after Covid. We have become more aware of our spaces, how clean they are, and what spaces building users share. Employees have also become more conscious of the pros and cons of the workplace. For some, a year of working from home has been a welcome break from the stress and time taken by a commute. Many organizations are considering moving to hybrid workplace approaches, downsizing their corporate real estate portfolio, and using shared spaces more consciously, be that for focussed quiet work or collaboration. We will also see heightened care in workplace cleaning and more data-led solutions. Front-of-house teams will be at the center of helping building users get used to these changes. The role of technology Front-of-house personnel will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be aided by visitor management systems.  Another change to look out for in the workplace will be the use of technology. Tech-led organizations have long reminded us that gut instinct and trusting our senses is not enough anymore, but Covid-19 has forced us to come to terms with this. Now that adopting technology has become crucial in cleaning, we will see a reticence to adopt it elsewhere fade too. A survey from McKinsey suggests that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technologies by several years. Why is this important for guest services? Much like other workplace changes, new technologies will alter how building users interact with their environment. Tech will also enable front-of-house teams to focus on the key ingredient of their role – human interaction. This will be vital in helping occupants feel comfortable, safe, and happy. Occupancy and visitor management systems These systems have been around in the workplace for many years, and pre-Covid were used to help us maximize our space and utilization. These systems are even more important as we are likely to see some return to the workplace before everyone has been vaccinated. We may see systems that contact only those occupants in an affected area of a building, rather than a whole workforce, to limit worry and ensure most people can remain confident in the hygiene of their workspace. For the rest of 2021 at least, precautions such as social distancing will need to be in place. Workplaces will continue to function at limited occupancy for some time to keep people safe. Front-of-house personnel will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be aided by visitor management systems. These may be used by individual organizations or by multi-tenanted buildings. Temperature checks and identity verification systems Organizations are mitigating risks where possible. Handheld digital thermometers have been in high demand. The use of such devices has reshaped the role of security officers over the past year. Officers have become familiar faces in shops and shared spaces, keeping people safe and acting as the first point of contact. The security sector has been placed under immense pressure, balancing the need to enforce precautions with responding to stressed building users in an empathetic way. Officers have demonstrated agility that security technology cannot replace. Post-pandemic, we will likely see a greater appreciation for what manned guarding can offer and a greater potential for officers in front of house roles. Front-of-House staff are becoming responsible for temperature verification. Some organizations may choose to increase the collaboration between their front-of-house and security teams. This could include implementing identity verification systems, as well as touchless systems. This will allow the focus of front-of-house teams to remain on the people and giving a warm welcome to users as they return to the office. Using monitoring to make guest services more available  Monitoring solutions may be the first things that come to mind when discussing security technology. We have seen an increasing trend toward integrating remote monitoring with manned guarding since before the pandemic. Such a move may be even more important now.Beyond keeping employees safe, guest services are going to play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. For many organizations, the pandemic has forced a rapid switch in focus. Organizations have had to face the security challenges of caring for vacant premises and the additional complications of managing cybersecurity for remote work. Rebalancing the cost and focus of security may feel as though it has left some businesses without the capacity to utilize front-of-house officers. Yet when employees return to the workplace, front-of-house teams will be more important than ever. For those that did not do so during the pandemic, now is the time to be investing in effective monitoring solutions. The falling cost of technology means such a solution can be combined with manned guarding and front-of-house roles. Organizations may need to invest in fewer officers, but their roles can be more focused upon the occupant experience. Encouraging employees back Beyond keeping employees safe, guest services are going to play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. Remote working has had both pros and cons but many of those downsides will be diminished with the end of the pandemic. Loneliness will no longer be such a challenge when seeing friends and neighbours is an option, and the return of children and partners to school and work will relieve distractions. It may be tempting, then, for many employees to continue working from home. As a result, many opportunities for collaborative work will be lost. For employers looking to encourage their workforce to return, creating an amazing workplace experience is key. Technology alone can’t offer this. Rather, too much tech could create an environment that feels clinical and impersonal. Use technology to streamline the boring or stressful elements of the workplace and invest in friendly faces who will welcome your workforce back.

What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?

The advent of a truly new market for the physical security industry is a rare occurrence. Particularly rare is a new market that is both fast-growing and provides an environment that is not just conducive to application of physical security technologies but that actually demands it. Such is the case with the market for legalized marijuana. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting the cannabis industry?