Special Security System Fills Customs' Needs

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: HSPD12.FIPS 201.

“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 the room.

“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 and computers.”

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 indicator lights.

“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.

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