Houston Intercontinental Airport Integrates Emergency Phones into its Security Network
Security integrators need to create a solid link between a product and its end user. The strength of such links can be the difference between success and failure, and most importantly, future business.
Officials at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston wanted to upgrade and integrate their security systems into one cohesive force. Talk-A-Phone Co. was chosen to supply nearly 400 emergency call boxes for the airport. They were to be installed in five major parking structures on the north side of the facility. These new units needed to work cohesively with the infrastructure already in place at the airport.
Houston officials chose Preferred Technologies to install and integrate the phone units with the rest of the airport’s security network. The company’s Nancy Bryant was Project Manager for the installation and integration. She had the following to say about it:
“This project was a huge security upgrade for the city of Houston. The project wasn’t just the installation of new phones. It was cameras, phones and access control … a combination of all security products.”
The most complex aspect of the project was integrating the airport’s new installations with existing access control, camera and emergency phone systems. Security at IAH encompasses many people and departments.
Preferred Technologies had to make sure that the airport monitoring center, technical teams, public safety department and security engineers were able to work together using their specific systems. After all the units were installed in the airport security systems, Bryant explained how everything worked together:
“The emergency phones work with the access control systems by triggering an alarm when the emergency button on the phones is pushed. This activation causes the airport cameras to fix on that location and start recording. The airport monitoring center is notified of the location and can respond accordingly. There is a second information button that can be used if you have a stranded vehicle or need a jump. … That signal goes to the parking facility personnel.”
For security integrators, it’s always a relief to discover that a product works well with previously installed equipment. The emergency call boxes provided solutions that made her job easier, she said:
“I like the fact that we can integrate it. … I like the relays on the phone, so in the event that a button gets pushed, we can force that relay to do something else. We can integrate with a security system and alert a monitoring center that an action has occurred at that call box.”
Ultimately, the decision is with the end user as to which products will be installed, and sometimes this creates more difficulty for the security integrator. Preferred Technologies wanted a product for the airport that would be beneficial from both a technical and installation standpoint. Vice President of Sales Grady Jett, elaborated on this point:
“From a sales perspective, the product sells itself. On this job, it was hard-spec’d, so working as a team, we’ve done a good job ensuring that the solution stays with the airport. I am a firm believer that people these days like to touch, feel, and try the things they purchase. When a customer sees a product work the way it’s suppose to work, it makes it very easy to sell the product. It makes it easy for the customer to purchase the product as well. From a sales perspective, having a pre-assembled complete system is advantageous and makes our job easier.”
Preferred Technologies also is required to maintain the call boxes for the duration of their warranty. The units were progressively installed at the airport starting in 2007 and are designed to be easily maintained. When the call boxes warranty expires, the responsibility for unit maintenance falls to the airport.
Alek Kireyenka, Marketing Manager for Talk-A-Phone Co., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.