Integrating security at the new World Trade Center site

The sheer size of the new World Trade Center site in New York, which consists of 5 towers, a memorial site, a transit hub and a performing arts center spread across 16 acres is enough to create numerous challenges for any security director.

However, when you consider that each facility on the site is operates independently and employs the use of disparate technologies, the task of integrated all of those systems seems impossible.

Such was the task assigned to Louis Barani, World Trade Center security director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Like any security executive, Barani began the job of integrating security at the WTC site by conducting a risk assessment.

Three of the things that Barani said security executives should remember to make a part of their risk analysis is the number of casualties that could result from a certain threat, loss of income from the potential event and the cost of replacing what is lost.

One example Barani cited was the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in which the port authority decided to close the George Washington Bridge for three days, nearly resulting in a complete loss of fuel for Long Island.

Even after conducting an exhaustive risk analysis, which included the usual threat of acts of terrorism and natural disasters, Barani still would have to convince stakeholders that the investment was warranted, which is why he also did cost-benefit analysis.

“The biggest challenge with any assessment like this is how you are going to present it to your executive,”

Helping Barani to develop a comprehensive security plan for the site was Philip Santore, principal at the security consulting firm of Ducibella Venter & Santore.

According to Santore, there were essentially two options that could be implemented at the WTC site that would result in a truly integrated system. The first option, which wasn’t feasible, was a site-wide mandate that required a single manufacture’s technology be used for each system. The second option, which was later opted for, was the use of a Situational Awareness Platform Software (SAPS) that was eventually developed for the site by physical security information management (PSIM) systems developer VidSys and identity management and access control firm Quantum Secure.

When the site is eventually finished in 2015 or early 2016, Santore said it will have nearly 50,000 access card holders, 4,000 surveillance cameras, 20,000 fire alarm points, 5,000 building management system points, 2,000 elevator points, and 1,000 CBRN points. Due to the vast amount of technologies being used and because each site works as its own separate silo, it was decided to integrate all of the systems together using the SAPS platform created by Quantum and VidSys at a Sitewide Operations Coordination Center (SWOCC), which is located in one of the buildings on the site. Click here to read how Diebold addressed the system integration challenges at the World Trade Center.

The integration of all of these systems allows information to be distributed to the proper personnel in a short of amount of time. “We’re sharing information quickly to the right people for the right responses,” Santore said.

For example, if there is a fire alarm somewhere on the site, Laurie Aaron, vice president of sales and business development at Quantum Secure, said that the VidSys platform can pull up a live video where the incident occurred, at which point the Quantum platform will pull up a the number and identities of people that are located in the affected area. The operator at the SWOCC can then analyze the situation and review the action plan checklist, at which point it may be determined that an evacuation is in order for the affected area.

“It really is the Mount Everest of security integration projects,” said Timothy Galvin, northeast regional sales director at VidSys.
 

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