Development continues on WTC security system

Law enforcement, fire dept. help with evolution of SAPS
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

WEST POINT, N.Y.—The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone without incident at the new World Trade Center site, but the development of the security system is a work in progress, Lou Barani, WTC security director told a crowd of more than 120 ASIS members and guests on Oct. 18.

Barani was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Mid-Hudson ASIS chapter, which took place at a rustic lodge on the campus of West Point Military Academy.

Called SAPS [Situational Awareness Platform Software], the WTC security system was developed by Vidsys and Quantum Secure and implemented by Diebold.

SAPS combines a PSIM and a PIAM [physical identity and access management] “into a single dashboard, a single system,” Barani said. It’s overseen by one individual in a site-wide command center. SAPS provides an overview of what’s going on across the entire WTC site, which will eventually include 11 different buildings.

The system detects trends that may suggest a threat to the site and provides guidance to a variety of operators in the event of an emergency. It’s a rules-based system that’s “scenario-driven,” Barani said. The team is continually developing and inputting rules for different scenarios—such as a fire, an active shooter or “a Mumbai-type event.”

Stakeholders such as the NYFD, NYPD and the Port Authority PD have access to the Command Center and have been actively involved in “looking at scenarios and telling us what they like,” so more rules can be developed and put into the system.

Because SAPS keeps an eye on myriad building systems (including HVAC, BMS, elevators) in addition to security and fire systems, the NYFD and others have taken an interest in how this type of a system can help officials understand what’s going on in a fire situation and fine-tune their response, he said.

“It’s a powerful tool … that’s made a big impression on [the security industry and law enforcement and life-safety stakeholders at WTC],” Barani said.

Initially, a lot of education of stakeholders was required. “We had to explain [to commercial building owners and tenants for example] that they would have complete authority over their own security, fire and building systems [even though they would be tied into the SAPS system].”

Some commercial entities not located on the site, but with offices in the neighborhood of the WTC, also have some limited visibility into the SAPS system. Barani described it as a “CNN-type view” of the site. This limited involvement has piqued some of the neighbors’ interest in how they might improve their security systems as well, he said.