An Olympic Feat

Vancouver's 2010 Games create unique geographical, timeline challenges

After the staggering success of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, you could argue that things have been changed forever. Beijing's Games featured an unprecedented amount of impressive construction, dazzling entertainment and hightech security. For years to come, Olympic venues and events will be compared to 2008, while the security industry will continue to reflect on the amazing feat that was last year's Games.

That's why, with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver looming on the horizon, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police decided to take advantage of Honeywell Building Solutions' experience with Olympic security to provide a perimeter intrusion detection system for 18 of the city's major venues.

Not Just Fun and Games

The Vancouver Olympic Winter Games will be held in February, followed by the Paralympic Winter Games in March. The Olympic Games include seven sports—such as bobsleigh, luge and skiing—with more than 80 countries participating. The Paralympic Games, a sport event for elite athletes with physical or visual disabilities, feature alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

The competitions draw thousands of athletes, as well as an overwhelming number of spectators. For weeks, Vancouver's population will swell as visitors navigate between the Games' competition venues and non-competition facilities, as well as the city's hotels, restaurants and retail centers. Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions, readily acknowledges that providing security in such a situation is an enormous task.

"The difficulty lies in the geographic scope, which entails securing 27 kilometers of event perimeter across a wide range of locations, including diverse landscapes, from mountain terrain to urban settings," Orzeske said. "It's not a one-size-fits-all, plug-and-play type of installation. The installation requires ensuring we have the have the appropriate infrastructure at each of the 18 locations to match with the various surroundings and environments."

As the Centennial Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Games proved, Olympic security is vital, regardless of the obstacles.

"A successful Olympic Games requires impeccable planning, state-of-the-art venues and a seamless flow between events without interruption—and security is paramount to helping meet these requirements," Orzeske said. "Top-notch security entails not only advanced technology and engineering, but also having the right management expertise and resources in place to deliver the system on time and ensure it operates smoothly, keeping venues safe and secure."

Learning From the Past

The Vancouver Games won't be the first time Honeywell has been tapped to secure Olympic venues. Last year in Beijing, the company provided intrusion detectors and surveillance cameras for several facilities, including the Bird's Nest, the main Olympic stadium.

For the Sydney 2000 Games, Honeywell supplied building automation, fire and security controls for several key infrastructure projects. Honeywell Digital Video Manager™ was installed at the Sydney Airport to supply video surveillance with full integration, and the company provided central station control to Airport Link, an underground rail network that joins the airport to Sydney's Central Station in Harbour City. The central control station controls and monitors the rail system's security, fire protection, ventilation, emergency warning, CCTV and lighting systems.

Honeywell also employed Excel Security Manager with intelligent camera functions for security, surveillance and access control at Stadium Australia, which, at the time of the Games, was the largest Olympic stadium ever built. Finally, the company used EBI at the Sydney SuperDome to improve monitoring and integration of access control, door and panic alarms, and CCTV cameras.

A Holistic Approach

Orzeske said Honeywell began staging and testing the Vancouver system in May, and the company will install the equipment as the various venues come online.

The system will include assessment and detection equipment mounted around the Olympic and Paralympic venues. When a potential disturbance is identified, alarms will activate to allow security personnel to respond quickly. Honeywell also will provide 24/7 service support to ensure the system is fully operational at all times throughout the Games.

Several new facilities are being built for the Games, including the Vancouver Olympic Centre, UBC Winter Sports Centre, Richmond Olympic Oval and Whistler Olympic Park. Afterward, the new arenas will continue to be used by the community. Other buildings used for the Games, such as the BC Place Stadium and Pacific Coliseum, are existing facilities.

Honeywell is even helping to stimulate the Vancouver economy by employing local contractors, which included more than 200 people at one point, in order to meet the tight deadlines and geographic challenges. After the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games in March, the company will disassemble and remove the system.

The company also will take steps to specify equipment and materials that can be reused for other projects, aligning with Vancouver's sustainability commitment for the 2010 Games.

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