You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Which is why, when you’re designing a first-of-its-kind security monitoring center for the world’s largest security company, appearances matter. G4S, the world’s leading international security solutions group, provides manned guarding and electronic security to governments and businesses around the world.
Not long ago the company launched a strategic initiative to bring both sides of the security business together to create a much more comprehensive solution for their customers. The result is a new state-of-the-art remote monitoring and data center that leverages new security technologies, such as virtual video guard tours and remote access control systems, to augment traditional guarding and central station monitoring.
According to Jerry Cordasco, Vice President of Operations for the G4S Monitoring and Data Center, this innovative facility and the services it offers address a paradigm shift in world of security. “One of the major keys in big corporate environments now is trying to reduce costs. But they don’t want to compromise security in the process,” said Cordasco. “So we felt that being able to build a facility that would be able to provide remote video monitoring services to our corporate customers around the world would have some real benefits.”
Based outside of Boston, the G4S Monitoring and Data Center is a 3,500 sq. ft. facility containing the industry’s most intelligent video and streaming audio over IP technology, which interfaces seamlessly with analytic software systems and manned security. At first glance, it may appear that consoles would be a rather insignificant aspect in the design of such a high-tech facility. But take another look and you’ll likely see what potential customers see, or rather what they don’t see.
When done well, consoles can turn a space from an overwhelming, incomprehensible collection of technology and operators into a logical, attractive and highly efficient command center. The well-designed console creates order out of chaos.
Cordasco knew that from a design standpoint one of the biggest elements in the room was going to be where the operators were actually going to be seated. The console would tie the whole control room together and its appearance needs to make a lasting impression on customers when they visit the facility.
“When I started the design phase, I really didn’t have any benchmarks or anything. I just sort of had this vision in my mind of something out of a NASA command center or Star Wars kind of thing,” said Cordasco. “I looked at a number of different central stations at different facilities and none of them had the look I had in mind. I needed an environment where my operators had plenty of space to work that looked very professional and high-tech.”
After wondering whether one could find such a thing at Staples or Office Depot, Cordasco re-discovered the Winsted Corporation at a trade show. “I really knew very little about Winsted at the time,” said Cordasco. “Most of what I knew was that they sort of made what I’d seen in the past – very traditional steel consoles you might see in an old guard room someplace.”
After visiting their booth at the show and seeing what Winsted has to offer today, Cordasco and the interior designer from his architectural firm began working with Winsted designers on a console solution. Winsted suggested their new Prestige Sight-Line series, which is both extremely functional and striking in appearance. Sight-Line consoles feature Winsted’s innovative Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, which allows users to easily modify sightlines and monitor viewing angles based on personal needs.
Prestige Sight-Line Consoles also come standard with Winsted’s exclusive TruForm work surface and decorative end panels, both of which are available in a variety of colors and shapes. “The design of Winsted’s Sight-Line consoles really lends itself not only to the look, but from a practical standpoint we were able to really hide all of the computers and wiring,” said Cordasco. “When you walk into the room you don’t see any extraneous stuff just hanging around.”
The G4S Monitoring and Data Center includes 20 workstations for operators, technical support personnel and an operations manager. Winsted’s Prestige Sight-Line consoles create an open environment with ample workspace, which allows operators to do their job but also interact with each other.
The console design and facility layout is flexible enough to allow changes to be made or workstations to be added as needs change. “Since we began full operation of the monitoring center we’ve had many, many high-profile customers come and visit the facility – from the FBI and US Air Marshals Office to Bank of America,” said Cordasco. “Every one of them has been absolutely amazed by the look of the control room. I attribute a significant portion of accomplishing what I wanted in terms of the wow factor to Winsted.”