New Champ Tops the Integration Arena

by Scott Goldfine, Editor-In-Chief, Security Sales & Integration. Excerpt from Security Sales & Integration magazine, July 2010 issue (click here for PDF of full article)

(July 2010)—From the consulting and design phase, all the way through delivery and installation, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions was flawless in their execution of providing a complete security package to meet our needs.” This glowing endorsement from the apt-named John Ball, director of Building Safety and Security for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, is indicative of the expertise and service Stanley CSS demonstrated in its comprehensive solution for Indiana’s Conseco Fieldhouse.

The project, which earned the company SSI’s 2010 Integrated Installation of the Year Award, involved streamlining the client’s existing, separately managed systems with upgraded access, video, intercom and software platforms to enable control via a single command point. Subject matter experts from Stanley CSS collaborated with the Stanley Mechanical Access Solutions division to deliver a best-in-class security solution.

The award is Stanley CSS’ second in the program, winning when it was known as HSM Electronic Protection Services in 2007. This year, the Naperville,

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Ill. headquartered integrator also captured SAMMY (Sales & Marketing) awards for Best Overall Integrated Marketing Campaign and Best Community Outreach Program (see the June issue).

Launched in 2002, the Integrated Installation of the Year program judges entries based on innovation; systems design; integration of at least three electronic systems; seamlessness of installation; uniqueness of application; and end-user satisfaction. Other finalists this year were Benson Systems of Gilbert, Ariz., and Ultrasafe Security Specialists of Norco, Calif.

The necessity for flexible technology, extensive consultation and meticulous project management made the Conseco Fieldhouse a unique and challenging job. “Balancing the needs for security for the professional performers, fans and general public, while not hindering the entertainment experience was a top priority,” says Mark Baruzzini, senior director, Stanley CSS Convergence Center of Excellence.

Integrator Nets Big Project

The crown jewel of Indianapolis’ downtown cityscape, Conseco Fieldhouse has hosted famous performers ranging from Cirque du Soleil to the Eagles to Paul McCartney to Justin Timberlake to U2 and more, as well as the NBA’s Pacers and WNBA’s Fever. The 18,165-seat, 750,000-square-foot facility opened in 1999 and is widely considered one of the finest venues in all of sports.

Perhaps the only thing more important to Conseco Fieldhouse’s management than first-class entertainment and profitability is ensuring the safety and security of its many performers, fans, visitors and staff. Hence a keen interest in keeping the venue’s security systems up to date with the latest advancements and capabilities.

“We need to always look into managing event security and building operations more efficiently and more effectively. We need to be able to monitor hidden areas in the building and know who is coming and going,” says Ball. “We needed to upgrade our existing systems that could not interface with each other while getting more capability with our current security staff.”

Combining its own funds with additional dollars from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Conseco Fieldhouse issued a request for proposal (RFP). Stanley CSS, which already had its foot in the door thanks to the arena having been built with Stanley mechanical locks, won the client over by serving in a consultative capacity. Stanley recommended more cost-effective options with better functionality than would have been realized through the original RFP.

“The customer sought to utilize their past investments in security and technology, while integrating new advanced technology and design applications to maximize the overall security for the organization,” says Stanley CSS Executive Security Consultant Richard Phillips, who adds that the project demanded competencies beyond the grasp of most competitors.

Fast Break Timeline Met

No stranger to equipping sporting venues, particularly north of the border, Stanley CSS’ customers include The Bell Centre, The Hershey Centre, the Montreal Canadiens practice facility, and other municipal rinks and centers. (For more on Stanley CSS’ business, see the July 2009 issue of SSI where the company was named Installer of the Year. It’s also available at www.securitysales.com)

“One of the most significant challenges of dealing with a sports and entertainment venue is working around the constant flux of events being hosted at the location,” Baruzzini says. “Each event requires different access control and video setups, whether it’s an NBA game, concert, ice skating, etc.”

Stanley CSS broke ground on the Conseco Fieldhouse project in July 2009, finishing on budget (at nearly $300,000) and on schedule 90 days later. The integrator brought in application engineers and solution consultants to work with the customer on design, workflow and project expectations.

Being that the project was in response to a DHS audit, compliancy, which required collaborating with Conseco Fieldhouse’s IT manager to tweak and finalize the configuration, was as central to the scope of work as was meeting the end user’s other specific needs.

To ensure the project was properly managed and progressed smoothly, Stanley held daily meetings onsite. The workflow included meetings for design consultation review, implementation, scope and schedule review, project walk-throughs, and ongoing benchmarks and deliverables.

Products Perform Like All-Stars

The technology, systems and products selected included Axis IP video, Genetec NVRs, Lenel access control, Harding intercoms and Stanley Security Solutions’ own W-Q wireless access management solution (see the equipment list online for more detail).

All of these elements were skillfully regimented within Stanley CSS’ Corporate Commander physical security information management (PSIM) platform. The PSIM sits atop Conseco Fieldhouse’s security and facility management subsystems to facilitate a single point of command and control for all of the integrated pieces.

“The reasons these products were used to construct this solution included: extensive compatibility with diverse technology and integration with the Commander PSIM through API and SDK development; engineer familiarity; strategic manufacturer partnerships; and platform flexibility,” says Stanley CSS Software Engineering Team Leader Blaine Frederick.

The solution encompassed 53 door readers, 128 cameras, three wall-mounted LCD monitors (replacing 41 standard CRT monitors) controlled from the Genetec client and displaying 13 images per monitor, and another three video windows for call up and spot monitoring included within the Commander console itself.

Integrated into the Commander interface are the customer’s existing analog video, new IP-based video, access control, intrusion detection and intercom systems, along with control of

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six elevators.

According to Ball, the solution will be further enhanced with planned expansion calling for fire/lifesafety, building management, paging and notification, and other enterprise systems.

“This will eventually incorporate other facility platforms as well such as building power, HVAC, VoIP and fire in a low-cost way,” he says. “In our future plans, for example, we will be able to shut down air handlers if a train wrecks outside. Not only can these systems be integrated, they can be automated. When you start looking at integrating different systems we see a lot of potential to make us not only safer but more efficient.”

Users Coached On System

According to Frederick, one of the overriding challenges the project presented was contending with the cluttered work of Stanley CSS’ predecessor. The existing cable management was chaotic, not labeled and almost unusable. In addition, the legacy video surveillance system was improperly configured and in poor condition.

“The previous security provider was overwhelmed by the required maintenance and integration of a solution on this scale,” he says. “The customer would have to physically switch cables during events to display the desired scene on the monitors. The previous monitor wall had 41 monitors using eight DVRs with the video quality lowered enough to get adequate video storage.” Conseco Fieldhouse personnel have been monitoring the system in-house since it went online last October.

“Once the system was in, Stanley provided administrator, operator and super-user training sessions to meet our specific team needs,” says Ball. “They were very thorough with the training as they were careful to cover all of the operator documentation, help files and day-to-day functions.”

Stanley CSS maintains the system through an annual preventative maintenance agreement supported by the firm’s 24-hour customer service center. In addition, integrated solution engineers are available either onsite or remotely to address technical issues as needed.

Solution Is A Slam Dunk

In practically no time at all, the system lived up to its billing and demonstrated its value. A week after the project was completed the facility’s security staff used the surveillance system to help apprehend an intruder breaking into the gift shop to steal jerseys.

“We are pleased with the system. It is advanced enough that I believe it will be another six months before we are really able to see many of the benefits. Our guards are able to see so much more now,” says Ball.

Adding to the client’s delight is the way Stanley CSS has served as a truly consultative partner, delivering a customized solution with cost savings derived from superior system optimization. Conseco Fieldhouse was also able to eliminate expensive maintenance contracts it had on the older video systems and technology with the previous security provider.

“The flexibility and open architecture of this system not only meet our needs today, but also those of tomorrow,” adds Ball. “We know this will further enhance our ability to provide a safe and secure venue. We look forward to our continued partnership with Stanley, assured they will be there with the solutions to meet our complete security system needs.”