For those having the time of their life frolicking fancy-free at Knoebels Amusement Resort, security is likely the last thing on their minds. And that’s exactly how it should be for patrons of America’s largest free admission amusement park, which is nestled in an idyllic wooded setting within Elysburg, Pa. To see it stays that way, behind the scenes Knoebels management enlisted Vector Security to deploy a parkwide integrated video and access management system that ensures safety and enhances customer service. The project allowed Vector Security to bag an SSI Integrated Installation of the Year Award.
In operation since 1926, Knoebels Amusement Resort is one of the nation’s most unique and exciting facilities of its kind. Besides featuring a 900,000-gallon crystal pool filled with refreshing mountain stream water, two overnight campgrounds accommodating cabins and more than 800 campsites, Knoebels contains 60+ rides, award-winning food, games and gift shops. In addition, visitors can hit the links at Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Club located adjacently to the park.
Addressing improved efficiencies as they relate to public liability, loss prevention and safety issues were the objectives that drove Vector Security’s system design. It included video management software (VMS), VMS server, IP megapixel cameras with IR and 360⁰ functionality, encoders, access control software, card readers, electronic locks and custom-developed integration software.
Integrator Queues Up
Knoebels was looking for an integrator that could support its growing needs and meet budgetary requirements. The choice of vendor was predicated on the ability to consult, design, install and service the system now and into the future. In late 2013, Knoebels began discussions with Vector Security to review its current system, develop a more comprehensive plan for upgrading current infrastructure and set objectives for further system integration.
The result of hours of discussion and planning between the Knoebels team and Vector Security resulted in commencement of the project in early 2014. The job would entail consultation and coordination with all manufacturers and custom software developers, as well as Knoebels’ park safety, IT, loss prevention, maintenance, engineering and staff electrician personnel.
“We work with these groups from design through implementation of the systems for input on design requirements to installation infrastructure requirements,” says Vector Security Integrated System Coordinator Gary Shipierski. “This includes IT WAN support, POS interface support and engineering’s support on system integration with the park’s ride control systems.”
In addition to Shipierski, key Vector Security personnel involved in the planning, design and installation included Sales Representative Scott Christian, and Installation Technicians Brian Peet and Joseph Tweedle. According to Shipierski, the project, which would total out at more than 400 labor hours, was a very collaborative process.
“The customer had an idea of the system and end result of the systems design, but didn’t have specific products selected to accomplish their final objective,” he says. “They knew how the system should look and operate, but looked to Vector Security to provide the solution. The manufacturers were also very important in providing support in both the design and installation phases of the project.”
An Amusing Environment
Though Vector Security is well versed in integrated solutions for a wide swath of vertical market clients and monitors 275,000 customers, the Knoebels amusement park venue was a unique undertaking.
“A challenge of the project was utilizing products primarily designed for use in the security industry, making modification of their use to not only work for security but also to be used in the amusement park industry for more than just security. The system is used for security, but used more for liability and safety purposes,” says Shipierski.
Working through the winter and early spring months to meet a late April deadline also presented challenges. And the solution had to adhere to the customer’s site and ride safety plans.
“There were several difficult aspects associated with this project. A large portion of the work was outdoors and it all had to be completed in a short period from when the project was awarded to when the park opened for business for the season,” says Shipierski. “We had to work with manufacturers and suppliers to ensure longer lead times so equipment would be available to meet the timeline. And we had to work with the customer and custom software developer to ensure software met expectations.”
Shipierski credits hard work by the project team on tasks ranging from placement of equipment orders to the implementations of the systems by the technicians as being critical to overcoming the job’s challenges.
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