Mike McMullen, the security operations manager at the Port of Long Beach, talks to Activu about the brand new joint command and control center that changed into implemented in January 2009. Mr. McMullen was recruited to assist define and broaden the new middle. The 28,000 rectangular foot facility, which houses 10 million dollars worth of excessive-tech system system, is chartered with preserving the Port of Long Beach relaxed.
Could you start by means of presenting an overview approximately the Joint Command and Control Center on the Port of Long Beach?
The development of the brand new Joint Command and Control Center on the Port of Long Beach became a development undertaking that spanned over 5 years. We officially broke ground in 2007 and the brand new constructing became turned over to us in Oct 2008. The safety division moved in rapidly after that during January 2009. So we have not been right here quite a 12 months but. Our facility is a thirty million greenback shape complete of high-tech safety structures which continues near watch at the Port. The constructing price twenty million greenbacks and we have invested approximately ten million within the structures that live in the building, that does not include all of the sensors which might be in and around the Port. The twenty-eight thousand rectangular foot structure is 3 testimonies high with a heliport on top. All of our enterprise operations reside at the third floor with more than one businesses dwelling within the building together with the Coast Guard, Customs and Boarder Protection, Harbor Patrol, L.A. And Long Beach police departments and Marine Exchange. Our Harbor Department performs all the digicam upkeep inside the area, whilst it’s required. We additionally have a very sophisticated commercial dive team with our very own fifty foot boat and 6 complete time divers on group of workers. These men are diving in and across the Port each day. So from a day-to-day operational viewpoint, it’s far a dynamic building with a whole lot of moving elements.
Can you without difficulty combine new software program programs into the visualization answer?
Of direction, we don’t have any trouble integrating new software packages into the existing system. When we in the beginning installed the visualization solution, everyone concept it turned into just going to be for the wall inside the command center. From our standpoint, that was by no means the goal. We intended to share statistics within the overall scope of this building. There are 11 regions in this constructing in which we have the capability to view and proportion content on a display, on an LCD display screen, a video wall or an overhead projector. When we designed the gadget, we made sure that any digital signal, whether it be radar, sonar, video, amber signals / port facts signs and symptoms, or TV stations, had the potential to be digitized and shared everywhere within the constructing. So while we got here up with the solution that turned into the scope of labor. As we’ve progressed and started to add additional sources, integration into our existing visualization and collaboration answer has usually been a line object to make certain that we will positioned that on the new system, at the grid as well.
Are your cameras IP video cameras?
They grow to be IP cameras. We encode and decode at the rims. So we are an NR solution. We currently placed our cameras over a 650Mb non-public wi-fi community and we’re in the technique of laying thirty-5 miles of fiber. As we get to the camera locations, we are placing the ones cameras on our fiber so we’ve got a redundant video feed. But presently, we take an analog camera, positioned an encoder at the give up and digitize it. On the opposite side, it sends it down the wireless network and while it comes into our manage middle we send it thru an encoder to make it analog once more after which pipe it into our servers.
Is the visualization system streaming the videos?
The manner we have deployed the gadget is that Verint is incorporated into the overall visualization answer. We have middleware software so operators do not ought to discover ways to characteristic the Verint gadget. It’s important to recognise that we’ve got 9 structures presently going for walks, we’ve bought fourteen, and there are another four at the drafting board. So we have eighteen middle systems coming in right here. We didn’t need to have to teach all of the officials the way to use all eighteen structures so we bought a middleware package to address all the digicam machine. With our visualization and collaboration software, we mirror all of the systems in their local shape to the grid in order that we can skip all of the exceptional GUI’s from an administrative perspective. If executives want to peer a number of cameras, they could just bring digital camera feed up at the video wall, allow it populate, and I can share it in any of the twelve locations at some stage in the building. So the visualization answer is the portal that lets in us to do this. It’s an educational device.
I imagine a whole lot of what is at the wall is video feed?
No, we have quite a few exceptional content that we’re posting to the wall in addition to our digicam feed. For example, we’re pulling and pushing content material to the wall from an access manage system that handles our badge and our alarm tracking. We also have a military software program bundle that tracks vessels at some stage in the port. We have VTS that is the authentic vessel tracking machine for the port which comes from the Marine Exchange. We have three excessive-cease video surveillance systems, an internet portal wherein we share our video feeds with our tenants and that they proportion their cameras with us, and we additionally produce other things that move on the wall like our port statistics signs and symptoms at the dual carriageway, an A.M. Radio with a GUI to see what’s being broadcast. There’s a mess of applications and we integrate they all into the visualization solution so it doesn’t rely if you’re within the govt convention room, in the branch operations center or in a break room on the second one floor. If you have got a want to peer any of that facts, you may.
What is the dimensions of your wall inside the primary command middle?
We have twelve fifty inch Mitsubishi cubes deployed within the command middle. So it’s a big wall.
What other organizations occupy the gap within your building?
We have “stakeholders” that are tenants and partners within the constructing. Our partners include regulatory corporations like the Coast Guard, Customs and Boarder Protection, Marine Exchange, Port of Los Angelas Police, Long Beach Police, and Intelligence Officers. We additionally have tenants. They’re the people that do business inside the port, the SSA Marines, the whole terminals with the aid of BP, they’ve land right here. We are a landlord port so maximum of our huge tenants are Coast Guard regulated; they have their very own security plan, their personal security pressure. The Port and Harbor Patrol, with all of the sensor structures, offers a safety net, an umbrella, to help the general port.
Can you provide me an instance of the way you’ve got improved conversation, collaboration, and situational focus with the new visualization answer?
On the third ground, we’ve a stunning executive convention room that sits about twenty-five human beings. In that room, we’ve got video conferencing competencies thru the visualization gadget. The video conferencing capabilities links to our branch operations center that is on the 2nd floor and can be used externally or within the constructing. What that lets in us to do is to offer the coverage decision makers a room in which they don’t impact the human beings which are operating the operation. It permits us to separate them out after which it also lets in the incident commander to stroll into the command middle room and use the gear there to create his emergency action plan for the event. So here you have got interest taking place in 3 separate rooms. But thru the visible solution, now we are capable of hyperlink all of that interest right into a image so all of them have the same facts. And that is a completely effective device due to the fact all 3 of those sports have their personal priorities and their own needs. In the past, you’ll must positioned them in a room collectively and then you definately’d ought to combat over whose precedence was number one. But now, they could all work on their very own priorities concurrently and they may be simply sharing that statistics and no longer moving into every different’s manner. That in itself is a effective device. It has streamlined the way our teams paintings collectively.
You mentioned that whilst you had been evaluating systems, it became essential that you put money into an IP-based totally answer. Why became that so vital for your organization?
We knew that we had been going to be a dynamic constructing and we would always be evolving. Most of the visualization answers accessible are based totally on hard-wire cable. So, each time you desired to feature something to the grid, you’ll want to usher in a large group and you’d have to pull wires, installed routers, and manipulate bins. It’s a huge rate which involves device and extensive hard work costs to make changes. The issue that we adore approximately our visualization solution is that when you need to feature some thing, because it’s an IP-based totally solution, you may without problems combine new hardware by way of the usage of software program. You just placed it on the subnet LAN and you are performed. That in itself saves a person like me or other undertaking managers plenty of grief due to the fact now we are able to do something in a pair days which may have taken more than one weeks to get resolved if turned into now not an IP-primarily based answer.
So you may dynamically scale your machine?
Yes. And for a person who is developing a device, I suppose it brings fee. We paid a little bit extra for licensing to ensure us that flexibility. But it has through a long way paid for itself because the gadget has grown. It has removed the value we would have needed to pay in hard work and equipment costs to make all of the changes that we have made. If you had a machine that could never grow, there is probably a greater compelling story to live with a non-IP based totally machine. But I can’t think of an business enterprise that doesn’t plan to grow a system like this. So I assume it’s essential that you put in an IP-based totally gadget that offers you that flexibility. When you make changes you don’t must put money into heavy infrastructure. One of the brand new technologies which you have is facial popularity software.
What other technologies like that have you integrated into the machine?
Probably one that we’re nonetheless studying about however could be very outstanding and specific is the SSR radar machine. Some people consider radars as one which goes out and unearths ships. But in a security surroundings and a port surroundings, maximum industrial ships have AIS tracking. It’s an identifier on the ship that tells you the name of the ship, who owns the deliver, and how huge the deliver it’s miles. But recreational vessels and sightseeing vessels do not have this functionality. Since we are a attempted land agree with port, our waterways are quite open to the general public. Tracking the industrial vessels is easy however when you have a sail boat or motor boat, you do not know who they may be. What SSR allows us to do is to quickly assign them an ID so they may be tracked while they’re in the port.
Do they notify you as they’re coming in?
No. That’s the beautiful factor about the radar. When they enter the port into a place of interest we’ve the ability to tune them or no longer. The software program IDs the vessel, assigns them a temporary ID so we are able to watch them, after which it begins monitoring them via the port. So at each time, the operators can then simply click on on them and pass a digicam to watch them and display their pastime. So proper now, this software program gives us the functionality of beginning that method while not having to make the economic funding. It is a pretty neat piece of software program. Also, we’re going to be the first commercial port to put in a completely sturdy underwater sonar detection device. We are putting a business head inside the water with navy software program to provide us more capability. We’ll be the first commercial port to have a strong system like that.
You noted you have a dive team. Are the automatically diving?
Yes. We have divers in the water 5 days a week, running on a fifty foot boat. Those divers have the functionality to send video, from underwater, to their boat, and back to the command center and it can be displayed by means of Activu on the wall. We can also ship it to a website so managers can watch them underwater from their computing device and take a look at content material that is being despatched. We have a totally robust gadget with a number of underwater, un-manned vehicles (ROVs) which have video and sonar competencies. So we can positioned these submarine devices down and have them identify matters that might put a diver at threat. So it is correct that we can put a gadget down and no longer must risk a diver.
Can you tell me a touch bit about the pilot software, Transportation Worker Identification Program (TWIC), that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided on you to take part in?
It’s a countrywide program and we’re certainly one of five pilot web sites. The TSA carried out a fashionable government ID badge this is required today for every body who wants non-escorted privileges right into a regulated facility. When we speak about regulated Coast Guard centers we are really talking approximately our massive tenants that technique a lot of items. Container terminals are regulated. All of our bulk processing websites ship whatever from salt to coal, are regulated. All of our petroleum customers are regulated. So if you want to paintings on that site or go to that website online, you want must have a TWIC credential. But it’s handiest true if you could validate that the badge belongs to the person carrying it. What the Federal Government has said is that you need to have ways to authenticate that method. A picture on a badge doesn’t imply it’s sincerely you. So what they’ve done is taken a fingerprint template and put that at the badge as properly. The pilot test is asking at readers that will allow you to use your badge as a proxy badge, validate you are who you’re speculated to be and you’re legal to enter a selected facility. The port, below the pilot program, has positioned up millions of bucks for 5 of our tenants to installation it throughout their web site and take a look at it for TSA. The pilot test is currently happening right now. The port of Long Beach itself makes up sixty-five percent of the countrywide take a look at.
You are one the largest ports in the nation. Correct?
We are the second one largest port with our neighbor, the Port of Los Angeles, being number one. They have a bit extra volume then we do. But we remember the whole complex, the Port of LA, the Port of Long Beach, the Port of San Pedro Bay. And it’s far with the aid of far, the biggest port complicated inside the United States. It’s a totally dynamic port. To positioned it in angle, whilst we have been at our top about three years ago, the port had a thousand million greenbacks of trade coming via the port every day. In our current economy, we have about 600 and fifty million greenbacks a day. So it’s a completely vital asset to the country because nearly all of the products that come to us from Asia come thru both the Port of Long Beach or the Port of L.A., put on rail and shipped throughout the united states.
What are some key accomplishments that you could proportion with me considering the fact that deploying the brand new joint command and manage center?
Our largest accomplishment is that we’ve significantly more advantageous our relationship with the Port’s stakeholders. If you think about it, earlier than we had our joint command middle and all the structures in it, we didn’t have a venue that could make our tenants and regulatory companions relaxed below one roof. So having this constructing, having this visualization answer that allows us to percentage what we do with all those parties has simply solidified our courting with the stakeholders. It might not sound essential, however by using bringing us all together physically and from a technical perspective, there may be more trust. Now the regulatory corporations share extra records, the tenants aren’t afraid to engage us in tasks or with information as well. So it has absolutely made for a tighter “community watch” for the port that was not there before. That is our biggest accomplishment. The generation allows you to convey all parties together and that has virtually been the icing at the cake for us.