Integrator Helps Optimize Security System at New York City’s School of Visual Arts

Idesco implemented sophisticated integration of SVA’s surveillance cameras and access control system to get the most out of its security system.

Software Spurs Integration Success
SVA asked Idesco to find ways that the college could do more with this existing system; the answer keyed on more sophisticated integration. “We analyzed and reviewed SVA’s security platform and found that their solution did not allow them to use their system to its fullest capacity,” says Michael Troiani, service manager at Idesco. “Basically, their campus was isolated silos of information that did not interact. Unconnected, this data’s value is not fully maximized.”

Working with Idesco, SVA reviewed all options and selected a new S2 Enterprise security platform. To facilitate the upgrade, Idesco enlisted the help of braXos Security Software, a specialist in physical security middleware – the software that sits in between a security engine and any other application or system requiring connection.


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BraXos developed a software application to pull the existing access control database including all time zones, access levels, card readers, inputs/outputs, and schedules and import them into the newly specified system. “We spent about 200 hours developing the perfect application based on SVA’s requirements,” says Tom Skoulis, chief connection officer at braXos.

Troiani and Brian Simpson, Idesco’s operations manager, crunched the data from SVA’s existing system to supply braXos with clear, organized information. “They took on the challenge of SVA’s security system transition and cut the amount of time in half, at minimum, says Skoulis.”

Propelled by the high level of coordination among security integrator, software provider and end user, the project was completed within three months.

(l-r) Kenneth Luguya (SVA), Cosmin Tomescu (SVA), Andrew Schonzeit (Idesco), Nick Agjmurati (SVA), Michael Troiani (Idesco), Isat Paljevic (SVA), Brian Nakahara (SVA) and Brian Simpson (Idesco).

Command Center, Registrar Capitalize
Migrating to a new security platform allowed SVA to implement significant changes in its infrastructure. The college’s security command center was revamped with new computers and screens that are used for continuous passive monitoring of all critical high-traffic areas on campus. The new system offers long-term digital archive capabilities that allow security staff to access historic footage quickly and efficiently. SVA also added new touchscreen workstations and all-in-one PCs at security stations, saving desk space and enabling officers to more easily interact with the surveillance and access control systems.

At SVA, the Registrar’s Office handles all student, faculty and staff ID card requests. The college also creates special IDs for outside vendors and for select SVA events for an added layer of security. “During the upgrade, we preserved the existing ID-issuing process and, over the course of our migration we were able to export all existing student, faculty and staff ID photos,” says Tomescu. “Our updated records are now synchronized across all
systems every hour, seven days a week.”

All ID templates were updated to reflect SVA’s latest branding standards, and were upgraded from one to three ID-printing stations, all of which use faster Fargo printers. Additionally, the school’s in-house developers created a custom Web portal for all academic departments, which allowed them to assign specific door access to students and faculty within their spaces. SVA’s portal integrates with both Active Directory SSO (single sign-on) and Colleague by Ellucian student information system.

SVA staff not only assisted with defining the scope of work, but also rolled up their sleeves and waded into the applications, conversions and integrations to transition to the exact system the school required. It proved to be a strong example of the value of the integrator-client relationship, yielding seamless transition for the end user.

“This project was unique and showed that a security system conversion can be a smooth process,” says Troiani. “The entire process was done without compromising physical security of people or assets.”

New Ground & Future Safety
This fall, SVA plans on opening a 150,000-square-foot, 14-story residence hall that will accommodate more than 500 students and feature a number of specialized facilities and amenities. Given the college’s recent security upgrade and revamped infrastructure, Idesco has helped ensure that the goal of keeping the building’s future residents, staff, operations and technology as safe as possible is much easier to achieve.

“Schools can now get the security system that they need at an affordable price point. The key is to define clearly what you want to achieve with your solution and discuss all options with your integrator,” says Schonzeit. “Always look at the bigger picture and anticipate future requirements, not only in terms of products but also for service and support.”

Idesco, SVA and braXos reinforced that teamwork is a crucial element to any successful security system upgrade. While most security dealers are familiar with the basic security risks at schools today, it is still imperative to find out everything about the school upfront – like the intricacies of an urban campus in this case – to make the best recommendations possible.

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Bio: Monique Merhige is the president of security industry PR firm Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising Inc.

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