The Charlotte Pit Stop

Make sure to venture off the ESX show floor and see all that Charlotte has to offer. And we're not just talking about the now infamous Club Crawl, a fun social event that has become a source of camaraderie and entertainment for security industry professionals. This year, it's all about the thrill of the race as Charlotte celebrates the one-year anniversary of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which first opened its doors to the public on May 11th 2010. Charlotte is home to about 80 percent of Sprint Cup drivers and hosts three major races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America 500.

Yet with such a large facility, (The NASCAR Hall of Fame spans 150,000 square feet of space and is located on the same property as the Charlotte Convention Center, a multi-level parking garage which offers approximately 1,000 parking spaces and additional office space including a high rise tower), one of the main issues was the concern of public safety.

Security consultant Kroll Security Group, Morristown, N.J., engineered and designed a security system which incorporated access control and video at the property facilities.

"We provided a security assessment before the NASCAR Hall of Fame was built," explained Cathall Walsh, senior associate, Kroll Security Group. "We spoke with the security directors and the local police department to get an assessment of what crime was like in the area."

Walsh confirmed that with such a large venue, an increase in crime was a looming possibility because of the increase in population to the area. Other factors that the design consultant also considered were the different areas of retail and venue space that would be incorporated into the property, cash on site and other similar factors. "We needed to design the system to deter criminal activity," added Walsh.

Over the course of three years (installation and building of the NASCAR Hall of Fame began in 2007), Kroll Security Group worked with systems integrator Diebold, North Canton, Ohio and the Charlotte Convention Center to design the security system, which incorporated emergency call stations and intercoms from Stentofon, 90 Video Edge cameras from American Dynamics and the C-Cure 800/8000 access control system from Tyco/Software House.

"An integrated solution maximizes the installed technologies of multiple systems into a common platform to meet security goals," said Scott Rowe, senior national account manager at Diebold. "The integration of the Software House platform and the American Dynamics solution at the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an excellent example of leveraging multiple technologies to deliver an enhanced security solution. When an access control door on the perimeter is forced open, the closest PTZ camera will automatically adjust its position to view the door. Additionally, when a parking garage intercom button is pressed, the closest camera automatically adjusts its position to view the location. This integration allows the security staff to acknowledge and view a specific area before dispatching staff/police," Rowe explained.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame offers more than 50 different interactive experiences, including race simulators, tire-changing stations and even a broadcast booth and is home to 31 cars and nearly 1,000 artifacts. Don't miss the keynote luncheon during ESX which will feature speaker Joe Gibbs, legendary NFL and NASCAR leader.

More to see in Charlotte

Grab some great eats at the annual Taste of Charlotte Festival, which begins June 10. Admission to the festival is free and food and drink is available. Listen to some great music at the 30-acre NC Music Factory, located next to the Charlotte central business district. The venue includes multiple stages and the Road Runner Mobile amphitheatre. Or experience what the Discovery Place has to offer from life science to space exploration. Make sure to grab a seat in its IMAX Dome Theatre or take a walk through the Charlotte Nature Museum. Charlotte's newest facility, ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, also offers an educational landscape for both young and old.

Have an iPhone handy? Simplify your stay in Charlotte by downloading the "Charlotte's Got A Lot" mobile app. The itunes application tracks your current location and displays maps on your mobile device of nearby "Visit Charlotte" partner restaurants and attractions.