SPECIAL REPORT: 2006 Installations of the Year—Prize-Winning Projects Approach Perfection
Experience, expertise, ethics, finesse, dedication, patience, perseverance, teamwork. Vision Southeast and Ultrasafe Security possess these attributes in abundance, which is largely why they captured Security Sales & Integration’s 2006 Integrated Installation of the Year Awards. Their winning entries demonstrated extraordinary skill and innovation in system design, engineering and installation.
As the biggest among many winners announced during SSI’s SAMMY Awards ceremony in Las Vegas April 4, Birmingham, Ala.-based Vision Southeast and Ultrasafe Security of Norco, Calif., set themselves apart among several outstanding security contractors to take home special plaques for, respectively, Integrated Commercial/Industrial and Residential Installations of the Year.
In its winning installation, Vision Southeast integrated access control, digital video, fire detection and fiber optics systems for the 2-million-square-foot Hyundai Motors Manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Ala. The project, which included six buildings spread across 1,750 acres, was completed in four months.
Ultrasafe earned its residential recognition by installing a total perimeter fence, perimeter photoelectric beam, wireless CCTV, access control and command center systems for a 350-unit, Southern California golf-course community. The $1 million project was completed in five months.
Both projects combine environmental aesthetics with optimal functionality, seamless integration and ease of use. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these installations worthy of being recognized as the industry’s gold standard.
Hyundai Plant Souped Up
With Super Security System
Vision Southeast Inc. is a Birmingham, Ala.-based systems integrator specializing in security system design and installation primarily for large corporate, government and health-care clientele. The firm was founded in 2000 by President Barry Komisar, who earned his stripes during an eight-year stint working for another integrator he now calls his competitor.
Vision Southeast is comprised of 25 employees, including Barry’s wife, Kim Komisar, who handles marketing for the company. The integrator realizes 40 percent of its revenue from systems integration, 25 percent each from access control and video surveillance, with the remainder coming from various electronic-based systems.
Vision Southeast, which does not install intrusion systems or provide monitoring, has put together an impressive client list that includes the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (see case study in the May 2003 issue of Security Sales & Integration), the Colonial Mall in Brookwood Village (Ala.) and the Birmingham Early Learning Center.
As Barry Komisar states, “To us, it is about quality, not quantity.” It was this approach and the company’s mounting reputation that helped it obtain the Hyundai Motors Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) plant in Montgomery.
Mammoth Facility Calls for Powerful Security
Having begun production in March 2005, the facility is the first Hyundai plant to be opened in the United States.
Situated on 1,750 acres, the complex encompasses six major buildings with 2 million square feet under roof. At full capacity, the $1.1 billion factory will churn out some 300,000 Sonatas and Santa Fe SUVs a year. Hyundai saw U.S. sales grow by 9 percent in 2005, when it moved more than 400,000 vehicles.
When considering its effect on employment as well as serving as a catalyst for a host of local suppliers, the new Hyundai plant figures to have the greatest impact of any business enterprise ever launched in the central Alabama region. At peak, there are several thousand employees on site. In addition, the facility welcomes many visitors, including vendors and tour groups from local schools and civic organizations.
The enormity of this operation, both in terms of productivity, people and assets, called for an equally substantial security system.
“The HMMA plant is a state-of-the-art automotive plant with proprietary manufacturing technology and innovative automotive designs on the drawing board. We have more than 3,000 team members and are dedicated to their safety and well being,” says Larry Pugh, HMMA security/communications manager.
Integrator Befriends Other Trades on Project
In May 2004, Hyundai management signed on Vision Southeast to provide an innovative solution integrating video surveillance, access control, audio and attendance checking from points several miles apart, and fire detection. Work began in late 2004 and was completed about four months later.
“The original purchase order was signed on May 10, 2004. The original installation was to take about 26 weeks. However, due to many construction delays, final acceptance did not occur until June 29, 2005,” says Komisar.
In addition to Komisar, other key Vision Southeast personnel involved in the HMMA project included Larry Oliver, account representative; George Howard, engineer; Installation Manager Ivan Popov; Service Manager Scott Nolde; and technicians Rusty Chevyrev, Paul Gulledge, Ben
Padilla, Chris Duncan and Jason Dyer. With a consultant serving as the liaison and system design advisor in a truly collaborative effort, Vision Southeast helped the end user make its security desires a reality.
“We obviously worked with HMMA in determining their needs — where they needed cameras, card readers, turnstiles, etc.,” adds Komisar. “They had an idea of what type of security they needed, but our job was to lead them with our experience and design a state-of-the-art system.”
The integrator carefully orchestrated the project’s coordination with several other trades as well. The scope of the jobsite likened it to the construction of a small city.
Komisar continues, “We had to coordinate with someone at just about every phase of the project. We coordinated with consultants, engineers and architects more during the design phase. Once the installation began, it almost meant coordinating with someone new on a daily basis — builders, electricians, glass installers, you name it.”
63 Cameras, 135 Doors Pace Video, Access Systems
From its inception, Vision Southeast has been an advocate of the GE Security (Kalatel, Fiber Options, Casi) product line (see equipment list on page 32), and that did not change for the HMMA project.
“From the cameras to the digital recorders to the access control system, all equipment was from GE,” confirms Komisar. “We always lead with the GE product line and believed it was the best solution for our client. Offering video, access control and fiber transmission equipment from a single source assured us of compatibility and availability of the product.”
Regarding the video portion of the installation, miles of fiber-optic cable was run in order to connect all of the video to a single point. All camera signals and data for pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) control travel through the dedicated fiber network.
In total, the video system consists of 63 cameras — 17 fixed high-resolution, eight color Cyberdome Selects and 38 Cyberdome day/night units. It utilizes Fiber Options fiber transmitters and receivers on a private fiber backbone.
All video is fed to the security control room where it is recorded on six rack-mounted terabyte DVMRes. Live video is then sent to a GE Security matrix switcher and displayed in multiplexed and single images on four 42-inch plasma monitors, eight 20-inch GE LCD monitors and four 15-inch GE LCD call-up monitors located on a custom-designed security desk.
Security officers control all video display and p/t/z cameras with two GE KTD-405 keypad controllers. Video from a separate facility two miles away is also monitored live and controlle
d from this security desk using the same method.
Access control for the facility uses the computer network for communication and interfaces with the SAP system to allow managers to see which of their employees are reporting for work. “Hyundai requested this attendance-checking application, but at the time it did not yet exist. We brought in a GE consultant and created a program to perform this crucial function,” Komisar says.
The access system consists of 135 doors, 144 proximity readers, 113 magnetic locks and numerous passive infrared readers (PIR) motion detectors and request-to-exit (RTE) buttons. Each door is secured by a 1,200-pound force maglock with a GE 940 prox reader, while major access points are covered by DR-1500 vandal-resistant, high-resolution color cameras.
All access control devices communicate to a dedicated access control server via the facility network. All access functions are monitored on a 15- inch LCD screen at the security desk. In addition, high security access points use the product’s Swipe-n- Show feature to verify the cardholder’s identity.
In addition, access system-controlled full-height mechanical turnstiles were installed at three points in guardhouses along the fence line to secure the foreign trade zone.
System Offers Unique Functions, Ease of Use
All access control points and video are integrated to provide real-time and recorded evidence. Any access rule violation results in an immediate alarm, with live and recorded video displayed on a spot monitor for observation and investigation.
All told, in addition to the aforementioned 135 access points and 63 cameras, the system integrates two separate fire systems, five 16-camera, terabyte DVRs and a Casi-Rusco enterprise access control system. All systems (video, access control, audio, attendance and fire) work together as one integrated unit, allowing security officers to attend to the most urgent tasks without managing each system individually.
The Hyundai system is unique in its ability to monitor all security systems while sharing attendance information with the production managers. Currently, from a single station in the main control room, officers can check the status of doors, view activity in or out of the facility and see if any current weather or local events threaten to affect the plant.
The sleek-looking control room allows two operators to sit at a custombuilt desk to view the mounted flatpanel, high-definition plasma and LCD monitors. “We have two specialists monitoring the system 24/7,” adds HMMA’s Pugh. “They’re able to control the entire facility with it.” Designed with growth in mind, the system will accommodate multiple monitoring stations.
Firm Becomes Hero to Client, Award Judges
The $800,000 HMMA installation was not without its unique challenges.
“The greatest difficulty was just the size and scope of the job itself, and the deadlines we were required to meet,” explains Komisar. “The greatest opportunity was to learn a little bit of the Korean culture and how to communicate an idea from two different perspectives.”
According to Pugh, Vision Southeast did an outstanding job of contending with whatever curve balls were thrown its way. “Installation during construction caused problems as construction was changed,” he says. “However, Vision Southeast made the changes to accommodate and overcome.”
Once the system went online, little time was wasted before it began to allow management to record and address various incidents. In fact, it was basically a trial by fire as the system was counted on during HMMA’s highlevel grand-opening celebration.
Not only did many state and local dignitaries attend that event, but also on hand were former President George Bush Sr. and the chairman of Hyundai. Secret Service commandeered the control room to keep watch over the ex-president (this was in addition to the sharp shooters they had on the rooftops). All concerned were quite impressed with the performance of the facility’s system.
HMMA management has been so enthralled with the system and the work of Vision Southeast that a $1 million second phase of security systems deployment is planned to commence this year.
“Currently, Phase 2 is in the planning stage,” says Komisar. “The system will increase in size and include additional video, access control, digital recording and intelligent video monitoring for the facility perimeter.”
The icing on the cake for Vision Southeast was winning SSI‘s 2006 Integrated Commercial/Industrial Installation of the Year Award. Although the company had previously won one of the magazine’s SAMMY Awards, the installation honor clearly represents something very special to the company’s leadership.
“For a company as young as ours, it is a tremendous feat that we will use to help us grow,” adds Komisar. “It’s nice to get recognition from within the industry; it’s validation. We’ll definitely market the award, and we are extremely proud to have won.”
System is Par Excellence
Located in the Riverside County (Calif.) city of Norco, Ultrasafe Security has carved out a nice niche for itself specializing in integrated systems, video surveillance and access control. The company also dabbles in intrusion and fire systems. More than half of its approximately 200 accounts are monitored by Criticom Int’l.
Established in 1989, Ultrasafe has its roots in law enforcement as President Ron Lander, CPP, is a retired sergeant with 23 years on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Lander is also a senior member of the American Society for Industrial Security’s (ASIS) Information Technology Security Council, past chairman of the local ASIS chapter and a longtime member of the California Alarm Association’s (CAA) Executive Committee. Lander’s and Ultrasafe’s skills have been tapped by general aviation airports, high profile estate owners, celebrities, grocery and department stores, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, the hotel/restaurant industry and law firms. However, it was the company’s solution for a golf community located in one of Southern California’s most affluent desert towns that has now brought the firm national prominence as winner of the 2006 SSI Residential Installation of the Year.
The integrator came up with a $1.1 million, homeowners’ association-approved solution to upgrade the community’s outmoded security system so the more than 350 estate owners would have better protection for their families and assets. The project included a new command center to control perimeter fencing, perimeter photoelectric beam detection, video surveillance and gate security systems.
Rising Crime, Antiquated System Prompt Upgrade
With crime in the surrounding Coachella Valley on the upswing and existing security systems becoming dilapidated and obsolescent, the golf community’s board of directors decided in early 2005 to upgrade the neighborhood’s overall security posture.
“The existing perimeter system was not working at all and the command center was too small; all of the computers were obsolete and malfunctioning frequently,” says Lander. “In addition, there were 10 photoelectric beam sets on the golf course that did not work, and three vehicle gates had to be manned by security personnel.”
After being recommended by another consultant, Ultrasafe Security Specialists was hired to evaluate the existing system and make recommendations for a new integrated security system.
“This started as a consulting and project management project. However, when we found out some of the local contractors&#
8217; prices were significantly outside the budget, or they refused to participate due to the stringent specifications, we offered to do some of the work out of our own labor pool,” says Lander.
Ultrasafe is comprised of two different entities: Ultrasafe Security Solutions, which is a consulting business consisting of Lander and Pat Boyd, CPP, and Ultrasafe Security Specialists, which is the installation portion of the business that (usually) works independently of the consulting arm and includes several other staff members.
For this particular project, the two divisions of Ultrasafe collaborated. The contract was obtained in early June 2005 and a five-month project timeline was put into action. However, it did not take long to discover the job would exceed that timeframe.
Solar Power, Wireless Technology Included in System Design
The desert can be a brutal, unforgiving environment for security equipment, which was a key consideration for Ultrasafe in determining what devices would be installed.
“We went through testing different technologies and selected what we thought would be the best fit for the budget and environment,” says Lander. “The desert-area temperature is usually in the range of 100°-120° F during the summer and in the 40°-50° F range during the winter. It was necessary to install equipment that could withstand the extremes in temperatures.”
For the perimeter fence system, RBtec was selected as the manufacturer with Flair Electronics serving as the integrator. The RBtec system is based on the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) principle. Two wires were attached to the top of the 14,000-foot-long block wall and were subsequently covered with mortar.
When a person in possession of metal (even dental fillings) comes in close proximity to the fence, a magnetic difference is detected, and one of 32 perimeter zones annunciates audibly and on a 42-inch monitor located in the command center. Local cameras in the area are then automatically commanded to point toward the area of the violation.
Speaking of video, an eight-channel General Solutions DVR was placed at each of the four perimeter gates, and a 16-channel unit was installed inside the command center. More than 30 stationary and pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras were used to further protect the perimeter.
“There were more than a dozen Pelco Spectra III p/t/z cameras installed throughout the facility,” confirms Lander. “Each entry gate has a minimum of four cameras installed, including one that gives a facial view of a driver that is communicated via a Verizon T1 network to command center personnel.”
As for access control, the facility has four gates. Barrier arms were installed at all entry and exit lanes. Communication with the service entry gate is accomplished via a 1.5MB wireless link. There was also an automated gate system installed that allows visitors to communicate via voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) with the command center.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the project was the solution Ultrasafe devised to provide the golf course with perimeter protection. Using products from a company called Solarbeam Security, a solar-powered system was deployed.
“Since the golf course is on a flood control channel, there is no ability to run conduit or provide local electricity,” says Lander. “The Solarbeam system includes 10 7-foot tower sets. Each tower has a solar panel, regulator and batteries, and each receiver has an Inovonics transmitter that communicates with the command center.”
For the intrusion aspect of the project, Allied Security Alarms was enlisted to install a Bosch Security Systems 6600 alarm receiver and Microkey alarm management software. Allied also provides a redundant backup system through a telephone transfer link in the event of a local calamity like an earthquake.
The entire community-wide system is integrated, with the cameras connecting to the access system as well as the perimeter system. Everything communicates through the Ethernet backbone back to the command center, which is typically manned by the 20-person guard force that works for and patrols the community.
System Delivers as Promised, Keeps Security on Course
Although the end result of the project achieved its mission, Ultrasafe had to contend with software programming problems and snags in timely product delivery. The latter pushed the job well beyond its initial five-month time frame.
Lander elaborates: “We were dealing with a company that uses programmers located in the Middle East. Even though they adjusted their schedules to be available during most of our daytime presence, communicating with them at an understandable level was difficult. Another problem was dealing with shippers. Sixty percent of incoming products were either late, damaged or did not arrive at all!”
Ultrasafe found creative ways to overcome the obstacles set before it to meet its client’s expectations. Despite the fact some tweaks had yet to be programmed into the software, the system began paying dividends for the community almost immediately.
“There have been numerous violations of the perimeter that have been detected by the system, recorded on video, and the perpetrators have been captured by guards,” says Lander. “In some cases, it is people taking a shortcut through the golf course to another part of the community. However, it was this type of movement the client wanted to detect and stop.” According to Lander, the company was surprised and overjoyed to be announced as the winner. “It feels good for myself and my staff to be recognized by our peers in the security industry,” he says.
The video system has also been used to document and bill people who have struck a barrier arm or gate and driven away without stopping.
Capping off Utrasafe’s satisfaction with a job well done and another happy customer is capturing the SSI Installation of the Year Award. Ultrasafe registered the honor in its first time entering the competition.
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