Parking Secuirty

Fine-tuning Security

Parking facility caters to 24-hour traffic, addresses security concerns

Fine Airport Parking in Tulsa, Okla., is much more than just a parking facility.

Its 10 acres provide capacity for more than 2,000 indoor and outdoor parking spaces in four parking lots surrounding a five-story main building. For more than 25 years, it has been the safest and most secure way to park and reach the nearby international airport. It also provides an array of amenities, including valet parking, car wash and auto detail, and oil and lube. Parking officials really try to pamper their customers.

First-class Security

The pampering includes security, which features more than 130 network cameras from Axis Communication and Arecont Vision and an IP video management software system from Milestone, deploying the xProtect Enterprise. To make it all run, Fine Parking has four Dell 2950 servers and three NAS RAID-5 units with more than 30 TB of storage for around-the-clock recording. The infrastructure covers the main building and adjacent lots on a dedicated LAN, with a wireless setup for an economy-priced nearby covered parking structure.

Fine now has a future-proof network platform for all their business systems, which integrates their best-of-breed security solutions with their facility management, ticketing and customer accounts. The Milestone open platform integrates with LPR and other analytics, such as RFID readers on customers' cars. The clear images from megapixel cameras provide solid proof for damage claims, saving Fine thousands on the bottom line. The system's scalability and central administration with remote access will easily roll out to include new locations in other states as the business continues to expand.

"It's a work in progress since we started this business in 1983 with only 5 or 6 acres," said Mike Fine, president of Fine Airport Parking. "We look for new ways to serve and do more than what has been done in this industry to keep people happy. This airport handles about 3 million passengers a year, and our business has grown along with our service offerings."

Fine chooses only the best for running his business, from hiring the top detailer in the country to using the most advanced surveillance system to ensure safety and security for clients and their cars. According to the latest Tulsa police records, Fine is the safest place for airport parking. More than 130 security cameras constantly monitor the facility for any suspicious activity. The main garage is a well-lit facility to give comfort and confidence to both customers and drivers. Fine employees are on site 24/7. "People are willing to pay for safety, and not just for their cars," Fine said. "Women travelers especially have strong concerns when it comes to parking lots. It is all about comfort levels and personal safety, so the security is really priceless." Throughout the entire facility, implementation partner SecureNet has installed racks with PoE switches and UPS setups. If the power goes down in a storm, Fine does not lose their surveillance. All the lights are supported by back-up generators, as well.

Handling Liability Claims

Being able to see and document the quality and state of each car's finish is important—both for ensuring the best work possible for ultimate customer service and for handling claims. The car wash area has surveillance cameras installed from every angle, and the megapixel models show every detail in total clarity. Video with audio saves on claims and improves customer service.

"This system is great; it gives us the ability to keep everyone honest," Fine said. "People see their cars in a new light once they've been detailed—the refurbished finish can show a ding they did not notice before: 99 percent of most damage on the cars is pre-existing, and now we can show them with the video history."

In the past, Fine had paid up to $70,000 in damage claims because there was no proof. Now, the cameras provide clear and detailed video of each car's condition upon arrival and departure.

Likewise, employee behavior, service and response to customers can be managed better with the video as proof or as a training tool. This teaching aspect also is good for safety matters, improving procedures like reminding staff not to talk on cell phones or to wear seatbelts while parking cars.

"We are very customer oriented," said Scott Glanz, director of operations at Fine. "They are always in a hurry to make flights or get home; the last thing they want is to have to wait for their car. With the combined audio and video, we're able to know what's going on and how our people are handling the situations. I want to see what happened and resolve it."

Making the Most of the Technology

The surveillance software can send alerts. A train running between two of the outdoor parking areas presented potential access on its path from the street—a security challenge easily handled by SecureNet installing a camera on the train track gate between the lots. An alert is triggered by Milestone's XProtect Matrix when motion is detected, causing an image to pop up on the monitoring screens, alerting to a possible danger or a security breach.

The cameras by the shuttle bus stops monitor for issues such as slip and falls, dropped baggage or altercations. Cameras cover elevators, stairwells and lobbies. In the money-counting area, an AXIS 212 camera has 360-degree visibility to ensure there are no blind spots.

"Because we went with the IP approach, we were able to create a wireless network out there," Dunn said. "We also can add intercoms for any customers who may want to communicate with the main building. We can give Fine network connectivity for everything, not just the cameras, with the Milestone video triggered to record or send an alert on anything."

"It all integrates and rides on the network setup," Glanz said. "Part of the reason for us bringing in all of this new technology with Milestone and the network platform is to be able to centrally and remotely manage new parking facilities in other geographical locations."

SecureNet is the full-service partner for all of Fine's IT, network, facility and security system installations and repairs. Fine has a monthly maintenance schedule to keep the IT hardware and cameras in operation.

"Open platform is interoperable and future-proof," Ganz said. "Our old facility management system was proprietary. We were stuck with that vendor's equipment, and some of it was becoming defunct. Our new facility system, NetPark, is Linux based with plug-and-play functionality for readers and cash registers. It gives us the ability to integrate with the Milestone open platform, and we've got the product maintenance agreement that will always give us the latest upgrades and innovations to stay ahead of the competition."

"It's a night and day difference with the big monitors showing the Milestone live feeds, and how clear the camera images are," Ganz said. "Being able to tie in the video with our records system with the license plate recognition software to recognize each vehicle's movement and locations, tying each history to each record, lets us resolve any claims."

The Milestone LPR module writes out the data in an ASCII stream that is read by the NetPark software. When it sees the license data, it connects it to the entry or exit time and locates information in the ticket system that can be checked with the video for full documentation of events from every angle and in crisp visual detail.

Integrations Increase Efficiency

NetPark handles customers' information using their tickets. They can pay as they drive out the exits via credit cards at the ticket stamp or go into the lobby to pay cash. Fine is also able to track stolen cars or criminals, without having to physically search the entire facility and grounds.

"There's more analytics we're going to add in the future to alert to people speeding on the ramps," Dunn said. "Vidient, for example, can show if people are driving the wrong way, which is a serious safety issue. Milestone is the only security software platform that can combine multiple analytics from different vendors in one interface."

Sleek Technical Setup

The central server room designed by SecureNet is the ultimate in streamlined high-tech beauty. The sleek black and chrome rack stores the server hardware and is movable on soundless castor wheels. A special pull-out shelf houses a flip-up monitor for viewing the Milestone interface and administering the system, and slips neatly and discreetly back out of the way between uses.

The Milestone software is set to record video 24/7, so the system's storage needs are intense. Fine started out with 16 TB then added another 8 TB as more cameras were set up with five Poweredge 2950 Dell servers for the video processing and three NF600 NAS storage units, which are 8 TB RAID 5.

The Arecont 8180 cameras are megapixel models with 180-degree viewing. Even the remote parking lot can be seen in very fine clarity. AXIS 209 cameras provide 640x480 resolution. AXIS 212 models have the 1.3 megapixel image sensor but output VGA for digital pan-and-tilt capabilities. In the Milestone software, Fine can schedule the pan and tilt automatically, override it to look in a certain direction or zoom in digitally to see more details.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Security Today.

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