By Fernando Pires – VP, Sales and Marketing – Morse Watchmans
At the ancient Roman Coliseum, one of the world’s first and most famous stadiums, security practices likely included the use of guards and locked doors with keys controlled by a keeper. These same basic security practices are still in use in modern stadiums and convention centers — with far more sophisticated technology and enhanced resources. Today, guard services are supplemented with video surveillance and alarm systems have evolved into high tech intrusion detection and perimeter security systems integrated with access control and fire alarm systems.
Improving Building Security
Similarly, key control is now automated and incorporates tamper-proof, computerized cabinets for the safekeeping and tracking of keys. With upwards of 100 plus locking doors in a typical 40,000 seat facility, knowing where a particular key is or who may have last used a key is critical to both the operation of the facility and to the physical security and safety of the visitors, employees and premises. Key control and management systems are an essential part of an overall security operation for any large venue.
A key control system can improve building security by allowing only authorized users to access keys. The automated key cabinet releases assigned keys only to users with the proper authorization code (either finger identification or numerical code), and cannot be manipulated or easily tampered with. A rugged stainless steel construction and virtually indestructible key fobs, which readily accommodate both hard keys and plastic key cards, are designed for heavy use and the illuminated key slots make accessing and returning keys easy. The unique combination of these key control features enables stadium management to maintain the integrity of the overall building security.
Systems can be custom designed to meet specific requirements including the flexibility to have different levels of security in different areas of the stadium complex. For example, security management can program the key storage systems to allow certain employees to access keys to the ticket/box office where cash or valuable tickets may be stored. The system would only permit authorized individuals to access the key at specific times and for limited amounts of time. Along with video surveillance, this kind of automated control helps to ensure that access to restricted areas such as the box office or management offices is monitored and controlled. As individual keys may not be labeled, if a key is lost not only does the system flag the missing key, it also eliminates any immediate identity issues.
Securing personal computers, cash trays, weapons, cell phones, hand-held radios and other larger objects is also easy and convenient when locker-style modules are built into the solution. As with the key cabinets, these smart lockers feature an audit trail that records when the locker was accessed and by whom. In designing a system, the combination of modules is entirely up to the stadium security management and a key and asset management system can be customized or changed to meet specific needs.
Maximizing the Security System
Online monitoring, updating and reporting capabilities enhance the functionality of a key control system and add to the integrity of the venue’s security. By integrating key control management software, stadium management can more easily control the system and maximize its reporting capabilities. Activity reports of key usage such as movements by time, date and user code can be analyzed for improved control of access and security. The reporting capabilities can also act as a kind of employee or vendor time sheet, verifying hours that an individual was on the job.
The increased security provided by a key control and management system helps to reduce the vulnerabilities of a stadium. Issues that have been missed in security evaluations or procedures or insufficiently addressed can be easily mitigated with key control hardware and software solutions – without expensive remediation costs. A key control and management system can also be integrated with building operations and security systems such as access control or video surveillance to create a more powerful and effective security system.