New State-of-Art Baseball Stadium Hits Homerun with Genetec Security Center

As the new home to the Charlotte Knights, a Triple-A minor-league baseball team, BB&T Ballpark is a state-of-the-art baseball facility located in Charlotte, North Carolina. With a price tag of USD $55 million, the new urban stadium has nearly sold out its 10,200-seat capacity during every game since opening its doors in April 2014. Stadium features such as its outfield opening to a stunning view of the city’s uptown skyline, its 975 club seats, and 22 luxury suites add to the appeal of this new city-center ballpark.

Before construction workers broke ground, BB&T Ballpark management reached out to veteran security consultant, Rick Sousa, president at Vertex Technology Consultants, to detail the specifications for the new security system. The stadium’s aim was to promote an open and airy feel where guests could move freely throughout the stadium, while keeping an eye on strategic locations and limiting access to more sensitive areas such as ballpark management offices, loading docks and cash handling rooms.

After the project went out to bid, Security101, a trusted and highly-knowledgeable security system integrator, delivered the winning proposal for Genetec Security Center. The unified security platform unifies Omnicast IP video surveillance, Synergis access control systems and AutoVu license plate recognition systems, with other third-party systems and plugins.

“Genetec Security Center is a very user-friendly solution that combines many systems within a single platform, and that was exactly what BB&T Ballpark needed,” explained Aaron Alexander, partner at Security 101. “The dedicated security experts at Security 101 worked closely BB&T Ballpark to deliver a reliable and cost-effective security solution, and we are proud to be a part of this iconic project in Charlotte.”

Intuitive and Unified Platform Provide Bird’s-Eye View of Stadium

To keep guests, VIPs, media and players safe on game day, BB&T Ballpark strategically installed 50 network cameras from Axis Communications inside and outside the stadium. Various doors within the facility have also been equipped with HID Global iClass readers and controllers, to secure access to ballpark personnel-only areas. All of these devices are viewed and managed within Security Center, through the Genetec Omnicast video surveillance system and Synergis access control system.

Bosch Intrusion Detection panels have also been unified within Security Center, providing BB&T Ballpark administrators with a global view of its security environment. Intrusion panel alarms and access-denied events are all synced with video from nearby cameras, so officers can quickly see what’s happening and respond.

“The system has been so easy to use and that was very important to us,” said Dan Rajkowski, chief operations officer at BB&T Ballpark. “We have the ability to quickly playback video, pull access control reports, activate and deactivate employee badges, and monitor any intrusion events; and it’s all right there in one intuitive application. We don’t have to juggle between different monitors— that has made our team very efficient.”

Omnicast Offers BB&T Ballpark Operators Eyes in the Sky

When the crowds draw in on game day to watch the Charlotte Knights in action, the local police department come into the stadium to handle active surveillance. Police officers monitor live video of seating areas, back of house areas, entry gates, sidewalks and all other entry/exit points, keeping threats at bay. They work from a centrally-located security control room which is equipped with two wall-mounted monitors, acting as a rotating video wall, and desktop monitors which allow them to investigate suspicions.

According to Mark McKinnon, director of operations at BB&T Ballpark, “In-tile PTZ functionality and instant playback features have been really great when we need to quickly see what happened. If it’s something we need to keep or use for a case, we can protect and export the video within seconds.”

So far, BB&T Ballpark has been able to use the video to identify instances of employee theft and disgruntled fans. In the latter case, video was used as evidence as to why the persons were escorted out of the stadium and banned from the ballpark altogether. Foul balls, scalpers and skateboarders that use rails and stairs are their playground are monitored closely as well. Operationally, the ballpark is also using the unified security platform to anticipate shipments coming into the loading docks, and to address any crowd bottleneck issues and long lines at ticketing booth or concessions stands.

“The video system has made our job so much easier by providing us with eyes in the sky,” said McKinnon. “We can quickly identify issues around the stadium and dispatch security officers or customer service personnel to intervene. We also make sure foul balls haven’t caused any injuries that might need immediate medical intervention. We are far more responsive, and that helps us ensure a positive guest experience.”

Synergis Access Control Keep Employees on Time

With the Synergis access control system, BB&T ballpark has been able to program cardholder groups and assign specific access control permissions according to an individual’s role at the stadium. This ensures only those with authority have access rights to critical areas such as the cash handling room. Door schedules can also be easily modified for game days, where certain areas are unlocked and manned to allow for easier facility access to media personnel and players.

While the control system has proven to be very helpful in securing more sensitive areas such as back-of-house and VIP entrances, Synergis has also proved to be useful for tracking employee attendance as well. Access control reports show what time employees swiped their badge to enter the facility, and the synced video proves if it was in fact the actual cardholder. From a human resource standpoint, BB&T Ballpark can identify if any time-clocking was handled by friends of employees, and potentially address the fraudulent behavior accordingly.

Considering BB&T Ballpark’s Future Needs

Security Center has exceeded BB&T ballpark’s expectations in terms of its intuitive functionalities, and the solution’s open architecture will allow for the seamless addition of more cameras and features as the stadium continues to identify more needs.

In a concluding statement, Rajkowski explained, “We needed to find the right balance between securing the building and protecting people, while allowing for a free flow of traffic through the building. With the help of Vertex Technology Consultants and Security 101, we have been able to achieve that objective using Genetec Security Center. We are very happy with the end result— that we are providing the best possible experience to our Charlotte Knights fans.”

Infrastructure at a Glance

Genetec Security Center is managing 50 Axis Communications network cameras, including models such as AXIS P3304V, AXIS P3384VE, and AXIS 26034E. HID Global iClass readers and controllers are installed on 10 doors throughout the facility. Bosch G Series control panels were chosen for intrusion detection and unified within Security Center. All video and data is sent back to a dedicated local server with 200GB for archives, and 1 TB of storage for back-ups. Video is recorded on motion and kept for a minimum of 30 days.


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