Democratizing Access

Democratizing Access

Dover International Speedway implements safety and security for NASCAR races and Firefly Music Festival

The Dover International Speedway’s high-banked, one-mile concrete oval race track is known as “The Monster Mile”. It hosts six thrilling NASCAR races a year at the complex that covers more than 800 square acres in Kent County, Delaware. In the summer, the speedway grounds are also home to the four-day Firefly Festival with more than 100 bands playing across six stages — the East Coast’s leading outdoor music event.

Jim Hosfelt, director of Public Safety and Track Operations at Dover International Speedway Inc., explained that with nearly 50,000 spectators on race days, and more than 70,000 attending the Firefly festival, the Speedway’s video surveillance system is a critical tool enabling their team to provide efficiency, safety and security for the complex.

PROACTIVE MANAGEMENT FOR SMOOTH OPERATIONS

“During non-event times, our Public Safety Office uses the system around the clock to monitor activity,” Hosfelt said. “We use our cameras as proactively as possible, looking for issues before they occur. I’ve always been a firm believer in having a solid video system, I’ve worked with Advantech for many years, and the system fits our needs very well.”

The team currently covers the Speedway with a mix of 25 Axis Communications IP network cameras, including PTZ and 360° multi-image panoramic models. They routinely use additional video feeds from smartphones and mobile devices pushed to the system via the Milestone XProtect mobile app. All video is monitored live then archived to a set of Milestone Husky NVRs.

“We have 360° cameras covering the entrance gates, so we have a full view of patrons coming in, going to their checkpoint, scanning tickets and monitoring traffic flow,” Hosfelt said. “There are so many people, we can actually see a wave of them coming in real time and decide if we need to open more gates. From just a resource deployment standpoint, the video system is very beneficial to make sure everyone is moving through as efficiently and safely as possible.”

THE MOBILE VIDEO ADVANTAGE: TOTAL OVERVIEW AND ALERTS

The XProtect Mobile client is a free app for all Milestone VMS. With the app, users securely view, play back and export video, listen to audio and speak through the camera using the Push-to-Talk button. They can also respond to integrated access control requests and receive push notifications from triggered alarms sent directly to their mobile devices. The XProtect Mobile app enables fast response to incidents by controlling outputs remotely and pushing live GPS-enabled video from a mobile device’s camera back to the XProtect system — from anywhere.

“Being able to walk around the entire complex with a device streaming video back and forth is a huge benefit for us,” Hosfelt said. “I spend much of my time in the Operations Center, but if I’m out in the field, or if I’m backstage meeting with the security group for the entertainers, I can still see what’s going on all around the speedway through my phone. It allows us to make timely and informed decisions.”

TEAMWORK IN JOINT OPERATIONS ACROSS LAW ENFORCEMENT, MEDICAL AND TRANSPORTATION

Ryan Kelly, PSP, Advantech, explained that a multi-monitor workstation has been set up at the Joint Operations Center where all camera feeds are constantly monitored live, as well as remote stations in Hosfelt’s and his assistant’s offices. On event days, the Joint Operations Center comprises people from all law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security, the Dover Police Department, the Delaware State Police, as well as medical teams and the Delaware Division of Transportation.

“For the day-to-day routine operations, we have three full-time people. If it’s a race weekend, our combined agency numbers swell to more than 800 people. During the music festival, our numbers grow to more than 1,200 people per day. This includes security, law enforcement, EMS, paramedics, doctors, nurses, all the partners that work the festival, and we consider them all part of our team here at the speedway.” The Joint Operation Center is designed to share video feeds with the Delaware Department of Transportation, other relevant agencies and partners.

“We can get access to local, surrounding DOT cameras to monitor traffic, and often the music festival managers may set up another, temporary video system as well. Thanks to the open platform Milestone VMS, we can bring all this together,” Kelly said. “So, with any cameras that we have, everyone can collaborate within our Joint Operations Center, helping to ensure we deliver an enjoyable and safe event for our fans.”

OPEN PLATFORM VIDEO INTEGRATION FOR BETTER RESPONSE AND ANALYSES

The open platform VMS supports more than 8,500 different security devices from more than 150 manufacturers. Technology partners provide network video cameras, NVRs, storage, access control, alarm and detection, video analytics, GPS, laser scanners and emergency call boxes. Systems integration shares the data between systems, devices and components for an efficient, unified solution.

“We had an incident during our last race where a spectator went into cardiac arrest. We were able to monitor the situation and respond optimally, as well as direct the emergency team directly to the location,” Hosfelt said. “Because of the size and slope of the stands, the live video was a huge benefit in getting the right people to the right spot as quickly as possible; much faster and more effectively than radio patrol trying to verbally communicate the situation.”

Additionally, the team reviews video information post-event as a way to evaluate performance and improve operations. Hosfelt said they look at everything from security improvements to marketing and sales, vendor and concession stand positioning, parking and crowd control. The system is used to monitor and evaluate the infield as well, ensuring the safety of speedway workers, vendors and drivers in their areas.

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE

“After a race or festival, the tens of thousands of people all want to get home, and we need to see how many people are waiting, and where, for transportation to different checkpoints,” Hosfelt said. “With the video system, we can monitor area capacity and see any over-crowded spots or bottlenecks, make real-time adjustments, and share the information with our neighboring businesses to transition to alternate plans.”

From the beginning, the team wanted to build on an open platform VMS to ensure that the system will always have the ability to upgrade, adjust, and expand as more events occur at the speedway grounds.

“Flexibility and reliability are our primary concerns,” Hosfelt said. “With events of the size and complexity we deal with, if a camera were to go down or if there were other system issues, we would have a big blind spot. The system we have performs at 100% at all times.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Security Today.

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