Daytona Beach Int’l Implements State-of-the-Art Security Measures

Daytona Beach Int’l Implements State-of-the-Art Security Measures
Author: 
Ronnie Wendt
Published in: 
July-August
2024

Passengers tend to think of airport security as TSA checkpoints and police K9s, but much more goes into keeping the public and airport personnel safe. From increasingly sophisticated terminal cameras and access control technology to employee credentialing and thermal imaging, airport security systems leverage advanced technologies; and even the most innovative and cutting-edge systems eventually wear out or require major upgrades.

That’s exactly where Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) found itself a short time ago. Its existing security system hardware and software were nearing obsolescence with respect to software compatibility and upgradability, and several existing platforms and integrations were subject to instability within the next few years. But the Florida airport was not caught flat-footed. Recognizing the system’s natural lifespan, it had conducted a comprehensive evaluation and study three years ago. This research yielded a suite of recommended solutions for a new security and access control system.

One member of DAB’s security project team for the recent upgrade notes that the existing security system was operating fine, but the technology was aging and needed updates. “Anything we can do on the back end to enhance security and better address security threats adds more layers of security for the traveling public. Advances in technology make security better. With the upgrade, we will have better video streams, better bandwidth and faster security responses.”

facts&figures

Project: Comprehensive Security System Upgrade

Location: Daytona Beach Int’l Airport, in FL

Total Cost: $15 million+

Funding: $14.5 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Construction: May 2023 -July 2024 (est. finish)

Engineering/Consulting: Faith Group

Construction, Installation, Systems Integration: Birdi Systems Inc.

Facial Biometrics: Alcatraz AI Facial Biometrics

Physical Security Information Management: Qognify Situator

Physical Access-Controlled Security Management System: LenelS2 On Guard

Federated & Integrated Credentialing Systems: Birdi Systems Inc.

Smart-Key System: CyberLock CyberKey

Key Benefits: Enhanced security via new fully integrated end-to-end system with multiple components

Multi-Phase Approach

The airport used a multi-phase strategy to upgrade its security system, which involved implementing a new integrated work platform. Moreover, it used a design-bid procurement process to maximize the design for multi-platform integration while maintaining cost efficiencies and leveraging innovative design concepts.

“Integration was necessary at the software and network layers between multiple third-party systems,” says Moninder Birdi, president of Birdi Systems Inc., which handled construction, installation and systems integration for the project.

In May 2021, DAB held a meeting with Faith Group, an engineering and consulting firm, to review its security needs in detail. “Once we got through the design phase, we went through a funding phase and looked at what was available in grants and other funding,” Project Coordinator Lou Martino. “Then we put together a request for proposals and started making those designs come to life.”

The last phase resulted in a fully integrated system replacement, paid for in part with $14.5 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. The new security system includes an advanced access control system, biometric facial recognition cameras and video management, physical security information management, an ID management and credentialing system, perimeter intrusion detection enhancements, and a programmable smart key solution.

Updating the AOC

The project also moved and reconfigured the Airport Operations Center (AOC) and included various office space renovations, which enabled the airport to co-locate several key operational functions that were previously isolated.

The original AOC was very compartmentalized and located in a space that was not ideal for this type of facility, notes Martino. Because of the facility’s limited size, there wasn’t adequate room for large numbers of security personnel to work together in it when an event occurred.

Joshua Raver, airport security coordinator, explains that the airport previously operated Airport Control and an AOC in separate areas. When there was an emergency, everyone who needed to be involved couldn’t fit into either area. Messages were exchanged between the two centers using emergency radios and employees moving between the spaces.

The relocation and expansion allow for a more advanced design and collaborative work environment that can accommodate eight to 12 individuals. By eliminating certain hallways, Faith Group was able to gain an additional 900 square feet of space for new furniture, workstations and a separate conference room next to the AOC.

The facility was also fitted with low-profile access flooring, which raised the floor off the concrete but minimized the depth needed for cable raceways to maximize the center’s ceiling height.

“The new airport operations center is fitted with a state-of-the-art audio/visual system that provides visual displays of the complex integrated system for situational awareness,” Birdi says. “The A/V system integrates the displays in the AOC and the local conference room.”

The completed project allows both departments to operate from the new AOC. “So, when there’s an emergency, the AOC has direct communication with all control staff,” Raver says.

The enhanced security system also included civil and site work to move vehicle gates, modifications to the perimeter fence line, and installation of new camera poles.

“A big dollar component of the project was upgrading the infrastructure to manage all the new technology,” says Jason Wallace, senior IT program manager for Faith Group. “We installed new cabling and electrical out to camera poles, vehicle gates and pedestrian gates.”

Top-Tier Technology

According to Wallace, DAB’s new system will redefine airport security standards when it is completed and functioning in July.

“This project is a state-of-the-art security system model for airport security technology,” he asserts. “No other airport has all of these cutting-edge systems in place.”

Faith Group teamed up with the airport to define its needs and then worked to leverage innovative solutions, especially in biometrics. The artificial intelligence (AI) facial recognition system from Alcatraz AI Facial Biometrics is highlighted as the most cutting-edge component. The AI-powered facial recognition and authentication system uses machine learning to streamline use for airport employees.

“Before, we had bio-readers that read your eyes as you went through the door,” Martino says. “The new system scans your entire face instead of just the eyes.”

The facial biometric scans are faster, adds Wallace, noting that it would take several minutes for a group of four people to enter through the same door with iris scans. “You no longer have to align your eyes for a scan before the door is unlocked, and repeat that process if it didn’t work,” he says. “All you need to do is walk up to the door, and the system will scan your face, then allow you to enter.”

The project also added Qognify Situator, a modern physical security information management and situational awareness system that integrates multiple unconnected security applications, automates workflows and processes, and provides device control for airport staff. It links access control events to the video management system and promptly displays relevant camera footage on screen to enhance alert responses.

“Typically, you look at video, data and access control information separately,” Raver says. “The [physical security information management system] lets us integrate those things together. We now have a single dashboard that lets us see everything we need to see.”

The system improves camera views and bandwidth for higher resolution images that personnel view on an immersive video wall with three 85-inch displays that run 24/7. “We use the video wall to watch everything from camera feeds to access control logs, weather conditions and alerts and emergency service activations,” Raver explains. “The video analytics capabilities of the system will make things a lot more productive for video surveillance.”

Wallace highlights the project team’s collaboration with the Volusia County IT Department to satisfy security requirements and achieve video redundancy. Video footage is stored onsite and in a separate physical location to ensure continued access if one system fails.

The foundation for the entire system is the Physical Access-Controlled Security Management System by LenelS2 OnGuard. This system handles the authentication and authorization process for individuals entering or leaving secure areas. It also acts as an alerting and alarming function for unauthorized access attempts or security breaches.

In addition, the airport installed a CyberLock CyberKey system on infrequently used doors. This system uses high-tech smart keys to provide real-time control to these access points. The keys can be programmed to only work at certain times, have expiration dates, and are assigned to specific people for easy tracking.

“It’s a tremendous advantage to have programmable keys,” Raver reports. “Now, we don’t have to worry about changing the locks because someone lost a card key. If someone loses a key now, we can disable that key.”

Birdi Systems installed a Federated and Integrated Solution that automates ID management and streamlines credentialing.

Typically, airport workers take a security test in one system, but access another system to receive their credentials. “This system integrates the testing solution with the badging solution so that when badges are issued, we know testing has already occurred,” says Joanne Magley, DAB’s director of Marketing and Customer Experience. “These systems are not separate anymore.”

When employees quit or are terminated, the technology allows airport staff to promptly deactivate their badges.

The shift to a Federated and Integrated Solution prompted a few operational changes. The airport added an external portal to streamline and modernize the badge application process. It eliminates the need for paper and facilitates remote applications, but required a thorough training program, to help everyone prepare for badge appointments.

Outside the terminal, advanced security cameras were installed to continually scan the airfield, taking pictures at varying distances over set intervals. “They then piece it all together into one image that’s available for viewing,” Wallace says. “Operators can zoom in and see things as far as 300 meters away, which lets them conduct video surveillance in real time and review security incidents after the fact. If someone jumps the fence, for example, they can see it in real time as well as piece it together later.”

Testing and Training

A test lab designed and developed by Faith Group and Birdi proved to be an integral part of the project. It housed a fully functional and integrated security system, and was used to test individual units and end-to-end performance.

The entire system is scheduled to go online in July and will undergo an additional round of testing after 30 days in operation. During that time, on-site and remote training for system administrators and operators will be held.

“All users have different levels of access to the system, whether they be in the badging office, police officers or airport maintenance staff, and each must be trained appropriately,” Wallace emphasizes. “As with any airport project, there’s plenty of coordination getting things installed and operational.”

The result will be a sophisticated, integrated system that keeps passengers safe without them ever noticing it.

The added layer of security fits in with DAB’s efforts to deliver a positive passenger experience.

“In 2021, we did a $14 million major terminal renovation project that added new terrazzo flooring and carpet, let in more natural light, put in new ticket counters, and added a lot of amenities for passengers. Now we are doing a parking lot project,” Magley says. “All these projects combined keep our security and our customer service features state-of-the-art to provide a great experience for travelers.”

Subcategory: 
Security

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