When it comes to commercial fire and life safety and security, a lot of emphasis is placed on selecting the right system or technology. While that’s definitely an important aspect of selecting a security integrator,...Read More
It’s not uncommon for us to work with our commercial clients on access control and security for their brand new facilities. However, one of our most recent projects had some unique complexity because the property includes both retail and corporate offices.
We’ll walk you through the challenges of the project and how we created a solution tailored to the client’s needs.
The challenge: User-friendly, enterprise-level security
Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources with more than 1,100 employees and 170 retail stores, was building a brand new headquarters.
At the new building, LifeWay’s goals were to provide a secure yet user-friendly experience for employees and visitors through unified management of access control, video surveillance, elevator controls and intercom systems.
LifeWay wanted an enterprise-level platform that was easy to use, easy to maintain and that could monitor activity across all of their properties. In particular, Lifeway wanted to integrate their access control system with their elevators since their property includes both retail and corporate offices.
The solution: Integrated, design-focused approach
There are a few things that we did to meet LifeWay’s specific needs and challenges to make the project a success:
1. We chose the right vendor partner for the job.
LifeWay already had S2 systems in their properties, and after conversations with the company, ACT decided S2 was the best partner for the job. Not only would adoption of this system be simple to use due to their familiarity with it, but S2 was by far the superior product for LifeWay’s specific needs.
ACT installed an S2 access control solution that is integrated into their Otis elevator control. An employee or visitor scans their access card at the elevator bay’s glass turnstile, and a screen displays which elevator to use and displays a graphical arrow pointing to the location of the elevator. That elevator will then take the person to their desired floor. This elevator dispatch integration with access control turnstiles was the first-of-its-kind in the Nashville area.
Since installing this system, other buildings have used Lifeway as a model for elevator dispatched access control in their construction projects.
2. We recommended products to match the building design.
We don’t just want security to function well. We want it to look good and fit with the design of the building too – especially in a brand new, beautifully designed facility like the LifeWay headquarters. That’s why we paid great attention to the design details in this project.
For instance, the original turnstiles selected for the building were functional, but they did not match the design aesthetic of the building. Our team found a more elegant glass turnstile that offered the same level of security. Lifeway’s building is on the cutting edge by being the first building in the Nashville market to use the glass turnstiles we chose.
3. We integrated security and access with existing systems.
In order to simplify the experience for both Lifeway and their visitors, we integrated security and access control with the other systems in the building.
To allow excellent communication between the entrance gate and security, we installed an SIP-compliant intercom system that can be integrated into LifeWay’s VOIP phone system. Taking street traffic into account, the intercom features noise-cancellation benefits for clearer interactions.
This video showcases the same intercom technology we used at LifeWay. As you can see, this intercom can even block out the noise of a race car engine!
4. We selected easy-to-use software.
To meet Lifeway’s desire for user-friendly management of their security, we chose easy-to-use video management software that integrated nicely with the other products.
Using Exacq, onsite security teams can oversee cameras and access control feeds. The system collates video feeds from S2-integrated intercoms and 30-40 onsite cameras. Security teams can then remotely view both live and recorded video from the office or wireless device. We are currently working on a network upgrade on another site that will allow complete integration across all LifeWay properties.
5. We worked closely with the onsite IT team and other partners.
A typical hurdle when we install our systems into a new building is gaining access to their corporate network. Many onsite IT teams do not welcome the integration.
We approached this project differently by engaging LifeWay’s IT team early on to listen to one another, troubleshoot issues and collaborate for the best possible outcomes for installation and integration. This approach was by far one of the most important things we did to make the system installation successful.
This process went so well, that ACT has since launched an internal IT department to support all future projects. This added level of service is something that’s not offered by other security and technology companies in Nashville.
By far our hardest challenge was the elevator integration. We worked closely with the elevator company, Otis, LifeWay’s IT team, and other vendors to coordinate and install the unique functionality. Otis is the leading company that integrates dispatched elevators with access control, so their insight and partnership were invaluable to the project’s success. Prior to LifeWay, the closest dispatched elevator was Chattanooga. Following our installation, there are several Nashville-area buildings looking to do the same.
The result: Setting the security standard in Nashville
The feedback we have received from LifeWay and S2 has been extremely positive. Here’s what Tom Lamb, Engineering & Business Support Manager at LifeWay, had to say about the experience:
“The ACT team really became our partner on this project. They took great pride in the project and became an extension of the LifeWay team during the construction process.
“The installation crew they provided was one of the best I’ve ever seen. LifeWay never had to worry about things getting done or about things being done correctly. We were on a very tight schedule and it became even tighter for the security system installation as they were delayed by other trades not meeting deadlines but ACT got everything done in time for us to move in on schedule.
“Every person we dealt with both during construction and now in ongoing support of our system has been top notch.”
Not only did we deliver on LifeWay’s need for a secure, but easy-to-use solution, but we also gave them elegant, design-focused solutions and cutting-edge technology that set the standard for commercial buildings in Nashville.