My Point of View: Security Innovation is Alive and Well

It doesn’t take long to see why the Devon Tower is the pride of Oklahoma City. Once my plane hit the tarmac of Will Rogers World Airport, the tower was the most impressive landmark on an otherwise flat landscape.

I suppose it was apropos that the gleaming 50-plus story edifice was the predominant structure in my view as Jeff Fields and I headed to an awards dinner to honor 2012’s top recipient of Security Technology Executive’s Security Innovation Award.

Fields, the general manager of Dowley Security Systems — the lead systems integrator in this elaborate project — had nothing but praise for the entire team of integrators, vendors and end-user clients who collaborated on completing the Devon Tower project on time, on budget and to the satisfaction of all involved.

Each year since 2005, we have recognized the best examples of cooperative and collaborative security projects. The goal is to promote the spirit of partnership between the integrator, vendor and their end-user clients in unique and complex security projects.

It was this true spirit of collaboration that guided this team of professionals through a complex and expansive job. Securing the tallest building between California and the Mississippi River was no small feat — it took a team of integrators, consultants, architects and 12 different security-related technology vendors to secure the building, which serves as the headquarters of Devon Energy Corporation.

Under the supervision of Dowley’s team of integrators and working with lead vendor AMAG Technology, Devon’s director of corporate security Kent Chrisman needed a solution to secure the 1.8 million square-foot glass tower that houses more than 3,000 employees and is open to the public in downtown Oklahoma City for dining and special events. “It was crucial for us to be able to take a highly public space and ensure both its aesthetic beauty and the security of its occupants. It is a balancing act trying to keep the architects happy and at the same time making sure all your systems work,” says Chrisman, who has been with Devon Energy for five years after spending 14 years as a special agent for the United States Secret Service.

But they succeeded in a big way. As one of our Security Innovation Awards judges wrote: “This is truly an innovative, integrated systems application. The overall environment of the project and its scope was quite extensive and addressed fully by the implemented technology. The integrator did quite a bit of customization of the application, which is impressive and really what a good integrator does. Cabling, connectivity and convergence was extensive in this project. In addition, security was blended with the environment in an aesthetic and seamless way.”

In all, STE is honoring four elite projects for 2012. The silver medal was awarded to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority project. Lead integrator Schneider Electric teamed with Verint and several other vendors to procure a new video management system, a PISM solution and video analytics software to monitor the various transportation modes for WMATA. Its overall goal was to establish a platform that enhanced the situational awareness of emergency and operational personnel throughout the organization.

As one of our judges wrote: The use of the VMS system goes well beyond traditional out-of-the-box specifications. With so many different components, integration was a key, and it was handled well. Use of behavioral recognition software was also innovative for this type of project.”

STE’s final two award winners highlight wireless technologies for increased security, communications and video surveillance capabilities. The Los Angeles Police Department’s major crimes division project (bronze medal) and the New York Waterways Ferry System project (honorable mention) both deployed innovative technology to overcome technological issues with video surveillance.

The LAPD’s Technical Support Unit worked closely with Axis Communications and U.K.-based cellular provider Cobham to circumvent bandwidth issues that arose from streaming video over the cellular network. Working with three vendors, the New York Waterway was able to improve communication, emergency response and preparedness throughout their fleet while overcoming the limitations of cellular-based networks.