Bigger is Getting Better
SMG/The Moscone Center undertaking complete security renovation
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2018
There are a handful of amazing things that set San
Francisco apart from other world class cities. Notably,
there is the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island,
Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown; the Twin Peaks
overlooking the city, San Francisco Bay, and yes: The
Just how does a convention center fit into the list of places to see
in beautiful San Francisco? It is the largest convention and exhibition
complex in San Francisco. It includes three main halls spread out
across three blocks and 87 acres in the South of Market neighborhood.
The convention center originally opened in 1981 and has gone
through several renovations. It is currently upgrading its security system
to reflect a best-of-breed, state-of-the-art solution.
Securing the Facility
Security at the SMG/Moscone Center is handled similar to the security
at a Tier 1 airport; however, clients who use the facility are required
to provide their own inside security. When the doors are open to the
public it plays host to people who want to come in and look around.
“We are responsible for facility security inside and on the perimeter
outside. This is considered a soft target, so we do everything possible
to harden the security,” said Damion Ellis, director of security
at the SMG/Moscone Center. “The time is right for us to take out
the old security system, including the old analog camera system. Our
new security system will provide analytics, and the ability to look at
the images in real time.”
Like any major metropolitan area, there are issues that have to
be dealt with that aren’t pleasant and keeping track of the homeless
population and what they are doing is one such issue.
“We are able to place the new IP cameras in places where the
homeless population congregates on the outside, in dark corners of
the facility,” Ellis said.
The Moscone Center complex consists of three main halls. Moscone
South is located to the south of Howard Street and is three stories tall.
It opened in 2017, replacing the original Moscone Center building that
opened in 1981. A Keith Haring sculpture stands outside the hall at
the corner of 5th and Howard streets. Moscone North is located to the
north of Howard Street, and Moscone West is a three-level exhibition
hall located across 4th Street from Moscone North.
“One of the most compelling reasons Moscone deployed CompleteView
video platform was the integration with Honeywell’s
ProWatch access control platform, as well as newly designed multisensor
cameras,” Salient’s regional sales manager in the Bay Area,
Cindy Doyle said. “The ease of use and intuitive software allowed
the guard staff to use maps in the system to identify where triggered
events took place for guard dispatch.”
Monitoring Door Alarms
Prowatch is currently being used to monitor door alarms throughout
the property and triggering video call-up and/or alarm video event
when there is a forced or held open door.
In order to keep track of outside foot traffic and provide interior
and exterior security, an analytics option was foremost on everyone’s
mind, and integrator Microbiz Security Co., dove in with an initial
site survey to determine the best course of action. Microbiz has partnered
with the SMG/Moscone Center for several years.
“Our goal was to take a look at what it would take to secure the
facility, but to do it properly,” said Todd Chritton, president of Microbiz
“The integrator had some suggestions in terms of offering better
security coverage in some areas,” Microbiz Security vice president of
operations Marco Escobar said. “What they knew was three buildings
needed to update from its current 2002 technology, and upgrade
to 2018 technology. It also was beneficial to the integrator having
worked on site for several years and also having worked with Ellis
during his tenure with the Hilton Hotel chain.
“We’ve been a long-time vendor at the convention center, and we
offer a pride of installation as well as using the best of the best security
solutions. We began by updating current cameras to Arecont Vision
multi-sensor and multi-megapixel IP cameras and Salient Systems’
CompleteView VMS, Dell integrated server with RAID6 configuration
and CompleteView Enterprise software. The VMS is a fully open
architecture, enabling convention center security staff to seamlessly leverage
existing technology investments and minimize disruption.”
A Real Suite Deal
“The Salient software runs the entire security suite,” Doyle said.
“The software is able to talk to all the various solutions, and it is easy
on the security operations staff, even with little tech experience or
knowledge. It also includes mapping features, which allow the operations
team to follow all movements in real time.”
The Microbiz staff have a great track record for supporting the
end user, and “we will always do what it takes to make the installation
right,” Escobar said. “The staff at the SMG/Moscone Center quickly
latched on to the new solution. It is simple for the end user to become
familiar with. So far, it’s been a breeze.”
In a city where the landmarks are truly world class, the SMG/
Moscone Center stacks up quite nicely. Security concerns have been
upgraded over the years. The original convention center opened in
1981 on the site that is now known as Moscone South. The exhibition
hall was placed underground to minimize the controversial convention
center’s visible footprint. Expansions of Moscone North and Moscone
West took place in 1992 and 2003, which added 600,000 square feet
of space to the original 300,000 square feet of exhibit space. In 2012
a two-year renovation project was completed, and now a $551 million
expansion is underway, including a demolished Moscone South, to be
replaced by a more spacious structure.
The updated security solutions will also enhance
the renovated SMG/Moscone Center as
tradeshows, conventions and tourists continue to
find the space attractive.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Security Today.