Hospital secured for patients, employees and a robot

Williams Electronics provides access control for more than just humans
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ANGOLA, Ind.—In addition to configuring and installing hundreds of cameras and card readers, Williams Electronics techs had to figure out how to ensure that a robot could get on and off elevators and through doors at the new Parkview Regional Medical Center.

The tamper-resistant robot is used to securely deliver a variety of items—including pharmaceuticals and linens—all around the multi-building medical center.

“There were some cool challenges with it,” said Spencer Sterling, Williams Electronics’ director of sales who also oversees the technicians. “The robot had to work with the elevator and card access system in the elevator. The robot gets priority over everyone. … It’s got special access throughout the hospital.”

Williams recently finished the first phase of a major project at the new medical center.
 
“We’d worked with the customer for a long time, and they came to us to figure out how to expand the security system to accommodate a new facility,” Sterling said.

“They basically doubled the size of the current system,” he said. But it wasn’t a simple add-on.

The project involved consolidating two existing facilities into one location and an expansion beyond that. “The old part was a three-story building, and the addition made it a much larger footprint [adding two additional buildings], one that’s five stories and one that’s nine stories tall with a helipad on top of it,” Sterling explained.

In business since 1998, Williams Electronics was founded by Bill Kriete. Williams handles access control, fire, burg, voice data and fiber. Kriete died in December 2011. Donna Kriete, wife of Bill, is the president and owner. Matt Millard, their son-in-law, joined the company as COO in February 2012.

The company is headquartered here and has offices in Fort Wayne, Kokomo and Columbus. Sterling said the company had “three employees when I joined [in 2000] and we have 30 now.”

The company has “several IT guys and guys certified in fiber termination, which is handy when you have a large camera [project] and you have to do data hops between buildings,” Millard said.

The Parkview job included the installation of nearly 250 Pelco cameras, 34 emergency call stations, Aiphone video phones and a “really big access control system,” Millard said. “It is an extension of a Honeywell ProWatch system and it includes more than 500 doors.”

The biggest challenge was the elevator controls, Millard said. “We had to work with the customer to [ensure] that the access controls on different floors were integrated correctly with the different levels of access [different personnel have at different times],” he said.

Williams also had to integrate lockdown controls in certain locations in the medical center while “still giving access to everyone who needs access to the area.” Configuring these types of lockdown areas is something Williams is doing more frequently, not only with health care, but in education applications as well.

Williams also built a command center for monitoring video and intercoms, and managing lockdowns, emergency call stations and other alarms.

The Parkview project started in 2009 and the official opening of the medical center took place in March.

Five technicians worked “until 2 in the morning, triple-checking everything, making sure any last-minute changes were done correctly and that everything we had control of would work,” Millard said.

First thing in the morning, Millard went to the medical center to check in on his staff. “There were hundreds of contractors eating breakfast downstairs and I couldn’t find my guys,” he said. He found them in another room. It turns out they’d been invited to eat with the director of security and other executives from the hospital. “I knew they’d done something right for the customer,” he said.

Williams does hosted and managed access for many clients, but Parkview manages its own access control system. Williams has “almost weekly contact” with Parkview, however, because of service contracts and preventative maintenance on a variety of systems, and the project is not completed yet.

Since March, Parkview has added another multistory medical office building that will require 100 more readers.