A victory for Victoria, B.C.
A victory for Victoria, B.C.

Mar 1, 2003 12:00 PM

A Victory for Victoria, B.C.

Victoria, B.C.

Victoria International Airport

Access Control Software

As one of the world's most popular tourist attractions, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia on Canada's Vancouver Island, has seen a 60 percent increase in airline passenger volume during the last five years. As host to the area's air travelers, Victoria International Airport (VIA) launched a $21 million terminal expansion that features new arrivals areas, holding rooms, and retailers. The Velocity access control and security management software from Hirsch Electronics, Santa Ana, Calif., is helping VIA meet its increasing demands for tighter security with more visible identification of employees and contractors.

In spring of 2001, Denis Pettigrew, VIA's security supervisor, began his search for a new badging system. He turned to Hirsch Electronics. VIA was already a Hirsch customer; it had purchased the supplier's SAM access control system several years earlier. Working with CAMACC Systems Inc., a Victoria, B.C., systems integrator, VIA installed Velocity by late summer 2001. VIA chose to implement Velocity in two steps. The first priority was to replace its antiquated badging software with Velocity's badging software. Down the line, Velocity's access control software would replace the airport's older access software.

VIA's original plan was to phase-in new badges gradually for all airport employees. But after Sept. 11, Pettigrew and his team decided to issue new badges to every employee and contractor so staff could easily recognize if people were in areas for which they had not received clearance. Within about 20 days, new badges for 650 people were designed, produced and distributed.

VIA's reader-protected doors lead to holding rooms, customs, immigration, baggage handling areas and other areas that lead airside. Contractors and other temporary workers receive yellow badges. Permanent employees with access to restricted areas are issued red badges (restricted-area badges are red at all Canadian airports). Employees who work for car rental companies, restaurants and retailers receive green badges. Visitors wearing yellow badges must be escorted by one or more red-badged employees at all times. Yellow-badged workers must submit their personal identification card to security personnel before they receive their temporary badge. "This procedure made anybody with an old badge ! especially a bad guy with an old badge ! immediately distinguishable," Pettigrew says.

VIA's security personnel use Velocity's ID badge template to create badges by entering data in the enrollment manager and importing photos and other artwork. Every badge features the holder's photo, height, hair and eye color, department, expiration date and other security-related information. Badges are valid for up to five years, but Pettigrew and his team have the flexibility to issue passes that are valid for shorter periods of time as situations warrant. VIA's former badging system did not offer user-defined expiration dates.

"Using the badging portion of Velocity, VIA realized a big cost savings," says Dennis Law, president, CAMACC Systems.

VIA used Velocity as a stand-alone system until fall 2002. That's when it turned to Velocity's access control capabilities following completion of expansion phase one. "Now we can use a single database for badging and access control," Pettigrew says. As an existing Hirsch customer, VIA did not have to replace its existing proximity readers and cards when it upgraded from SAM access software to Velocity. "We also use the Velocity database for other user-defined security purposes such as recording issued keys and proximity card serial numbers," Pettigrew adds. As a system that integrates with matrix switchers and camera systems, Velocity also integrates with VIA's CCTV system. Alarm conditions trigger pan/tilt/zoom cameras and recordings. VIA also uses Velocity's report generator to create parking-related reports for accounting personnel. Use of Velocity's graphics features is also fully realized now that badging, camera control and access control are integrated.

VIA uses Hirsch's Model 8 Controller for Velocity ! the same controller used for SAM. A command and control module (CCM) upgrade is all that was needed to convert from SAM to Velocity. "A technician just replaced a chip in the Model 8 and they were good to go with the new system; this was a 10-minute procedure," Law says. "VIA didn't have to buy new controllers, and they can use their existing access hardware. All they needed to do was update the controller firmware."

Velocity's access software offers additional benefits for VIA. Improved handling of holidays, additional door groups, and multiple credentials that allow users to associate people with groups are among its notable features. Running on an NT-based network, Velocity allows for multiple workstations so administrators can add and delete users or perform other applications from multiple desktop PCs. To further heighten security, Velocity uses an encrypted interface between door locations and controllers.

VIA is investigating mantrap applications to avoid piggybacking on access points to runways. It has also upgraded to delayed egress exit devices on many emergency exits to allow for more effective dispatch of response personnel.

"Velocity provided a turnkey package for the entire airport," Law concludes. "Velocity also lends itself well to biometric applications ! we may be exploring biometrics in the not-too-distant future."
Santa Ana, Calif.

Circle No. 50 on Card
Digital Video Upgrades Toronto Airport


Toronto Pearson International Airport

Digital Video Recording

Toronto Pearson International Airport is using a digital video and audio recording solution from NICE Systems, Ra'anana, Israel, as part of a larger security upgrade it conducted last fall. The airport's security system project was overseen by Plan Group, Johnson Controls L.P. and Girit Canada Inc. and was instituted in order to address growing security requirements.

The NiceVision Pro digital video and audio recording system offers a high frame rate to enable users to extract the most information from their digital video images. NiceVision Pro offers simultaneous recording of every camera at 30 frames-per-second (NTSC) and 25 frames-per-second (PAL). The system's open architecture also provides integration and growth with existing security systems for complete detection and identification of security threats.

As part of the expansion, NICE supplied high-resolution digital video recorders supporting hundreds of cameras. The NiceVision platform provides high frame rate, video resolution and RAID array storage devices to ensure redundancy.

NICE's technology enables proactive detection of security threats and breaches and enables information to be shared across global databases and among different sites and security agencies. The company has won recording installations with airport authorities in 38 countries and for the past six years, it has provided the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) with recording systems in more than 600 airports.

NICE Systems will soon install the NiceVision Pro system at Ottawa International Airport as part of the authority's ongoing construction of a new airport terminal. Upon completion, the system will use the airport networks backbone and be controlled by Girit Canada's virtual matrix controller software.
NICE Systems
Ra'anana, Israel

Circle No. 51 on Card
Vegas Bets Heavily On Wireless Technology

Las Vegas

McCarran Airport

Wireless Video Surveillance

Tighter security at airports throughout the nation has led to a search for CCTV solutions. Keeping close tabs on the heavy flow of delivery and private vehicles that frequent one of the nation's busiest airports has grown in importance. McCarran Airport in Las Vegas recently installed a wireless video surveillance system to monitor its two large parking garages and the parking toll plaza. The system allows the airport's security and traffic personnel to view real-time video of the parking plaza toll area.

"There were several requirements we needed to consider for the surveillance installation at McCarran Airport," says Ron Freschi, a director with North American Video, which did the install. "In addition to designing a camera system capable of providing high-quality color images, the cameras themselves needed to be virtually indestructible," Freschi continues. "The parking plaza was located some distance from the security command center. Our solution was to use wireless transmission to send audio and video from the parking plaza to the monitoring location. As a result, our design team was able to minimize installation costs."

Eight wireless dome cameras are installed at the parking exit plaza. Each of the four tollbooths has two cameras installed ! one inside and one outside. Audio is also provided to monitor conversations between the toll collectors and drivers. The exterior cameras feature armored plating and fortified mounts to withstand damage from passing vehicle traffic. Video and audio feeds from the cameras are transmitted to a central command center located approximately 1,200 feet from the parking plaza via a microwave system with a one-mile transmission range. To achieve real-time video, the eight camera and four audio signals are combined into two premium encoded signals prior to transmission. The signals are then decoded at the command center using a unit on which the images can be viewed and recorded in full screen.
Brick, N.J.

Circle No. 52 on Card

How have you put technology to work to improve airport security at your company? TRANSPORTATION SECURITY is seeking technology success stories to share with readers. We'll pay $100 to any end-user who suggests a story we use.

Larry Anderson at
770-618-0118 or e-mail


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