Total Integration

New Jersey’s Prudential Center combines building security and life safety with voice, data and business systems

The Prudential Center arena is the new home of the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, the New Jersey Ironmen indoor soccer team and Seton Hall University’s men’s basketball team. Completed in November 2007, it occupies 850,000 square feet and seats 18,000 fans. It is the first arena of its kind in 25 years to be built in the New York metropolitan area.

Those who manage today’s sports venues rank security and public safety among their highest concerns. Yet, protecting thousands of fans without breaking the bank takes careful planning. Venue managers look to integrators who can reach outside the security silo for efficient, sensible and occasionally inventive technology solutions. They also value integrators who function as true partners in reaching their goals and controlling costs.

The Prudential Center operates all security and life safety systems from a central command center. Its general contractor sought a security integrator that could recommend and install a security management platform, access control, video surveillance, smoke control and fire systems.

The Edison, N.J., office of Johnson Controls stepped in with a broader proposal. Johnson Controls acquired building equipment manufacturer York International in 2005. York, a longtime advertiser with the New Jersey Devils, brought a trusted relationship to the table, which enabled the Johnson Controls team to propose a solution that transcended security and life safety.
The proposal involved taking responsibility for both the fire and security systems, along with building controls and equipment. The bundle of these offerings saved the Prudential Center significant installation costs. It also kept a complicated and time constrained project on track, with all systems being brought online in 10 months.

Bundled Service
Typically during a construction project, separate subcontractors bid on fire, security, HVAC, building controls and other systems. Each installs its own system and, many times, its own network. This can result in a great deal of duplication and overlap. No single entity has a 30,000-foot view of network infrastructure and specifications. Systems and equipment may not be ordered with the proper connections, resulting in change orders and delays. Opportunities for integration are missed, and little thought goes to future technology needs and how infrastructure will support them.

Johnson Controls and other integrators have begun consolidating these subcontractor functions. One “technology contractor” can take responsibility for any combination of low-voltage systems, including: building security and life safety and voice, data and business systems. Typically, the integrator will install everything on a converged network seizing on open architecture like BACnet, LONmark, SQL and XML to maximize opportunities for integration. As a result, opportunities for integration are rarely missed, projects go more quickly and smoothly, installation and material costs are lowered, and operations and maintenance are simplified.

The Prudential Center’s general contractor was delighted with an arrangement that promised to trim costs and close scope gaps. Johnson Controls was brought on for the $3.5 million fire and security integration. It was also tapped to install the Metasys building management system and $3.3 million in York equipment including chillers, air handlers and fan coil units.

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