Management system rises to airport security challenge

Mineta San Jose Airport enhances security with intelligent operations platform


SJC fully opened its new terminal facilities to the public on June 30, 2010, and security operations at the airport are running as smoothly as ever, thanks to the implementation of the intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) platform from DVTel, a new IP-based video management system. The iSOC streamlined day-to-day airport operations by centralizing security management functions into an IP-based platform as well as integrating other security functions, such as the Software House CCURE 800 access control system, for improved awareness and response times.

"This installation was quite diverse, with multiple integrations, unique system configurations, and a lot of network complexity," says Randy Dinger, PE, Vice President at ID Consulting Solutions. "An intuitive system was crucial to our successful rollout, as well as the ability to configure and manage the user rights and privileges to ensure this system's primary purpose: airport security."

In all, nearly 400 pan/tilt/zoom cameras now monitor the airport's 1,050-acre property, which encompasses the two interconnected terminal buildings, two public parking garages, aircraft hangars and cargo/shipping facilities. Camera operators are now able to easily review archived video of specific time periods or incidents. Previously, hundreds of staff-hours would have been dedicated to reviewing tape from the legacy analog system to locate specific incidents.

Easy Integration

The system was designed with a dedicated IPTV VLAN with head-end equipment and network switches provisioned throughout the site. All indoor IP cameras are Power over Ethernet (PoE), which made for a very clean simplified installation that saved labor and valuable space. During installation, it was as easy as plugging in the edge device, IP camera or encoder and discovering that device in the system - then it was up and ready to go. More than 140 existing analog cameras from Pelco were successfully integrated into the iSOC platform in less than two days.

"I can go into the DVTel graphical user interface and dial onto the onboard menu of a camera that has been there for ten years and change the settings through the system," Dinger says. "You aren't always able to access such intimate aspects of the old equipment."

With more than 50 client workstations, and users ranging from an around-the-clock command-and-control center to airport management, tenants and contractors, the management of access privileges is simple so that critical camera positions are not accidentally altered. Airport management also is able to create flexible user profiles and control very specific user rights within the DVTel IPTV system. Video is stored on archive servers for 30 days or more, depending on the needs of the particular camera or location, and is password protected and time/date stamped to avoid accidental alteration or sabotage.

Integration with the C-CURE system is also a key element to the deployment. In the event of an alarm situation, the iSOC program automatically brings up that camera view to operators for immediate visual verification of the alarm point. Video from just prior to the alarm and immediately after is automatically queued for viewing, facilitating a faster alarm resolution process.

Improved Efficiency

In addition to serving the primary mission of airport security, the DVTel iSOC is used to improve overall airport operations efficiency.

"The day before Thanksgiving, we were asked by TSA to provide all security video footage for a specific period that day. We were able to locate and copy that video immediately, and that enabled TSA to analyze its security screening configurations and traffic management and make real-time adjustments to improve passenger experience during the very busy holiday travel period," says Emily Zimmerman, SJC security operations manager.

Installation Challenges

Working around the airport's hectic daily schedule as well as the project's strict timetable and budget called for meticulous planning and project management skills to ensure that each phase ran smoothly. TSA restrictions posed challenges in building out the new video system without interrupting other systems during operational hours, so often work began at 11 p.m., when the airport entered into its night commercial curfew period. In one instance, ID Consulting Solutions was able to bring 100 analog cameras online with the new DVTel system in less than eight hours.