IBM announced the creation of one of the world’s most advanced, integrated network video monitoring systems for Chicago’s Navy Pier. The project increases video security capabilities at Navy Pier and integrates new and existing safety resources to safeguard people and property.

In collaboration with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority – owner and operator of Navy Pier – IBM designed, built and implemented the project, which utilizes new high-resolution cameras with far- and wide- range viewing capabilities to add situational awareness throughout the Pier and operational assistance during an incident. At the heart of the solution is a state-of-the-art network of cameras from IBM business partner Axis Communications, and advanced Internet Protocol (IP)-based video recording and monitoring system called, Omnicast from business partner Genetec. The project is a result of a Port Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protect the Navy Pier complex, the top-visited leisure and tourist destination in the Midwest, which hosts more than 8 million guests per year. 

“We consider this to be one of the finest security command centers of its kind in the country,” said Juan Ochoa, Chief Executive Officer of MPEA., “IBM’s video monitoring system allows us to better serve and protect a facility that is both a vital economic engine for the City of Chicago and a beloved family destination.”

The first phase of the project integrates cameras, alarms, sensors, audio and analytics to protect the Pier’s visitors. The camera coverage extends visibility along the perimeter of the Pier and its entrance and departure points. Strategically placed emergency call buttons are integrated with the video system and when activated will stream video and audio content to the Pier’s new command center.

IBM’s Smart Surveillance Solution (SSS) technology developed by IBM Research allows video analytics to monitor the waterway and alert security personnel when unauthorized boats approach restricted areas. In addition to local monitoring from the Pier’s command center, the complete monitoring environment is also accessible by the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), the City’s 911 and incident management center – where IBM has already deployed one of the world’s most advanced city-wide intelligent security systems – and by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Marine Unit, the City’s first responders for water-related incidents. The video will stream continuously for live viewing by security professionals and will also be recorded and archived for post-event review and analysis.

Upon completion of the second phase of the project, Navy Pier will boast the greatest lakefront security coverage in the world. The design includes the use of high-end laser infrared with long range capabilities. The new cameras will extend coverage around landmark venues such as

McCormick Place
, one of the country’s premier convention centers and Soldier Field, the City’s historic football stadium, and through waterways and walkways, including miles of beaches and harbors. As with the first phase, coverage will be viewable at the OEMC and CPD Marine Units ensuring an integrated approach to tackling real-time threats.

Chicago is one of the first and most ambitious adopters of the smart city concept. As evidenced by this most recent project with Navy Pier, the City of Chicago is committed to infusing intelligence into its systems, processes and infrastructure to provide better quality of life for citizens and visitors,” said Roger Rehayem, principal of emerging technologies for IBM Global Technology Services. “IBM is proud of its continued partnership with the City of Chicago, as the City once again sets the standard for homeland security.”

“We are proud to be part of this important project,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications, Inc. “Partners like IBM appreciate our deep experience and broad product range as well as the high image and product quality of our network cameras.”

“Partnering with IBM and Axis to offer Navy Pier one of the world’s most cutting-edge intelligent solutions has a very positive experience,” said Stephan Kaiser, Director of Sales, USA at Genetec. “We’re glad to see the Navy Pier leverage Omnicast’s unique capabilities, including Federation, to link this new system with the system installed at Chicago’s OEMC – this ensures advanced monitoring and management as well as coordinated response.”

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, just East of Chicago’s downtown, Navy Pier® ( is the top-visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest, welcoming more than eight million visitors annually for entertainment, cultural and educational events and attractions, as well as business meetings and tradeshows. It has an economic impact of more than one billion dollars annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it is now one of the country’s unique recreation and exposition facilities, showcasing more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, shops, attractions, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exhibition facilities and more. Navy Pier is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (