At ISC West, GVI Security Solutions was showcasing its Fast Trac Rapid Access Portal (known in short as the RAPOR). The RAPOR portal, which uses a series of rapidly moving doors that fold open or shut to allow or disallow entry, is a highly specialized product, was a head turner at the show, with its swishing doors and commanding position on one of the show's widest aisles.
But costing between $55,000 and $75,000, depending upon how it's outfitted (GVI can add a stainless steel look, Corian coverings and more depending on how the user needs it), the RAPOR is not your entry-level access control device. Its features allow it to be coupled with a variety of authentication devices, including metal detectors, RFID tags, card readers, biometric readers, and time and attendance terminals. The portal can redirect unauthorized persons out of the entry way, and infrared sensors are used to confirm that the unauthorized user is out of the portal before allowing normal throughput again. With maximum throughput of 30-60 persons per minute, the RAPOR can be a workhorse, but remote system control can allow the system to be slowed down for a more leisurely entrance pace.
Needless to say, this isn't the kind of system that's likely to be found in use at a small- to mid-sized business. According to GVI Security Solution's CEO Nazzareno Paciotti, the entry portal is often used to replace resource-consuming guard stations with a more automated system. Add cameras so that incidents (a failed card swipe, or a person who sets off a metal detector) can be reviewed from a control room and even responded to from afar, and the system can even be more effective in reducing needs of guards.
In one of the best examples of the RAPOR's use, it was attached to metal detectors at a computer manufacturing facility where security personnel wanted to assure that no inappropriate materials were entering or leaving the facility. In that instance, a bank of seven portals (three for exit, four for entrance) was able to decrease the reliance on guards, which previously had to hand-wand each employee. According to Paciotti, the security staff was able to decrease the guards needed to man the entrance from approximately 30 to just a couple guards by using the automated portal system.
But because the product is a fairly unique offering, it's not yet been something you would see often, although Paciotti said it had seen implementation at a pharmaceuticals facility, a state lottery and even a financial services company. But until recently, this product hadn't made it into the government sector.
And then there was the DEA...
After DEA officials viewed the RAPOR at an industry tradeshow, GVI worked to close a deal, just announced this week, whereby the DEA would use the RAPOR portals at its headquarters, located across the street from the Pentagon. The facility sees a high-volume of traffic each day, sometimes over 1,500 persons, so ensuring high-throughput and simplicity of operations important to the design.
That means a strong foothold into a burgeoning government facility marketplace, and high-level acceptance for a product that previously may have been closer to the fringe in terms of affordability and numbers of installations.
When GVI Security Solutions CEO Paciotti recently spoke with SecurityInfoWatch.com to discuss the contract, he also shared a few thoughts on the government security market and what it takes to work in that sector.
SIW: Is the RAPOR product listed with the GSA? And what are the benefits of that listing?
Paciotti: Yes, it's GSA-listed. Government agencies are looking for GSA-listed products. Becoming listed requires submitting pricing information about what the product has sold for. It's not a terribly time-consuming process. The advantage is if it is GSA-listed, they can buy it without having to go through the process of requesting bids.
SIW: What kind of changes is the government security market experiencing currently?
Paciotti: Post September 11th, there was a lot of money spent on the assessment phase, assessing infrastructure at our nation's ports, airports, government buildings. Now I think we're seeing the implementation of these recommendations.
SIW: What is happening in terms of how the government is spending security dollars?
Paciotti: With a downward pressure on spending, they have to harden their security in what call incremental ways. These facilities have existing surveillance and card access systems, and our portal is designed to work with those. In the future, when they go to update their access control systems, the idea is that we hope they'll look to us.
SIW: What does a major contract like this one with the DEA mean for a product's acceptance into the marketplace?
Paciotti: I think it's important because there are other federal agencies that we've also been talking to, and they want to see where it's installed and what it looks like and how it works. Government security directors are under a directive to find available products in the marketplace; and they'd rather have a product that's been tested in their marketplace than a proprietary system. It's not a "follow-the-leader" mentality, I wouldn't call it that, but I think that you find they [government security officials] work closely together. There is a tendency to study other facilities' security. And I think the commercial sector often follows what's happening in the government [in terms of technology acceptance].