Securing the port and city of Richmond, Calif.

Wireless communications continues to transform the traditional landscape of the security enterprise and network. At the Port of Richmond in Richmond, Calif., for example, the recent installation of some 82 cameras (64 fixed and 18 pan-tilt-zoom) came down to a face-off between fiber optics and wireless, said Norman Chan, port administrator of the Port of Richmond. "We looked at fiber optics and wireless and decided that the wireless would be more cost effective and allow us to expand and scale the system up as necessary," he said.

Chan and port officials kicked off the 2008 ADT Media Summit with a tour of the city and port of Richmond's recently deployed wireless mesh network camera system.

The port is located on the southern coast of Richmond, nine miles from the Golden Gate Bridge on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. ADT Security Services won the contract for the surveillance solution, which is funded by a $2.4 million grant from the federal government's Department of Homeland Security. The system was designed by systems integrator Jeff Gutierrez, ADT National Accounts Manager for ADT Security Services Inc. in Pleasanton, Calif., and John Tomasello, ADT National Accounts installation project manager. Also involved was Jon Sargent, industry relations manager for ADT.

Completed earlier this month, ADT was selected as the integrator for the job after a three-month qualification process. ADT went through the bid process; first with the port's request for qualifications and then the request for proposal for citywide surveillance which would begin at the port. Because of the logistics of digging and trenching along the waterway, which is the 22nd largest port in the country in terms of imports, wireless was determined as the logical solution. The port of Richmond has 15 terminals; five are city owned and 10 are privately owned.

The city of Richmond grew up around the 100-year-old port and contributed to the growth of the city," said Jim Matzorkis, port executive director.

The system consists of backhaul networks from AW Networks, wireless mesh networks by BelAir Networks, video storage/management systems by Genius Vision, video analytics by ObjectVideo, and cameras by Axis Communications. The server-based perimeter detection system at the port includes strategically placed and configured trip wires and establishes and allows the user to set up custom rules and exceptions for intrusion within the 15-mile perimeter, including across adjacent waterways.

The impetus for the port's plan originally began with interest at the city level, said Bill Lindsay, city manager.

"Our goal was to reduce crime and vandalism and limit illegal dumping and trespassing with a networked surveillance system," said Lindsay. "We wanted to find out how technology could help solve some our problems," Lindsay said. "We realized it would take a partnership between the city, the port and the police department. Our IT department is closely involved in the installation and it's a strong backbone that we can continue to build on."

The city is in the process of setting up a command control center for the wireless mesh network which includes cameras at "hot spots" or areas prone to crime, such as parks and schools, as well as areas known for illegal dumping. The multi-million-dollar surveillance system for the city will allow live and on the fly recording and transmission of images to the Richmond police headquarters (command center) or other locations. The city is funding its part of the installation and the deployment is expected to go live in June.