This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of SD&I magazine
Any security dealer who expects to participate in the high-flying area of airport security had better have a strong background both in security systems and a thorough understanding of the nuances that go into making an airport secure.
It was challenge enough in the pre-9/11 era. Today, the requirements are daunting, but one company that has proved itself in the field is Security Equipment Inc.(SEi), based in Omaha, Neb.
The most recent security challenge for SEi included upgrading the access control system and getting it to integrate with an upgraded video monitoring system at a major airport in Omaha, Eppley Airfield (OMA).
“Over the past 20 years I have spent a considerable amount of time discussing airport security with the Omaha Airport Authority including camera placement, reader placement, delayed egress and extending shunt time on jetway doors,” said Tom Hruby, executive vice president of SEi. He has been almost as much a fixture around the airport as the ubiquitous ticket kiosks and jetways.
The 2,650-acre site in Omaha requires the same high level of security and functionality that any airport in the country requires.
“They really wanted to increase their video surveillance coverage and upgrade to IP video while they did that,” Hruby said. “To accomplish this they had to upgrade their entire network infrastructure as the security system has always been on its own proprietary network to eliminate the chance of external breaches,” he continued.
To do this they had to construct a new IT room. “Once in place the system allowed for network connectivity to the access control system to program video alarm call up, pre-sets for PTZ cameras etc.,” he said.
The video system has been up and running successfully for more than six months.
Electrical contracting firm Miller Electric, Omaha, was responsible for the overall project as the general contractor. They hired a subcontractor to build the new IT room.
Miller Electric performed the IP video portion of the project. “This project was separate from the access control project that was installed a couple of years earlier,” Hruby noted. “SEi was only involved in the integration piece because we maintain the access control.”
There are 20 carriers that take about 4.3 million passengers, 99 million pounds of cargo and 54 million pounds of mail through the facility.
There are about 90 daily departures from OMA, Nebraska’s largest commercial airport. It is divided into three terminals, Central, North and South.
“In the end, a project this size that utilized federal money required that the system be engineered by a third party,” he continued. That responsibility was given to Alvine & Associates, Omaha.
The result is a state-of-the-art access and video security system. “The current access control system at Eppley Airfield is AMAG Symmetry Enterprise Cluster Aware running on a NEC fault tolerant server,” Hruby said.
Video surveillance deployment
When SEi initially came on board in the late 1980s there was no access control system in the airport. The original specification called for an integrated access and video badging system. Over time the system was upgraded to take advantage of new technology and features including running on a Windows operating system.
The new IP video system that was installed replaced the 200 existing analog cameras and added 250 IP devices. The cameras are mostly from Axis Communications with an OnSSI front-end video management system. The contractor utilized Garrett switches for the network connectivity.
“The project included a new IT room complete with HVAC and generator,” Hruby noted.
The access control system and video system are integrated and are monitored in one location by the same personnel. “We are basically trying to give them actionable video,” Hruby said. “Don’t show me a camera unless there is something to see,” he said. This is accomplished through access control alarms pulling up video to big screens in the central control center.