City center in Allentown relies on Honeywell Security Solutions in downtown revitalization

City center in Allentown relies on Honeywell Security Solutions in downtown revitalization
Over the past two decades, Allentown, PA has been steadily recovering from an economic slowdown that began in the 1980s. Today, one of the most visible signs of Allentown’s revitalization is the City Center Lehigh Valley development. Encompassing a million square feet, with the new PPL Center arena at its core, City Center includes three Class A office towers, the Marriott Renaissance Allentown Hotel, upscale restaurant and retail facilities, loft-style office space and a co-working space called Velocity. 

However, it takes more than fancy new buildings to ensure a community feels secure.

The situation

This is where the concept of “connected buildings” has an opportunity to shine. The term refers to facilities designed to cater to tenants and visitors by integrating previously disparate subsystems to improve security and overall building efficiency. Not only do connected buildings make people feel safer and more comfortable, but the technology they incorporate is able to grow and expand in pace with development. 

“By integrating security with other building systems such as HVAC and fire alarms, City Center can more easily expand to accommodate more buildings and more tenants in the future,” said Judy Woosnam, President, City Center Management Company. 

In 2013, City Center hired Communication Systems (CSi), to design and implement a scalable security system. There were several buildings still under construction at that time, so CSi recommended an integrated and scalable security infrastructure with wide scale video surveillance, access control, visitor management system and an emergency communications network that would adapt easily to future expansion. 

The solution

The core of City Center’s security system is built on Honeywell technology. 

The command center in the development serves as security headquarters for the complex. It houses all data reporting platforms, where multiple safety and security systems are linked. There, Honeywell’s MAXPRO VMS video management system integrates video from multiple cameras and directs all feeds back to one user interface. AlliedBarton Security Services, the contractor hired to provide on-site security support, continuously monitors the surveillance network, patrols the facility and responds to security incidents. In the command center, operators can access each camera feed and can easily navigate between them using an online interface. Considering there are more than 200 cameras across the facility, ease of use is vital in ensuring immediate response to safety incidents. 

Honeywell’s Pro-Watch management suite simultaneously compiles and delivers access control data to the command center from more than 170 armed doors. The access control system reports unusual events at entry points -- such as a door left ajar or an unauthorized access attempt -- to the video system, which then automatically triggers a nearby camera to turn on and share a view of the live incident with the command center. 

CSi also installed an emergency notification system in parking garages and other key locations so individuals are able to quickly contact security headquarters using an intercom. When security dispatch receives a call, the camera closest to the caller automatically activates to give the operator a view of the scene nearby.

The benefits

Prior to this project, CSi had already installed wireless surveillance technology on city streets in Allentown. Since its initial installation, the wireless surveillance system has been expanded to include more than 150 cameras, and has helped the Allentown Police Department reduce crime by up to 45 percent. 

In order to reinforce security at City Center, the surveillance technology on site has been incorporated into that city-wide system, giving local law enforcement access to certain video feeds at select high-traffic areas across the development. Police officers can log in to their user interface to view stored and live video, and use real time information to respond to emergencies or to aid in potential investigations. 

“Giving the police department access to certain cameras helps ensure our visitors and residents are safe,” said Woosnam. “Incident response times can be dramatically improved if an officer can use a laptop in the squad car to view an incident as it unfolds.” 

The key to managing several security capabilities across City Center’s campus environment is making sure security systems work together. “We believe the integrated systems and emergency notification system significantly increase the security presence on site,” said Woosnam. “Similar to neighborhood watch programs, this system allows visitors and residents to feel safer in our community.”

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