Management system rises to airport security challenge

Mineta San Jose Airport enhances security with intelligent operations platform

Known for its temperate climate, highly educated workforce, high technology innovation and one of the nation's best public safety records, San Jose, Calif., has proven its status as a magnet for visitors, emerging businesses and new residents.

Like many other ongoing regional infrastructure projects designed to meet the growing needs of millions of residents and businesses in Silicon Valley over the next two decades, Mineta San Jos‚ International Airport (SJC) initiated its comprehensive $1.3 billion, three-year modernization program in 2007 to create an efficient, convenient and competitive transportation hub for the 21st Century.

The airport's modernization project was also designed to create world-class facilities that reflect the innovative, high-tech community it serves. SJC is only three miles from downtown San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley and the close neighbor of some of the world's largest technology companies such as Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Adobe, Yahoo and eBay.

Because San Jose is the gateway to this world-renowned concentration of technology businesses, airport officials saw a state-of-the-art video surveillance system as an integral piece of the modernization project. The most critical aspect of the plan involved updating the airport's analog security system and implementing a technologically advanced video management security solution. Not only would the new, IP-based security system help the airport monitor, identify and prevent potential criminal activity, it would also assist the airport with managing traffic flow of its 8.3 million annual passengers at ticket counters and monitor aircraft traffic on the airfield.

The modernization project, which was completed under budget and ahead of schedule in mid-2010, included the construction of the Terminal B Concourse. The new space, which now connects all terminal facilities, has a total of 28 gates, roomy sunlit waiting lounges for passengers and all new shops and restaurants. The project also involved the removal of Terminal C, built in 1965, and the expansion and renovation of Terminal A, built in 1990, to include new 60 percent more airline ticket counters, additional restaurant and retail concessions, larger security checkpoints and a state-of-the-art baggage handling system.

Other aspects of the project included the addition of jetways, street-level ticketing lobbies, other baggage handling and security systems, and improved roadways. Security checkpoints managed by the Transportation Security Administration were consolidated and streamlined, and a new multi-story car rental facility and public parking garage was built right across the street from the new Terminal B. To facilitate the process, the airport's entire infrastructure, from pipelines to wiring, was improved or replaced.

The modernization project resulted in an overall increase in the sheer square footage to monitor. Newly configured checkpoints and multiple new secured access points meant that security personnel needed a technological tool to be able to dynamically search for individuals or specific items through the camera system and ultimately be able to manage all their security needs through one interface.

Choosing a Management System

Since cost-effectiveness as well as the continuity of operations at the airport were key components of the project, SJC's existing analog camera system needed to be seamlessly integrated into the new video management system. Also, to minimize the disruption of airport operations as well as comply with specific TSA requirements during installation, most of the work on the project needed to be completed during the overnight hours when aircraft departures and landings are at a minimum.

For a system design that would meet technology requirements as well as a contractor experienced in working in the airport environment, SJC turned to ID Consulting Solutions of Boise, Idaho. The firm designed and installed the IP-based solution, which integrated with an existing access control system from Software House, along with the newly integrated incumbent Pelco video system.

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