Managing Ever Changing Security Needs

Suite of solutions has cancer institute on cutting edge of security

The urban campus of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston is representative of many modern metropolitan healthcare institutions today, with a main campus in a busy city center that takes advantage of every available square inch. New buildings replace existing structures, existing facilities are reconfigured, and as the institutions continue to grow, their footprints expand into surrounding suburbs in an effort to serve the growing patient and research needs.

Internationally renowned for its unique blend of clinical and research operations to provide state of the art cancer care—the institute supports more than 300,000 patient visits annually and is involved in some 700 clinical trials—the only constant for Dana-Farber is change.

When the institute undertook its most significant expansion project to date, the design and construction of its new 14-story Yawkey Center for Patient Care, the project included demolition of two existing buildings and a street-level parking lot at its Boston headquarters. Dramatically expanding the institute’s clinical care space, the Yawkey Center features more than 100 exam rooms, 150 infusion spaces and 20 consultation rooms.

During the three-year construction, security and facilities management staff had to evaluate the impact of the new facility on the current and multi-location infrastructure. Not only did the Yawkey Center add an additional 275,000 square feet of clinical and support space to the institute’s overall footprint, but security plans for the center included the addition of nearly 200 IP cameras that had to be seamlessly and efficiently married with Dana-Farber’s significant investment in its current CCTV surveillance equipment.

With 23 existing Intellex DVRs from American Dynamics and nearly 300 analog cameras already deployed throughout the facilities, the Dana-Farber security staff was searching for a solution that would allow dispatchers in the security command center to have a single interface through which they could view live and recorded feeds from both analog and IP cameras.

“Running two separate systems for analog and IP video was just not an option for us to deploy into our security monitoring operations,” said Ralph Nerette, the institute’s security manager. “The solution we chose had to be seamless for our dispatchers to be trained on and successfully use, regardless of whether video is coming from the DVR or NVR environment.”

A Strategy for Growth

Complicating this search were some additional responsibilities that Nerette’s security staff was about to assume. As part of an overall renovation and upgrade project, central dispatch functions for facilities maintenance, housekeeping and environmental health and safety were about to become part of security operations. The Facilities Security Operation Center (FSOC) would manage Dana-Farber’s two million square feet of clinical, research and administrative space and a call volume that sometimes exceeded 1,000 calls per day, requiring significantly more infrastructure than the then-current 120-square-foot security command center could handle.

“We needed much more functional space and the ability to segment equipment, reduce noise and allow our dispatchers to focus on customers and provide the level of service required of a security operation of this size,” Nerette said.

With such a large, functioning network of Intellex DVRs, Nerette and his staff worked with systems integrators Tesla Systems of Georgetown, Mass., and Team AVS of Westford, Mass., to find a VMS solution that would allow the DVRs to be used in tandem with the new IP-based cameras and NVRs. They also would need to function as a platform for the future as the institute eventually migrates to a fully IP-based solution.

Using the new victor unified video client and VideoEdge NVR from American Dynamics, all IP and Intellex DVRs’ analog video streams from Dana-Farber’s 500 cameras are seamlessly integrated into victor’s single system and user interface. Instead of toggling between different applications on their monitors, dispatchers can be concerned with only the content of the video and fulfilling their regular duties of ensuring the safety and security of the hospital facilities and not what recording technology the video is being generated from.

“This approach allowed the institute to extend the life of our existing Intellexes,” Nerette said. “Rather than rip and replace, we were able to focus our new investments on state-of-the-art IP technology as part of the Yawkey expansion. This let us strategically add IP cameras in additional key areas and save money.”

The 200 new IP cameras from the Yawkey Center and a handful of other camera clusters, such as a small, 22-IPcamera deployment in one of the more sensitive research areas, are recorded on four VideoEdge NVRs from American Dynamics, with two NVRs for fail-over to ensure no interruptions in operation. On average, Dana-Farber will be storing 30 days of video per camera on the institute’s 70 TB of external iSCSI storage.

With dispatchers checking some 60 camera views at any given time, those unified operations are crucial to the workflow of the command center, according to Robert O’Rourke, an account executive at Tesla Systems.

“One of the unique challenges of this project was to integrate the analog and IP video technologies to make them function seamlessly together,” O’Rourke said. “The command center has two 42-inch monitors and 14 other 20-inch screens, with video coming in from five remote locations, so there was a lot of complexity.”

Another requirement of the system was the ability to easily share video with other users within Dana-Farber while safeguarding unauthorized views and exports of the footage.

With victor’s embedded policy management functions, Nerette is able to grant secure access to other users of the CCTV system—outside the security and facilities maintenance divisions— to view video from specific live feeds or recorded video from other areas of the facility from designated cameras only. These groups also cannot export any video as part of the victor policy management deployment.

Security staff in the institute’s command center will soon have even one less standalone system to monitor. With an upgrade to Software House’s C•CURE 9000 security monitoring platform planned for sometime next year, Dana-Farber will be able to use victor’s upcoming 2012 release as a single unified event and security management platform to integrate the card access functions, as well as fire and other building management functions, according to Team AVS President Geva Barash.

Undertaking the deployment of a new command center has accomplished two major goals. Not only has it provided the institute with a custom-designed clinical facility to further its mission of excellence in cancer care and research, but it also has furnished an infrastructure on which to base security and facilities operations for the future.

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

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • The Power of a Layered Approach to Safety

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown. Read Now

  • How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

    Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.” Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3