High-End Condos Shielded From Lowlifes

One big obstacle was interfering with residents in a West Palm Beach condominium complex from fully enjoying their upscale, waterfront lifestyle – adequate security. To set their minds at ease, access control and surveillance was combined for an integrated solution that can pull up video related to specific access with a mouse click. Gain insights for similar projects and see how some tricky installation challenges were overcome.

A breathtaking view and all the creature comforts one could hope for mean little if the base needs of safety are not properly attended to. That’s why the management of a luxurious condominium complex in swanky West Palm Beach, Fla., elected to provide residents with a sophisticated, new security solution worthy of the beachfront property’s host of other amenities.

Although the 15-story, 200-unit high-end condominium, which was erected in 2005 and also features 3,000 square feet of retail space, is situated in an exclusive area by the intra-coastal waterway, it is also within close proximity to some low income communities with high crime rates. A minimal existing security system was insufficient and, among other issues, the building’s garage entrances were open with no access control or camera coverage.

“There was a fob system for the first floor entry doors and exits, but nothing above the fifth floor was protected,” says Leesa Conley, vice president of the condominium’s board of directors and an interior design professional. “There were minimal cameras installed for security and no elevator protection. So we particularly needed control over the elevators, and camera surveillance in the stairways and elevators.”

TEM Systems, a Florida-based integrator with more than 50 years of experience, was brought on to replace the old equipment with a new fully integrated system incorporating video surveillance, access control and elevator control. The solution would help safeguard the facility’s common areas, exterior, interior stairwells, elevators, pool decks, and garage entry/exit points. However, the $120,000 project turned out not to be without its challenges, including cabling and conduit issues, and camera placement and environmental hindrances.

Integrator Does End-to-End Solutions

Established in 1957 as Cincinnati Time and later known as Time Equipment of Miami, TEM Systems Inc. is now 46 employees strong. Founder Dick Roether has passed control of the company he started to his children, Reneé McIntosh, president, and Scott Roether, vice president, who lead their father’s business in the 21st century. Another daughter, Jan Longo, oversees accounts payable and Sean McIntosh, the third generation, works out of TEM’s Sunrise, Fla., headquarters. In addition to that location, TEM has offices in Orlando, Tampa, Naples and Jupiter, and affiliates in Marietta, Ga., and Morganton, N.C.

TEM offers system design, installation, and service in the areas of gates, access control, CCTV and visitor management. The company operates a large fleet of fully equipped service vehicles staffed by factory trained and certified technicians. The firm has been “gating” communities since the 1970s, offering complete turnkey solutions. In fact, in 1999 the company branched out from being strictly an integrator to a supplier as well.

“TEM is the parent company of GateHouse visitor access management software, which we developed due to the lack of support by software vendors, and their lack of ability to integrate access control and gate systems with the software,” says Roether. “Being a systems integrator and manufacturer allows TEM to handle the system completely, both hardware and software, with no finger-pointing. The product is also offered to other dealers that would like to have a superior solution backed by a fellow integrator.”<p>This garage view shows where TEM Systems deployed license plate and overview cameras.</p>

TEM’s customer mix is 45% residential communities, 30% new construction, 22% commercial/industrial and 3% private residences. Some of the business’ more than 3,000 high profile clients include Amtrak, Dollar Thrifty Car Rental, Fox Broadcasting, Tampa Police Department, and numerous resorts and country clubs. Its breadth of clientele is a direct result of the company’s focus on delivering individualized service and customized solutions.

“The condominium market requires a lot of patience,” says TEM Systems Senior Systems Consultant Michael Probstein. “They take a long time to make a decision, and everybody on the board and many of the residents feel that they are experts in your type of business. We spend a lot of time working with property managers and property management companies. A good deal of our business comes from referrals and/or property managers with whom we have worked going to new properties and calling us again.”

To help formulate the RFP that TEM would wind up winning, the condominium’s decision makers toured another nearby building to observe and evaluate a similar solution in action. “After meeting with the customer at the building we made several suggestions to better meet their needs,” adds Probstein.

Access, Video Paired to Best Effect

The yearlong project required approximately 725 man-hours to complete. It entailed controlling more than four dozen access points with a Galaxy Control Systems solution and deploying 24 Samsung, Speco and Weldex box, corner mount, bullet and dome cameras recording onto Galaxy eight- (500GB) and 16-channel (1TB) DVRs.

“We used the Galaxy system for its robust capabilities, ease of use for the customer, and ability to integrate it with the DVR allowing the customer to pull up video related to an access event with a single click of the mouse,” says Probstein. “In addition, the Galaxy system comes with a two-year unconditional factory warranty that includes lightning coverage, which is a big selling point here in South Florida, the lightning capitol of the world.”

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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