Integrated solutions secure widespread venues more effectively, allowing operators to respond to problems in a timely fashion.
Large venues encourage wide-open access. While openness is good for foot traffic, it can affect safety and security measures. Solutions for large venues must be spread out for effective site coverage.
Integration is a challenge, compounded by multiple stakeholders at some venues. Other factors include the facility's size and whether the shops and restaurants are owned by the building operator or leased as franchises, said Stuart Gilbert, Security Sales Leader for EMEA and India, Honeywell Building Solutions. "Anything from full integration to stand-alone systems is found across the globe — there is no consistency."
Convergence offers real benefits, but the added cost makes it difficult to apply across all installations. "IP makes life easier on-site, especially on a new build, but less so on a retrofit," Gilbert said. "It really comes into its own when a hall needs to move and change to reflect the different size and scope of events." An integrated solution makes securing widespread venues more manage able. They converge video surveillance, access control and supervision systems, said Amartya De, Consultant for Aerospace and Defense, Frost & Sullivan. The systems monitor areas open to the general public and control access to technical areas.
Multiple systems are used throughout exhibition halls, including building and fire systems. "Numerous security systems are in use at our exhibition grounds to ensure that exhibitors and visitors can be alerted and protected in the event of an emergency," said Uwe Behm, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt. "In particular, these include fire alarm systems, smoke extraction systems, public-address systems, sprinkler systems and an emergency power supply."
Some solutions put multiple systems on one interface to monitor security, safety, communication and building automation systems, said Dave Jansen, Business Development Manager of Bosch Security Systems. The Bosch Web-based control point includes alarm management, fast alarm localization via location maps and follow-up procedures.
A unified platform enables a more specific response. "Prevention and detection technologies are obviously paramount," said Sheilagh Hannah, Business Development and Marketing Director for ADT Fire & Security. There are more biometrics, IP surveillance, public address, very early smoke detection apparatus, chemical and fire detectors being integrated for added efficiency and control.
Proprietary systems may limit integration compared to open ones. "Open IP systems allow for easy integration with third-party software solutions," said Terence Lee, Director Product Management for Asia Pacific, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. "There are also integration possibilities with fully functional, single interfaces for video surveillance, access control and HVAC."
Energy efficiency is a growing concern for building systems. Solar panels can be installed on rooftops, while lighting systems are becoming more dynamic to cater to each booth, Lee said.
Monitoring is the most pressing need for large venues. Security personnel and surveillance form the bulk of security spending, De said.
Video can help security operators monitor exhibition halls efficiently, enabling the security staff to keep tabs on all halls, meeting rooms and other areas, Lee said. "All activities and events should be recorded in vivid detail to provide the necessary footage whenever the need arises."
Surveillance provides an eyewitness account, which is crucial for postevent analysis. "Large venues — especially football stadiums and similar sporting venues — bring about an emotional response in certain clients," said Ian Crosby, Senior Product Marketing Manager of CCTV for EMEA, Bosch Security Systems. "This can often lead to sporadic outbreaks of violence and other forms of anti-social behavior. In these situations, the surveillance system really does need to work overtime. During these periods, the venue becomes an incredibly demanding environment, requiring rugged, robust equipment that can survive, quite literally, fireworks, bricks and bullets."
A timely response to video requires efficient transmission. "The ability to deliver high-quality images, whatever the weather or lighting conditions, quickly to the central control room is a must," Crosby said. "High-quality video enables the security management team to see what is happening at any point in the venue and gives them the information to take the appropriate action quickly."
IP video provides increased flexibility. "On-site information can be gathered from remote sites where temporary surveillance cameras have been deployed in exceptional exhibition requirements, enabling rapid redeployment as required," Hannah said. "The reverse is also true, meaning IP gives the ability to situate the control room from a remote location, perhaps even for disaster recovery purposes."
Managing access at events is less about identifying individuals and more about filtering unauthorized threats. However, some applications incorporate identity as well as authorization. "A technology that is becoming quite pervasive is RFID tags, which allow RFID readers throughout the event area to locate any individual at any given time," De said.
Longer wireless ranges help organizers locate guests. "UHF technologies are now available for visitor tracking for health and safety," said Charles Balcomb, MD of Databac. "Not only can event badges be issued that enable entry to the venue and visibly display the identity of the wearer, they can also be deployed to track the location of the delegates while attending the event using long-range RF waves."
RFID tags in smart cards offer more functionality than printed badges. Exhibition visitors receive their badges over the counter, which streamlines visitor management, said Cyrille Volentier, Area Sales Manager for Evolis. The company's solution offers different levels of security for each badge.
However, most events do not require detailed guest information on badges. "For the moment, barcode still rules as the ID technology of choice for large events," Balcomb said. "Being cheap to produce and easy to print, and with barcode readers a lot more economical than their RF counterparts, it will likely remain the most popular choice for some time yet."
Other identification methods are seeing increased uptake. Biometric hand readers provide a high level of security and enable a keyless operation. "Our integrated security system is very suitable for large exhibition venues in that it manages the access of the people, and provide intrusion detection and surveillance monitoring," Lee said.
Networking is a desirable trait for access management. "IP enables data to be housed on a secure server and accessed remotely for visitor and exhibitor registration," Balcomb said.
IP access control also enables cross-system integration and extends its usefulness. "First, printers can be networked to any IP-based infrastructure and, therefore, benefit from multiple network services, including management services, that such an infrastructure can offer," Volentier said. "And from an application standpoint, printers can also be easily connected to various applications used for access control or customer relationship management purposes."
Public-address systems must deliver clear sound throughout exhibition halls. Barix offers a generic background music and paging solution suited for exhibition venues, said Johannes Rietschel, founder and CEO of Barix.
IP-based solutions are readily available, using established standards, Rietschel said. However, proprietary systems such as Cobranet and Ethersound are still in use, which typically require dedicated wiring and are not easily routable over a common network infrastructure.
While IP is rare, its benefits will result in greater uptake. "IP-based systems will eventually take over as they can prove similar features to the proprietary systems such as consistent low latency and easy configuration and grouping," Rietschel said. "Those developing IP-based solutions can build up on available platforms and standards, making the development simpler and the long-term maintenance of a solution for both the manufacturer and customer more transparent and cost-effective."
Some exhibition halls already deploy IP. "Our building control technology is operated via our own IT network, and we have a series of computer-aided solutions which ensure that we can react quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency," Behm said.
The Frankfurt showground includes a central microphone for the public-address system, so announcements can be saved and played back digitally. "Our emergency response plans are supported by a number of technical facilities, in particular the public-address system and computer-supported phone alarm system," Behm said. "Another important component, however, is the ongoing training of our external security service providers for proper emergency response."
Stadiums, exhibition halls and performance venues can get packed during events, but remain unoccupied most of the time. This makes expensive equipment impractical due to infrequent use. Invasive access control measures can also slow through put, putting a dent in attendance. As a result, large venues emphasize proven solutions over the latest technology.
Security solutions must demonstrate a clear ROI. "Cutting-edge technology is seldom, if ever, asked for; as event halls can lay vacant for long periods of time, cost is always a major influencer," Gilbert said. "ROI is key."
The seasonal nature of events makes permanent security expenditures hard to justify. "The most unique challenge for events is once they have been concluded, most of the security apparatus at practically all the venues has to be dismantled and potentially reallocated to other venues," De said. "Most of the time, applications such as fire detection and screening equipment remain long after the games have ended, and hence long-term ROI becomes a critical concern."
The functionality of technologies must be evident along with its price and performance. "It is difficult to see where specific security technologies other than video surveillance fit into the day-to-day operational requirements of large venues," De said. "Technologies such as X-ray detection systems and biometric identifiers restrict the flow of people attending large events and are generally seen as more of a ‘hindrance than help.'"
More security solutions are modularized, due to the temporary nature of certain events. End users want a complete turnkey approach, De said. The future lies in taking technologies which are normally fixed and turning them into portable security solutions.
Large events bring people together for personal interaction, and exhibition halls and stadiums attract visitors for an unmatched live experience. Better monitoring, true integration and trained personnel enable event organizers to unite more people in a safe fashion.