Special Security System Fills Customs' Needs
- By Karen Evans
- Dec 01, 2012
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) has some stiff security requirements
at its field office in Miami. The agency
needed an access control system that accepted
the Inscription: HSPD12.FIPS 201 government
card system. The system needed the ability to
identify when and where there was a problem inside
the building and at what level the problem was in aggressive
behavior. There had to be multiple alarm
configurations and routings so that, in the event of
a problem, different alarms would sound for different
locations. Finally, any interruptions for service or
repair had to be keep to a minimum.
“Finding a system that can perform all that the
General Services Administration (GSA) asked for
was a challenge,” said Syed Kazim, president of Security
Technology Integrators. “Sielox LLC offered
an access control and building management system
and has teamed up with some of the best OEM partners
in the industry to bring solutions to the market.
We decided to use their products for this project.”
The progression of data transfer played a role in
the security integration.
“We live in a world where the backbone of everything
is the transfer of data,” said Steven Caruso,
technology coordinator on behalf of the GSA
project for CBP in Miami.
With critical U.S. security infrastructure needed
for many federal agency locations, STI recently installed
a Sielox system for CBP.
“This system had to accommodate multiple needs
for this field office,” Kazim said. “The system has
been in place now for nine months, and there has not
been one service call. There were more than 3,000
feet of network cable and computers with voice intercom
in this job.”
The network installed used an Ethernet-ready
Sielox 1700 controller along with input expansion
modules and Pinnacle software. Access control for
doors was a major part of the installation, including
subsystems, cameras, voice intercom, recording
system and alarms.
Special Government Requirements
The installation for the Miami CBP Field Office
included special requirements for Inscription:
“We could not provide cards to this project;
they had to get the cards from the government
directly,” Kazim said. “They were cards
that required a special card reader and a system
that was capable of reading these government-
issued cards. The system we used
was able to accommodate this requirement.”
Kazim’s crew installed the access control, alarm
system and voice intercom used for the investigation
room. They also put cameras and video recorders in
“When they bring a person into the room, everything
is captured by our network,” Kazim said. “We
did the entire network for them, including telephones
Caruso was pleased with the installation, saying
the equipment the integrators recommended is user
friendly and operates flawlessly, doing what the agency
wanted it to do.
“The people from Security Technology Integrators
were great to work with. They installed the equipment,
and now, over six months later, we haven’t had
a single problem,” Caruso said. “STI did an excellent
job of installing and instructing our group on how to
operate the equipment. The card reader swipe equipment
is great. They did an excellent job.”
Improving GSA Security
Kazim believes GSA security has been improved because
the system is all under one platform.
“Someone comes in the front door using his card
and his picture comes up on the system,” Kazim said.
“Someone at the gate can establish if that is the right
person or not. They have multiple alarm configurations
and routings, so if there is a problem, different
alarms sound for different locations.
“Also, in the corridors, we have red, yellow, green
and blue lights, along with white strobes. The different
colors are for the warning level of the problem. If
someone is being aggressive, it identifies the level of
the problem right away.
“The whole system is tied together,” Kazim said.
“We also used the system to secure the elevators,
which go up four floors. So the system is monitoring
the alarm, the elevators, access control and the
“The Sielox equipment has a small SD card on
the 1700 controller which holds back-up configuration
memory; it is one of the most important components
of the system,” Kazim added. “If anything goes
wrong with the equipment, we can replace a controller
and move the SD card from the bad controller to
the new controller, dramatically reducing downtime
and offering instant recover. This minimizes downtime
of the system, so the equipment is immediately
up and running again.
“This was one more advantage in this system.
Other systems don’t offer this. You would have to take
other systems down during repairs,” Kazim said.
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Security Today.