More Comfortable Operations
Retrofit brings a sharper image to command center
- By Randy Smith
- May 01, 2015
Throughout the world, security and
screening for explosives is a vital service
for numerous types of businesses and
organizations—from package transport
to government agencies and to financial
institutions. MSA Security specializes in high consequence
threat protection and specialized training for
corporate and government organizations from locations
in New York, Massachusetts and California.
Made up of security professionals with diverse
backgrounds in law enforcement, elite military units
and the private sector, MSA Security provides explosive
detection, consulting, training and perimeter security
services to minimize vulnerabilities to threats
and lessen risks in order to protect personnel and
property of companies around the world.
Confronting Subject Matter
One of the company’s proprietary tools is a system
called SmartTech that allows frontline X-ray security
guards to consult with subject matter experts (SMEs)
about questionable package contents quickly and
without causing disruption.
“If a guard isn’t quite sure about the contents of a
package in an X-ray screening machine, they can hit a
button and upload the images to our command center
where we have military SMEs, IED experts and bomb
technician experts to evaluate the contents,” said Kevin
Comerford, vice president of business development
for MSA Security. “Our staff then provides an opinion
and further direction to help avoid any unnecessary
building evacuation or a panic situation.”
The command center where security staff uploads
questionable images is at the company’s New York
offices and operates 24/7. Here, about 25 different
SMEs communicate with security staff monitoring
more than 450 SmartTech devices at varying locations
around the world.
“The SMEs review test packages and live containers
that are usually found in high volume mail rooms
or corporate lobbies and help assess the packages
without disrupting business to determine whether or
not there is a real threat,” said Comerford.
As the SmartTech technology continued to evolve,
the command center needed an upgrade to keep pace.
Using the existing space, MSA Security retrofitted the
entire command center with new workstations, monitors
and consoles to create a more ergonomic, functional,
spacious and appealing command center.
“Our command center is a showpiece for potential
customers and we wanted to give it a whole new
look,” Comerford said. “So we invested in new furniture,
desks, credenzas and upgraded the lighting for
an entirely new retrofit of the room.”
Finding the look was easy for Comerford and his
team, but finding the right furniture to fit in the space
proved to be challenging. Using the existing space provided
limitations in terms of size, shape and dimensions.
“The shape of the furniture needed to fit the capacity
of the equipment and technology, and provide
enough working room for the SMEs in terms of ergonomics,”
Comerford said. “Because it’s a 24/7 room,
we needed to make sure it was designed properly so
the operators were comfortable at their workstations.”
Getting Some Help
To achieve these goals, MSA Security enlisted the help
of Winsted Corp., a Minneapolis-based manufacturer
of consoles and control room furniture. Together, they
determined the best console solution that provided an
answer to the existing spatial challenges, and offered an
environment for comfortable, efficient operations.
“We created a CAD drawing of the room, so we
determined the amount of equipment that had to
be installed, how many operators would be in the
room, the distance between the operators and the
monitors, and then also the ease of installation,”
Comerford said. “Winsted was very helpful in terms
of the room design and helping the entire retrofit
MSA Securities selected the Insight product line
of consoles that feature a high-density profile and an
overall depth that saves space and maximizes functionality.
After an overnight installation process, the
MSA Security command center staff took hold of
their new space without missing a beat.
“We couldn’t have any downtime, so we did the
install through the night and were fully operational
the next morning,” Comerford said. “The technicians
were very familiar with Winsted furniture, so the installation
was a very smooth process.”
With the new retrofit in place and fully operational,
plans for upgrading a second facility is in the works.
Dispatchers for emergency service calls directed to
MSA Systems Integration in New Jersey, the parent
company of MSA Security, will soon have an entirely
new, upgraded service center to match the caliber of
the explosives monitoring command center.
“As well as serving a vital function for our clients,
our command center is a showpiece for our clients
and new business, which is why a retrofit was so important,”
Comerford said. “Our command center has
a rich, professional look with consoles that are comfortable
and functional for our operations.
That was what we needed
and working with Winsted helped
us achieve those goals.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Security Today.