In Commercial Facilities, It’s Balance That Counts
Who would have figured? Howard Long, Michael Yormark and Bram Bottfield, who have security and life safety responsibility for their commercial properties, share a philosophy – security technology is there but not the top business issue.
It’s instead the business, keeping it operating, making customers and employees safe and responding to the changing and growing needs of the enterprise.
Howard Long, senior director of Café Properties for Hard Rock Café, has more than 15 years experience in the architectural and construction field. Now he has portfolio-level responsibility over the Hard Rock estate, encompassing all new café construction as well as café facilities matters including fire, life safety and security.
While the number of commercial operations is small – 68 cafes – as compared some others, the profile is high and the geographic scope is broad, stretching from London and the United States to Australia.
WORLDWIDE COVERAGE“My ultimate goal is to manage our risk profile at a worldwide estate level,” Long told Security Magazine and others at a special seminar at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla.
Among Long’s challenges:
- How to provide security solutions across borders.
- Concerning video monitoring, should it be a deterrent or an archive?
- What standard to use for life safety – fire sprinklers, fire suppression, fire extinguishers and fire alarms?
The attraction was also in the details. “For example, we needed to repair a restaurant stove hood system in Berlin and I could handle that through my U.S.-based systems integrator,” said Long. Bigger challenges loomed for him. Fires in the London flagship Café and in the San Juan facility meant revenue losses. It could have provided a tricky situation in which – in different countries, with different requirements and cultures – Long had to act as quickly as possible to get the facilities up and running again.
His long term solution has been a master agreement with ADT Security Systems to cover the Hard Rock Café’s global operations.
AN INTEGRATED APPROACH“Security, fire alarm and fire suppression standards were established that apply to all locations that, in some cases, exceed local requirements,” said Long. “This is our decision, not the local general manager’s decision.”
When it comes to retail loss prevention, shrink is a challenge since the Cafés have stores that sell numerous goods to customers. He said there is primarily monitoring through a point-of-sale system.
For Michael Yormark and Bram Bottfield, the mission was more fine-focused on a single facility – the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
But it is some commercial facility. It’s the 11th most popular sports and entertainment venue in the United States, anchored by a hockey franchise – the Florida Panthers – but continuing to branch out to frequent urban and Latin entertainment acts. “We are also next door to Sawgrass Mills, one of the country’s largest shopping malls,” said Yormark, chief operating officer of BankAtlantic Center, operated by Sunrise Sports & Entertainment.
“We have the building but we also have security of it as well as a strong infrastructure,” said Yormark. “I believe that a business benefit for us is to have a safe and secure environment. Our goal is to always make security part of our life.” And his director of security, Bram Bottfield, agrees.
Bottfield said that, when he came on board, his first job was to formalize an enterprise security program.
SETTING TECHNOLOGY GOALSHe sets a number of goals including moving from VCRs to digital video recorders “with plenty of memory. I also moved access control from where it was to higher and more specific levels of access and identification. The bottom line is that we continue to operate no matter what happened,” said Bottfield.
While shying for specifics, Yormark and Bottfield said they have more than 100 cameras in and around the building, with some covertly placed. Some can follow and track guests, employees or delivery people. They use metal detectors, depending on the event or at the request of a performer’s representatives.
BankAtlantic Center is in the midst of another upgrade to add more cameras, some wireless, as well as the potential to use biometrics including face recognition, hand or fingerprint. “Security never has an end, it is always evolving and improving,” added Bottfield. Part of the upgrade, through a potential Homeland Security grant, will better link the local police into the Center’s security systems.
“My job is to provide protection in a non-aggressive and non-intrusive way,” concluded Bottfield.
For both the Hard Rock Cafés and the BankAtlantic Center, the future of technology centers on convergence.
John Koch, president of ADT North America, revealed his convergence plan recently at a media event attended by Security Magazine.
In a scenario in which IT enables physical security, said Koch, IT becomes an influencer, driver or co-owner of physical security systems in commercial operations. “Traditional security executives must engage with IT, which is often a counter-culture,” he said.
And when there is convergence of physical and logical security, there is the potential in which the chief security officer truly owns all the security territory, with the chief information officer becoming a solutions architect. The ADT executive plotted what he sees as the evolution of mainstream video technology. From analog tape systems and then disk-based digital recorders, the industry is moving to network-attached security storage devices and then to encoders or standard IT transmission and storage and then to an IP server environment for end-to-end IT based systems.
SIDEBAR: Restaurant Gains from Remote Monitoring“The Arteco intelligent video system gave us a new proactive tool in loss prevention with room to grow as our security needs change with new locations. Being able to access and see video events remotely have been a huge advantage in managing a busy restaurant,” said Brad Beracha, owner, Miso on Meramec.
His commercial facility is an award-winning 4,000 square foot multi-level sushi and pan-Asian fusion tapas restaurant and popular hot-spot in the heart of downtown Clayton (St. Louis), Mo. The primary security concern is the safety of customers and employees. Management was also looking to help solve business problems such as inventory tracking and monitoring employee/customer activity remotely when away from the location.
- Patron and employee safety and related liability for the establishment
- Manager’s office trespassing and theft.
- Potential break-in through rear entrance.
- Perimeter concerns of loitering in parking and behind building near rear entrance.
- Very difficult to track inventory in stockroom with high potential for theft of food and liquor.
- Ability to access the restaurant cameras remotely to monitor employee and customer activity.
- Violated area applications detect entry in restricted areas in real-time and logs as security event.
- Virtual trip-wire detects loitering vehicle near rear entrance and logs as security event.
- Violated area time-stamps video clips of all employee inventory transactions.
- Seamless remote setup gives management 100 percent access to live and recorded video around the clock.
SIDEBAR: Is Higher Level Vehicle Search Next Step?Event venues, commercial buildings and corporate headquarters are evaluating the need to upgrade the ways they search cars and trucks. And there are emerging systems to help.
For example, the new Zistos Vehicle Search System facilitates a thorough search of vehicles and cargo at perimeter access control points, detecting and deterring potential threats in a safe and expedient manner. The entire system fits in one compact case and includes the WalkAbout, a body-worn video display in its rugged, weather-resistant housing and other modular tools necessary for inspection.
These tools permit one security officer to safely search a passenger or commercial vehicle entering a secure area without climbing or kneeling. The system’s modularity enables the user to quickly change from a pole camera configuration to view the top of vehicles and the depths of cargo areas to a rolling trolley camera for inspecting a vehicle’s undercarriage and then to a small handheld camera for looking under seats, dash and around the engine compartment. Such devices maximize the effectiveness of the security officers helping to maintain high throughput at a checkpoint.
SIDEBAR: Getting the Police ConnectedBeyond deterrence and on-local identification, security video in commercial facilities can lead to arrests and convictions – sometimes. So the industry is turning to improved video forensics to aid law enforcement with the images captured with private security systems.
For instance, Salient Stills has VFSource, which handles video import, screen capture, analog capture and conversion system, and is designed to allow law enforcement and other users to quickly and easily capture surveillance and security video for immediate use and forensics. The system captures video from a wide variety of analog and digital sources, for investigative use, sharing with other agents in the field, and further processing and forensics in a crime lab.
It digitizes analog video and digital video from open and proprietary systems, and easily converts video to popular formats for viewing by other investigators and agents. As crime scene and surveillance video becomes a more common source of evidence, VFSource preserves video integrity, enabling further video forensics and allowing video to be used in prosecutions.