"If someone is building a new stadium or arena or retrofitting, they now have a lab where they can see first-hand the qualities and pros and cons of any technology," explained Mark Moran, director of Business Development for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies and Chair of the Board of Advisors to NCS4.
Another effort to get fans and stadium attendees involved includes instant notification to security personnel during an event. "The fans are either texting security or they are texting an automated system that was set up by the stadium or the individual league and then that message goes straight to security," continued Moran.
Flexible solutions for temporary structures
The challenges systems integrators face in such large arenas is not just limited to sports stadiums. A large number of stadiums across the U.S. and in other countries are used for events such as concerts, community gatherings and even graduation ceremonies. Last month's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), a temporary event held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Ky., for the first time in the U.S., was evidence of the daunting tasks systems integrators face.
With 700,000 anticipated attendees, 400 plus trade show booths and about 900 equestrian athletes and 800 horses located across 1,200 acres of land, every part of physical security played an integral role as event sponsor EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., went to work to address the issues and challenges and what technology needed to be installed to get the job done right.
"The obvious biggest challenge was the large size of the venue," explained John McKenzie, physical security business development manager, EMC. "And because it is an elegant event, it must be aesthetically pleasing. Cameras can't just be thrown up anywhere. They have to be mounted appropriately and, in some cases, disguised or hidden-which often presents a challenge in obtaining a good field of view."
Temporary tents and booths were set up weeks prior to the the event, there was no time for mistakes. With no permanent power or network infrastructure, EMC had to get creative with the integration. Using wireless technology, they were able to use fiber connectivity for the video system installation.
With the system designed as a drop-and-drag type of configuration, EMC, working with systems integrator Orion Systems Group, Fairfax, Va., met and exceeded challenges from day to day, whether it was the addition of a camera or the integration of the systems.
"We were able to meet all that because of the openness of the system," explained McKenzie. "For example, a traffic pattern that was initially established had to be changed for various reasons. We immediately had to redesign security for the arenas, entrances, bus routes, car routes and parking lots. You can have everything patterned out, but when the day of the event comes, things change. The system has to be incredibly flexible to account for those changes."
"When you have an event this big, you use a lot more parking than you typically would," explained Brad Pyles, PSP, regional sales manager, Orion Systems. "Existing parking areas were fairly well lit. Makeshift parking areas were lit with temporary lighting so that was an ongoing challenge in how we positioned cameras to get the best view."
Another area that was a major concern was an area called "the jungle," an intersection of human traffic "that we really felt was going to have to be watched from all four corners," continued Pyles. "And of course there is the retail tent which is also an area where there will be a lot of human traffic, which is what it really comes down to-making sure that people continue moving, especially at the entrance and at the turnstiles so there are no back ups."
The stables were another area of the event that had higher security restrictions in place.
"At one point and time we will have 600 to 700 horses inside a large stabling area covering dozens of acres so that area is separately fenced," explained Kevin Tyo, president of ESCO Security Consulting, Georgetown, Ky. "There are perimeter control points where we have law enforcement and security teams checking credentials for anybody coming inside that area to make sure that they are either a grooms person, maybe an owner, or athlete or someone associated with the event-they would be the only ones gaining access to those areas."