San Diego Implements NICE Solution to Security Critical Facilities

LAS VEGAS — In an effort to secure its water supply and centralize monitoring of 64 facilities, the city of San Diego Public Utilities Department has deployed the NICE Situator situation management solution and NiceVision Net video management system (VMS), NICE Systems announced Wednesday at ISC West. 

Situator is an open solution that fuses video data from NiceVision with incoming data from additional security systems. The combined system, which uses smart sensor correlation, video analytics and automatic adaptive workflows, provides a unified operating picture with an intuitive display of maps and images. 

The goal of the solution is to help organizations mitigate risks, according to Eric Hines, vice president of North America security for NICE Systems. 

“Once we know something is happening, we put things in place to sort of manage those,” he explained. “More importantly, we don’t want the ripples to continue to ripple on and on and on. It’s really about getting the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make better decisions about how they are conducting their businesses.” 

The solution will help San Diego’s Public Utilities Department safeguard the drinking water it provides to roughly 1.3 million residents. Additionally, the department manages the wastewater treatment and disposal services for the two million residents of San Diego County. In 2000, the city began securing its critical infrastructures, but as the project expanded, the city realized that it had several subsystems and sensors across many sites, which became difficult to manage. This prompted Tony Ruiz, security administrator for the Public Utilities Department, to research a more efficient way to handle security operations.

“I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the NICE solution by Cristine Wick [western region sales executive, NICE] and we took a look at it,” Ruiz explained. “I was offered the opportunity to speak with other end users and ask questions. We were very impressed, so we decided that NICE would be our preferred platform for public utilities and the city of San Diego.”

One aspect that caught Ruiz’s attention was that the solution allowed the department to manage security situations in real time. Situator also offers an integrated reporting tool that provides information for later investigation, debriefing and proof of compliance. The features proved beneficial for the department because prior to the solution’s deployment, Ruiz and his team had to review hours — sometimes days — of video footage after an incident occurred, such as someone damaging city property.

Another bonus of the system for Ruiz, who has worked for the department for 23 years, is that it reduces the amount of time spent on training his employees to operate and manage the security systems.

“Training individuals who worked all these subsystems would take six months,” Ruiz said. “With the new systems that we’re installing, training time is reduced to two days. Now, I can take a new person, sit them down, run them through the process and two days and then we’re up and running.”

Additionally, the Public Utilities Department has seen its false alarm rates drop since implementing Situator. In fact, according to Hines, the solution has helped companies globally to reduce as many as 20,000 false alarms per year to 1,200.

The Public Utilities Department plans to expand the system to more of its 250 sites, including additional sensor integration for future phases, according to Ruiz.

“The nice thing about NICE Systems is that we are able to take our legacy systems and integrate them,” he said. “New facilities are constantly coming online and we bring those up into the new technology. We can do it as budgets allow and as time allows.”

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