2013 STE Security Innovation Awards: Collaboration is the key to innovative security projects

Diverse projects highlight Security Technology Executive's 2013 Security Innovation Award winners

The Silver Innovation Awards winner comes from Houston’s Memorial Hermann network of healthcare facilities (featured on page 24). This was a daunting project that required a level of complexity seldom seen in an access control upgrade and retrofit.  Covering over 20 million square feet, with 1,762 doors, 1,600 cameras, 30,000 cardholders and five million visitors annually, this project is among the largest on the Software House C•Cure 9000 platform.

Tech Systems, a systems integrator based in Duluth, Ga., worked with security director Joseph Bellino to migrate disparate access control platforms to a central command center, as well as incorporate an infant-protection solution and video surveillance.

“Because this conversion was a long-term plan it required a long-term partnership. It is never good to create an adversarial relationship with vendors. They need to perform, they need to be motivated and they need to value Memorial Hermann as a customer. It’s not all about price, it’s about value. Tech Systems offered me the most cost-effective and results-oriented proposal. Leveraging their expertise, experience and ongoing professional services we could save money over time and have a security program that is fluid and effective today, tomorrow and a year from now,” remarks Bellino.

Says one of the awards judges: “The security team at Memorial Hermann had to deal with one of the most common problems faced by organizations across all vertical markets in the industry: upgrading outdated technology and getting buy-in from stakeholders throughout the organization on a limited budget. Not only were they able to migrate all of their sites to the newest access control software platform, they were also able to rebadge all of their staff members while at the same time implementing a new infant protection system. This was truly a Herculean effort on the part of both the end user and systems integrator.”

This year’s Bronze Innovation Awards winner certainly features the most famous end-user customer – Lady Liberty (featured on page 28).  Standing more than 300 feet tall from ground to torch, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes America and its values of democracy, freedom and promise.

The task of protecting a majestic, international symbol falls to a number of agencies, including the U.S. Park Police, National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of the Interior. The Statue’s interior closed to the public for renovations in 2011 and again in 2012 as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. As part of the refurbishment, Total Recall, a New-York based technology provider specializing in turnkey integrated video solutions, provided a state-of-the-art surveillance system with nine other security technology vendor partners. The new solution went online shortly before the Statue symbolically reopened on the Fourth of July in 2013 – eight months after Sandy.

Jordan Heilweil admits that the project was not without challenges. But he is extremely proud of how his team from Total Recall met them all.

“Making a donation of a security system is not without its challenges! Going through the approval process of making this donation was a complicated task.  Our team of attorneys had many meetings with the National Park Service attorneys.  Most people don't realize when you are talking about a project involving the Statue of Liberty the required approvals come from the top levels within the federal government,” says Heilweil

 We had a very unique opportunity at the Statue.  Usually even if we are designing a solution there are restrictions.  In this case there weren't.  We had full control of what solution to build and what technology to incorporate,” Heilweil adds.

The judges found this project intriguing because of its scope and wide array of security problems that needed solving.  One judge comments: “This project showed a truly impressive mix of disparate yet interrelated technologies. The project employed a rich mix of video capture, communications, and display and storage elements. I was impressed by the incorporation of new technology capabilities, including video synopsis, mobile apps and advanced communication, into a mix of traditional technologies to provide a complete security solution. Documented success stories, the achievement of the project’s goal – to ‘keep the visitor experience enjoyable while at the same time being able to respond optimally to incidents or emergencies,’ and the ultimate satisfaction of the end user are the proof of the pudding.”