Securing A City Within A City

Enhanced security services are one of many amenities in NYC town

Chances are if you’re in the Big Apple, you’re aware of the massive presence of the 80-acre sprawling “City within a City” on the Lower East Side. With 110 residential towers, Peter Cooper Village Stuyvesant Town (PCVST) is truly the equivalent of a small city, housing more than 30,000 residents in some 11,250 one- to five-bedroom apartments. The campus features parks, athletic courts, a seasonal greenmarket, free music and countless other amenities.

Protecting this magnitude of sheer space, residents, visitors and employees is no easy feat. Rose Associates, the manager for PCVST, recognized this and selected Security Management Systems Inc. (SMS) to design-build a comprehensive enterprise solution, keeping in mind the complexity involved in the integration as well as post-project serviceability and management of the final product.

The ultimate solution includes a complete integration between subsystems that otherwise would be individual solutions. SMS deployed AMAG Access Control, Verint Nextiva surveillance, Commend VoIP, more than 1,100 interior and exterior cameras, and 960 access control points, including a partitioned database that functions seamlessly with SKIDATA gates to authorize residents with permission to use the facility’s six garages.

And to manage all of this, an intuitive user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) is behind a powerful around-the-clock command center.

Key Challenges Overcome

This project presented two challenges: power and lack of existing infrastructure. SMS solved both. A battery-based solution was determined to be unfeasible due to the limited amount of space in each of the buildings to accommodate the system; instead, SMS designed an innovative, low-voltage power and data grid to distribute power from 35 fused distribution panel locations. Every building houses a custom distribution frame where camera, lock and UPS power are terminated, powered by this lowvoltage grid.

Driven by Technology

The complex has five security technology hubs, each equipped with APC/UPS backup power, camera encoders, video servers, analytics and an aggregate of 360 terabytes of video storage distributed accordingly.

Anyone in technology can tell you: bandwidth is crucial when managing hundreds of cameras streaming across any network. Having on staff Cisco Certified Engineers, SMS distributed the solution across 56 3,750-catalyst switches with five 4,500 supervisor catalyst switches, enabling gigabit bandwidth at every edge switch.

The network provides resiliency and redundancy to every edge switch having dual uplinks and diverse paths to sustain a network failure and redirect using the fail-over link in case of an outage. The architecture is utilized across all major security hubs, having diverse fiber paths. Spare fiber strands are available for future upgrades and expansion.

High Security, Underground

PCVST has six tenant and visitor parking garages. A major challenge was to integrate the parking management system with AMAG Access Control to manage access for tenants and visitors while maintaining seamless system functionality. Tenants who subscribe to the parking services can gain access by scanning their ID cards through the HID Long Range Readers, which are positioned at the entry and exit points of each garage. The garage operator is provided with a workstation that allows him or her access to the tenant parking portion of the database with tenant information for validation and assistance in billing, while security has an overview of the entire solution on one integrated system.

A Commanding Security Center

As an integral part of the solution, the impressive new command center can be seen through a massive window in the management office lobby, providing every tenant and visitor assurance of the high level of commitment to security and safety. The command center brings situational awareness to the security officers who are deputized by the NYPD.

The fully custom-designed Winsted console is divided into three geographic areas, with all alarms automatically routed to the designated review workstation for their respective coverage while a fourth receives alarm events from the entire campus as a “catch-all,” providing a level of redundancy and ensuring every alarm is answered.

AMAG’s Symmetry graphical user interface enabled SMS to create customized maps of the PCVST campus, allowing security officers to view a section of the campus or drill down to view a select area or building. As the images are presented in the Symmetry system, security officers can decide how to respond via the graphical map interface, eliminating the need for officers to memorize the camera numbers or locations and improving response time. When an alarm occurs, associated cameras automatically begin recording the area at a higher frame rate. The camera view(s) automatically pop(s) up on the monitor, allowing security officers to view all of the cameras associated with the alarm event and make assessments based on the alarm.

“Nextiva analytics is deployed on many cameras for enhanced situational awareness onsite,” said William Eckard, director of enterprise sales and strategic accounts for Verint.

Real-Time Network Mo nito ring and Managed Services

Managing and maintaining thousands of security network nodes is certainly not an easy task. Having certified members across technology as well as physical security, SMS monitors and manages the Stuyvesant Town development at its Security Network Operations Center (SNOC) in Great Neck, N.Y. The system is designed to monitor the entire physical security network infrastructure, including but not limited to disk space utilization, CPU, network traffic, disk failures, system outages and network availability, as well as core application services such as AMAG and Verint.

The system tracks more than 20 different metrics across each machine to ensure everything is running smoothly. The end result is the highest level of system availability with the capability to detect, determine, and in many cases resolve service issues automatically before the client knows there’s an issue.

“This successful implementation could only be achieved by a few system integrators in the business,” said Matt Barnette, AMAG Technology senior vice president of sales and marketing. “This site is one of the more impressive installations I have seen and is an example of what can be accomplished when executed with precision.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Security Today.

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