ISC West Live 2017
Terminal Upgrade

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Terminal Upgrade

JFK Airport improves functionality and image quality

Terminal One at JFK International Airport had relied on a limited analog surveillance system and a separate, older IP system that were independent of each other. Both were inadequate and lacked the functionality that Terminal One needed. Users could only view video from specific workstations, it was difficult to replace or add cameras, and the system did not integrate easily with other systems.

Migrating the terminal’s old analog system to an advanced IP VMS platform was no small feat. Due to the airport’s high-security environment, the system and all of its cameras had to remain operational around the clock throughout the migration.

To design and implement a new solution, security integrator Media Wire, LLC, designed and implemented a Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS system to manage 500 to 600 cameras, including the installation of 160 new cameras from Axis Communications. The Milestone Mobile client is used by air terminal managers to view video on their mobile devices. The VMS can be integrated with Honeywell’s Pro-Watch access control system so all alarms and door information can be accessed from one centralized system. Additionally, the advanced VMS integrates with the video from the NVRs used by the terminal’s restaurants and vendors, enabling broader coverage of the terminal.

Necessary Upgrades

The VMS provides a significant upgrade to the terminal’s analog system and greatly enhanced the ability to monitor and efficiently respond to incidents. The system’s search capabilities help operators to quickly find and identify camera views, for example by grouped areas such as Gate 10. It provides users with the flexibility to view any of the nearly 600 cameras from any workstation throughout the airport, or from their mobile devices when on-the-go.

Greater video coverage means the terminal can be protected against a range of threats, including security breaches, aggressive actions, or injury and liability issues. With many agencies requiring access to the system, from the FBI to building maintenance, the terminal’s new system is more user friendly, making it much easier for operators to manage.

JFK International Airport has been at the forefront of aviation since its first commercial flight in 1948. Located 12 miles southeast of Lower Manhattan, the airport has expanded to include six airline terminals operated by the Port Authority of New York. Terminal One opened in 1998 and includes 11 gates and two hardstands controlled by its own ramp control tower, which is equipped with state-of-theart radio communications, weather information and gate video cameras. It is one of two terminals at JFK that has the capability to handle the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380 aircraft.

Migrating an Aroundthe- Clock System

The biggest challenge of migrating JFK’s Terminal One analog system to IP was keeping all cameras operational throughout the transition. To do so, technicians took each live camera and connected it to an additional working system. In the process, video from the camera was recorded by both systems. Once the camera was migrated and ported to the VMS, the camera was then decommissioned from the analog system.

Migrating Terminal One’s system required upgrades to ensure a solid solution from the ground up. New high-speed fiber optics, switches, PoE injectors, software, workstations and operating systems were installed. The terminal has close to one Petabyte of storage due to both security requirements and powerful analytics from Agent Vi that are used on recorded video, and to search across cameras. Much of the management structure is built on existing Dell servers, but all new servers are being custom built with close support from Milestone engineering.

Since the migration involved multiple VMS clients managing video from cameras throughout the terminal, technicians set up a multicasting network to reduce bandwidth. It allows multiple users to view the same video stream without taxing the server, which was lacking with the old analog system.

An extensive 10 Gig fiber network was installed to support the bandwidth needed for current and future cameras. All cameras provide video at the maximum resolutions and frame rates.

Open Platform Meets Tough Demands

The Milestone VMS was selected in large part due to its easy integration with nearly any third-party system. In Terminal One the VMS had to support older analog systems and cameras via encoders, also supporting a variety of IP cameras, integrating with access control and the NVRs used by vendors. The result has been a system that provides JFK Terminal One with greater access to video and advanced capabilities, including viewing video on mobile devices.

“The versatility of the system is great and it’s so easy to use,” said the head of security for Terminal One Management (name omitted for security reasons). “From a security standpoint, we can capture what we need on a daily basis and it gives us great visibility into areas we never had before.”

The system is scalable and can accommodate additional or new cameras at any time. Terminal One’s new Axis cameras easily integrate with the Milestone system and require less bandwidth that will allow the security team to meet the airport’s lengthy storage requirements. Axis provides a wide range of cameras for many applications, which even address the areas where lighting was a concern, like near windows or in stairwells. When a legacy camera fails or no longer meets the needs of the terminal, it will be replaced with an Axis IP network camera.

Robust, Easy-to-Use System

Terminal One’s system provides broader coverage and features that make it easier to automatically monitor possible security concerns, such as an item left unattended. It also allows the security team to watch for suspicious people, monitor situations and investigate after the fact. Users now have shortcuts and keyboard assignments to easily change views or create camera setback positions. Through integration with the access control system, the display will also automatically show all alarms and doors being accessed.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.

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