Video surveillance has been a common approach to stadium security during major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. In this post, we take a look at how surveillance security technology is being used to keep fans, players, and the general public safe during Super Bowl 51 in Houston.
Two key security technologies that we’ll focus on include the high-definition, networked video cameras featuring thermal radiography and noise monitoring technology and the Vidsys Converged Security Information Management software that provides advanced analytics to guide the human-directed security initiatives.
— Samantha Ptashkin (@SamanthaKPRC) February 3, 2017
Before we get into summarizing the details we uncovered through our research, here are two excellent videos that illustrate how the various surveillance technologies are being implemented in Houston.
The video in this tweet gives an excellent overview of the surveillance dashboard at the Emergency Command Center in Houston:
— Dylan Baddour (@DylanBaddour) February 3, 2017
This Houston ABC-13 TV news report gives a first-hand look at the various forms of sophisticated video surveillance technology in use around Houston during Super Bowl 51, including high-definition Axis Communications cameras equipped with thermal imaging sensors and noise sensors. Analytics powered by the Vidsys Converged Security Information Management system can alert security personnel to suspicious activity or even something like an unattended backpack.
The use of these advanced surveillance technologies help security personnel work proactively to investigate possible threats and stop problems before they turn into crime or, worse, a crisis. They also help to more efficiently deploy the human and animal resources providing physical security services on-the-ground.
Planning for and Coordinating Super Bowl Security
Security preparations for Super Bowl 51 began in 2013, not long after Houston was selected as this year’s host city, according to a December report by the Houston Chronicle.
The Houston Mayor’s Office, Houston Police, and five private providers were involved with the design of security plans and technology deployment for Super Bowl 51, according to the Houston Chronicle:
- Axis Communications cameras for the Discovery Green Super Bowl LIVE festivities (see below)
- Siklu Wireless Radios (see below for details)
- PrefTech: A Houston-based security technology installer and provider handled the installations
- Vidsys software runs the integration systems (see below)
- Verizon fiber optics and related network technology
The FBI is heavily involved in security preparations in Houston, offering subject matter expertise in intelligence and tactical operations:
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that “more than 40 agencies, along with some 4,000 private security personnel” are involved in security preparations and operations for Super Bowl 50. http://buzz.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/01/super-bowl-security-from-protests-to-prostitution-authorities-are-ready/
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will have a significant presence in Houston as part of the Super Bowl 51 activities.
Follow #ICEatSB51 on Twitter, Instagram and other social media for updates.
— ICE (@ICEgov) February 3, 2017
One of the main targets of ICE will be preventing, finding and stopping sales of counterfeit merchandise.
“Smart” Cameras Enable Advanced Monitoring
“Smart cameras” by Axis Communications along with software technology by Vidsys are the main surveillance technology being used to secure NRG Stadium in Houston for Super Bowl 51.
This KHOU television news report provides a great look at the security cameras in use around Houston for Super Bowl security. As previously noted, these cameras include thermal sensor capabilities and can also identify suspicious noises.
If the sensors and analytics algorithms identify suspicious activity, a security manager in the command center can grab a screenshot of the scene, including people involved, and immediately email or text that image to a security officer on the ground in the area to follow up. The images can be used to create “be on the lookout for” alerts, as well.
Smart cameras are surveillance video cameras integrated with software that can, for lack of a better word, “read” the images to identify the presence of unusual or unexpected objects or behavior. The security system technology then alerts security personnel who can review and investigate further, as appropriate.
Axis Communications cameras are in use during the 10-day Super Bowl LIVE festivities in the 12-acre Discovery Green park area in downtown Houston from January 27 – February 5, 2017.
Axis is proud to have been chosen to protect Discovery Green during the Super Bowl LIVE event. Our video and audio technologies will be on site and ready to keep attendees safe. For fans, Super Bowl LIVE will be filled with excitement and fun. For public safety personnel, the security requirements are complex, including monitoring large crowds and a need for temporary deployments. Axis’ IP-based video, thermal, and audio products are designed specifically for unique and challenging security situations like these.
Fredrik Nilsson, vice president, Americas, Axis Communications, Inc., January 25, 2017 Press Release
— Axis North America (@Axis_NA) February 4, 2017
Some of the Axis Communications cameras and related technology being deployed in Houston include:
- Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) dome network cameras equipped with laser focus along with Axis’ Lightfinder and Wide Dynamic Range technologies to show more image details in challenging light conditions;
- Discreet Axis dome network cameras;
- Thermal network cameras equipped with Eagle-i Edge™, an advanced video analytics solution from Jemez Technology, designed for real-time threat detection and tracking;
- Axis network horn speakers will also be installed to offer the ability to remotely address people and deter unwanted activity; and
- Axis’ Zipstream technology, which helps reduce network bandwidth and storage requirements.
In addition to the Axis cameras and analytics technologies, the Discovery Green area is protected by advanced audio security technology:
- Intelligent sound detection equipment by Louroe Electronics™, a global leader in the audio security industry. This technology will interface with other security devices.
- 60 GHz V-Band Radios by Siklu Communication, the global market leader in millimeter-wave wireless solutions. These radios are not subject to Wi-Fi interference and, thus, are able to provide a reliable wireless connection even with heavy congestion in the city during the event.
Dennis Storemski, Director of the City Houston’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, had this to say about surveillance technology in use in the Discovery Green area:
“Keeping the public safe during an event of this size, requires close coordination between agencies and real-time information sharing. The Axis network surveillance equipment will help us closely monitor crowds, have visibility into more areas at once, deploy personnel strategically and respond appropriately as needed.”
Video Analytics for Smart Cameras
Vidsys is the Washington, D.C. area company that has developed a software platform that provides “Converged Security Information Management.” Vidsys CEO James Chong describes the system as enabling “an interactive collaborative dashboard between agencies.”
— vidsys (@vidsys) February 1, 2017
Specifically, the Vidsys platform:
Collects, analyzes, verifies, resolves and tracks information from multiple, disparate subsystems using open architecture standards to help mitigate and manage threats and risks. The software works directly with special response groups and connects command and control center communications and video footage, enabling authorized users from any location to view and manage situations in real-time.
Security command centers are found in three locations:
- City of Houston Emergency Operations Center
- George R. Brown Convention Center
- NRG Stadium
In addition to advanced surveillance technology throughout the area, fans attending Super Bowl 51 in Houston can expect the usual range of physical security screenings before entering the stadium:
- Metal detectors
- Security pat downs
- No bookbags, briefcases, coolers or large purses allowed
Alabama’s Proactive Security Systems Provider
Vulcan Security Systems is Alabama’s proactive security systems provider and management consultant. We specialize in IP video security systems and remote monitoring technology for Alabama businesses. We’re locally-owned and headquartered in Birmingham. If you’re in Alabama, contact us for a free needs assessment:
References for this Behind-the-Scenes Look at Super Bowl Security Include: