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Georgia airport replaces proprietary system with open solutions

Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia offers three daily commercial flights to and from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, along with general aviation. The airport contains three runways, two of which are used by commercial aircraft. The airport offers ground transportation, free parking, a Subway restaurant and many other services, such as hanger space and flight training, to name a few.

Previously, Valdosta Regional Airport operated a legacy access control system. The proprietary system, including the readers, panels and software, was outdated, making it difficult and expensive to obtain replacement parts. Looking for an open solution, Valdosta Regional Airport turned to Allcom Global Services for their expertise and upgraded to AMAG Technology’s Symmetry SR Retrofit Access Control system with HID readers.

“Symmetry integrates into various video, intrusion and building automation systems,” said Kevin Cioffi, the vice president of business development in the physical security division of Allcom Global Services. “By choosing an open system, Valdosta has more freedom to research competitive pricing and alternative options. We are thrilled they have chosen Allcom.”

“We gutted all the circuit boards and changed to Symmetry panels,” said Tim Register, the operations manager and airport security coordinator at Valdosta Regional Airport. “We kept the antennas and how the data was transmitted. All the mounts stayed the same; we just swapped in Symmetry, and it worked.”

The system controls access to the perimeter of the airport, including the vehicle access gates and all outside doors facing the Security Identification Display Area (SIDA). The SIDA includes all areas that have access to the commercial apron and tarmac. The SIDA also requires a reader with a PIN-plus-card swipe to open, which make up 75 percent of the airport’s readers.

The remaining Airport Operations Areas (AOA), which are mostly internal doors and the main entrance, requires only a proximity card swipe to open. Thirty-two new HID proximity card readers were installed in total. To get the open system the airport required, Valdosta Regional Airport replaced older panels. As the system changes and expands, integrating different technologies or adding more readers will be easy and cost efficient.

The security operators found the Symmetry solution much easier to learn and use, saving money and hours in training time. The simple job of creating a badge for a user was cumbersome and time consuming with their old system. Badges are now created on demand and onsite, with no hassle or extra charge.

“This Symmetry solution provided us a more economical approach to facilitate the same thing we used to do with a more expensive proprietary system,” Register said.

Airport authority employees, TSA, airline employees, fixed based operators, life flight helicopter and fixed wing aircraft are all protected by Symmetry. In addition to the perimeter, the solution controls access to all work areas within the airport and to the hangers located inside the perimeter fence.

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Kim Rahfaldt is Director of Media Relations at AMAG Technology, Inc., based in Torrance, Calif.

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