Airport PSIM / VMS RFP Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Nov 23, 2010

Airports security and surveillance systems are some of the most complex and expensive projects anywhere.

In this report, we examine a recently released RFP for the San Francisco Airport. The Airport seeks to deploy a PSIM system to integrate their various subsystems as well as a new VMS and megapixel cameras to expand the Airport's coverage.

This is a fascinating example showcasing the challenges in building and integrating a system with this level of complexity. With numerous proprietary systems and some bankrupt suppliers, making this all work together as 'one' is an extremely difficult task. We find it ironic that privacy advocates worry about big brother when the more practical problem is simply making all this work together.

That noted, we think the SFO RFP is a relatively high quality document. The issue is less in the design than the fundamental issues that systems of this complexity face.

Inside we dig into the details of the RFP, providing analysis and guidance on key issues and design choices.

More RFPs Reviewed

This is part of our ongoing series of RFP reviews. For more, read our RFP Reviews Volume 1 and our City Wide Surveillance RFP review.

******** ******** *** ************ ******* *** **** ** *** **** complex *** ********* ******** ********.

** **** ******, ** ******* * ******** ******** *** *** the *** ********* *******. *** ******* ***** ** ****** * PSIM ****** ** ********* ***** ******* ********** ** **** ** a *** *** *** ********* ******* ** ****** *** *******'* coverage.

**** ** * *********** ******* ********** *** ********** ** ******** and *********** * ****** **** **** ***** ** **********. **** numerous *********** ******* *** **** ******** *********, ****** **** *** work ******** ** '***' ** ** ********* ********* ****. ** find ** ****** **** ******* ********* ***** ***** *** ******* when *** **** ********* ******* ** ****** ****** *** **** work ********.

**** *****, ** ***** *** *** *** ** * ********** high ******* ********. *** ***** ** **** ** *** ****** than *** *********** ****** **** ******* ** **** ********** ****.

****** ** *** **** *** ******* ** *** ***, ********* analysis *** ******** ** *** ****** *** ****** *******.

More **** ********

**** ** **** ** *** ******* ****** ** *** *******. For ****, **** ****** ******* ****** **** ******* **** ************ *** ******.

[***************]

********

*** ****** ****** ***** ** **** ******* ** $*.* ******* with * ****** ** ******** *** ****.

***** *** **** **** (*** **********) ** *** *******, *** criteria ** ***** ******* ** ********* **** ***** (*** ***** $100,000) *****. ** **** *****, ****** $*** ** ** ********** device ** ********** *************. *** **** ********* ****** **** ** (1) *** *** ****** ****** ********* *** ***** ******* *** make ** **** **** *** (*) *** ********* ** *** new ****** ** ********* ************.

Key *******

***'* ****** *** *** ******* ****** ** ******* *** *******:

  • **** ******* ******** *********** ** ******** **** *******, ******** ****** control *******, ******** ***** ******** *******, * *** ******, * perimeter ******, ** ***, ***.
  • *** ******* **** *** ******* *** **** *********** ******* ** requesting **** ** ****
  • *** ******* ***** ** *** * *** ******* ** * 3D ******* *** ******* ****** / ****
  • *** ****/******* *** ******* ****** (****** ** ***** ******* ** the *******) ***** ** **************,************** *******; *** ****** ***** ******* * "***% ********** *** ******* 3-D *** ** *** ****** *** ******"
  • *** *** ***** ** *************,************* *******(********** ******** ******** ********* **** *** ************ **** ** ******** -**** ******* ** $*** *** *** *** *********)
  • *** *** *******, "***** ******** ******** *** *** **** ******** allowed ******* *** *******'* ******** ******** *** ***** *****."
  • *** ***** ******* ********: "********* ** *** ********** ******* *** subsystems ***** ** ******** *** ******* **** **** *** *********** lag **** ********** ** ******** ** ******** *** *** *******"
  • *** *********** ***** *******/**********, "****** **** ******* ******** *****-**-****** ************ to ******* ******* *********** *** ******** ** **********..."
  • *********** ***** **** ** ********: ***** ** *********** ******* *** statement ** *********** ************** *** *** ******* ** ** ********** including *****, ***, ******* ******, **********, *******, ***** **** ****** and ***** ******,
  • ******** ***** ****** ****** ** ** ****. ** ********, ******** or ******** *** ** ***** ** *********.
  • ***** ******* *** *********: "***** ****** *** ********* **** ******* are *** *** ****** ** ******. ******* ***** **** ***** shall ** ********* *** ******** ** *** *** *** ******** prior ** ******."
  • *** ******* **** ** *********** ** ********* *** **** *** pixels *** **** ** *** ******** ******: "********* **** ******* will ** ******** **** *.* (***) ** * ********* (***) and ********* ***** ** ********** ** ***** ** ****** ******* as ********* ** *** ***."
  • "*.*** **** ** *** ********* ******** ********"
  • ********** ********** *** ******* *** **** ** ******** - ******* must ****** * ***** ** *** ****, *********** *** ******** reasons *** *** ******* ** **********.
  • "*** ******** **** ****** ********* *** ******* ** *** ** users **** *** ********* ***** * ***** ****** ****** ******. The *** *** **** **** ** ***** *** ******** ****** users *** *** ******** *** ************ ** ******** *** ****** switch **** *** ****-***** ** ***** *** ********** ******* ** each (***) *** *******."
  • *** **** **** **** ** ********* **** ********** ** * very *** ***** ********* ******** ******** *************** *** **************.
  • ********* ********: ******** ** ** ****** (** ******* ******** ********* and * *** *********) *** * **** ****. ************ ******** of * ********** ********** ********* *** * **** *****.
  • * **** ******** *** *** ******** ********* * ***** ** free ********

********

***'* ** ***** ** *****:

  • Key **** - ****** ***********: With so many different systems that need to be integrated (from Pelco to MDI to Intergraph to Vidient, etc., it's unlikely that anyone can completely meet the airport's needs with their COTS offering. Securing commitments (and pricing) from both the PSIM vendor and the security system vendor is essential to ensure integration on systems not supported 'out of the box'.
  • Bankrupt *********: The RFP states that access control provider ***** ********. ***** ** ****** ******* **** *************, ** ****** MDI's **** ***** ****** *** ** *** ************. ************, ***** the *** **** *** ***** ****, ** **** **** *** of ***** ***** *********,******* ** *** ** ********. ******** ** ***, **** *** **** *********** **** **** difficult, ********** ** ** ******** *** *** *********** ** *** part ** *** ******** *******.
  • Burden ** *** ****** ** *********: The airport has made it clear that the burden on integrating these system is firmly on the bidder and that no help will be provided. We think this is prudent precaution for the airport as a bidder could try to 'escape' by arguing that some integrations are just not possible (especially because of bankrupt subsystem suppliers). On the other hand, the more the airport demands all the systems to be integrated, the more bidders will have to increase/pad their bids to deal with the uncertainly involved.
  • 3D ****: The whole airport 3D map requirement is interesting. We question how valuable it ultimately is especially relative to the cost of producing such a map. While the 2D element can be relatively easily obtained via publicly available resources, 3D maps generally require a dedicated, manual process of capturing imagery and building of the map. This could cost hundreds of thousands alone.
  • PSIM *********: Two of the most aggressive marketers are notably absent - ************. ** *** ***** ****, *** ***** ************ ** **** project ** ****** ****** ***** ********** ************ (****** *** ***** marketing ******). ** *** ********* ***** ******, * *** ***** companies (****** *** ****** *******, ******** ** **** ********) *** the ***** ** * ***** ******* ****** ***** **** **** 50 ***** **** (********). ** ***** ******** ** * ***** option. ***** **** *** ** ***** *** *** **** ** such * ******** ********* ** ***** ********, **** ******* ** Proximex **** ******** (**** ***** ****** ******* ** ********* ********) or **** ******** *** **** ******* (**** **********)? (******* ******** will ** **** ** ****** *********** *********** ********** *********** *******).
  • PSIM ** **********: One of the most bizarre elements of the project is that they want to integrate Intergraph with their new PSIM system. It's potentially extremely redundant as Integraph is designed to operate as command and control system for such applications. As we examined in October 2010, ************ ********* ($***,*** *******) *** ** ***'* ** ***** ** deploy * ***** *** **** ******.
  • Low ***** **** ***********: The RFP requires a number of lower level integrations between the PSIM and the various subsystems. We think this is going to be difficult and/or costly to deliver. Most security systems only expose basic/core functionalities via API. For instance, VMS systems may expose live and recorded video but rarely do they make system configuration available.
  • VSM *********: The VMS shortlist makes a lot of sense to us with Genetec and DvTel offering similar overall solutions and Visual Defense providing the advantage of tight integration with its own PSIM offering. For a project with this many requirements, only a handful of VMSes are even realistic options.
  • Matrix ****** ***********: In high end projects, matrix switch and keyboard integration are common 'must haves.' This RFP is no exception. The problem for VMS selection is that only a fraction of VMS systems integrate with these devices, eliminating most products.
  • Moving **** **** ******: It's interesting that the airport is moving away from Endura, a product that is certainly still in its 'prime of life'. We do not know why though the airport is requiring the use of off the shelf computers/servers. This would be one element that would disqualify Endura.
  • Forcing *********** **** ******: Not surprisingly, the airport wants to keep using Endura for cameras already in use and add new cameras to the new VMS. From both a financial and political standpoint, switching out Endura would be very problematic as the equipment almost certainly has many years of usable life remaining.
  • Cisco ********** ******** ********: While IP networks are based on open standards, the airport's requirement for all Cisco networking equipment is not surprising. Using a single vendor can sometimes reduce interoperability issues (especially if the network uses more advanced features). Cisco was not able to leverage its networking power into the security specification but the all Cisco network requirement is another good reminder of Cisco's wide reach in general IT.
  • Sub ***** ***********: The airport is requiring end to end latency of under 300ms for the system. This is likely most important for PTZ controls (or two way audio if used). However, keeping latency under 500ms is generally done to make a system truly 'real-time.' On the other hand, we are skeptical how they are going to measure this (we do not see how the measurement process is defined). Depending on how you measure, you can make the latency appear to be much shorter or longer. Secondly, we are not sure what the value is of enforcing such a tight latency requirement. For instance, a fixed camera with a 1000ms (or 1s) delay is not a security risk (and may not be noticeable) even in responding to a real time incident.
  • Standardizing ** *********: We think standardizing new cameras on megapixel makes good sense and is a important 'sign of the times.' Airports cover large, usually open areas (SFO is **** * ******* ****** ****). ** **** *****, ********* ** ******* ******** ** ********* cost-effective ***** ********. ** ** *******, ***** ************ ** **** costly *** ******* ** **********/*******, ***** * ***** ****** ** more '********' ******* ** ****** *********.
  • Pixels ** ****** *************: While pixels on targets is a useful metric, it appears that the RFP will allow bidders to make the decision about how many pixels on target are provided. We think greater clarity on this element is needed both in terms of total pixel on target and where the target will be. Otherwise, visual detail will likely not match operator's needs/expectations. Secondly, when specifying pixels on target, the RFP should factor in any direct sunlight facing cameras (that will increase the need for WDR or more pixels) or any areas that might become dark during certain times of the day (though less likely in an airport).
  • Pelco ******* ** '******': We do not understand why Pelco is the cameras of 'choice.' In the old system, with Endura as the recording platform, it made some sense because of the tighter integration provided by the all Pelco system. However, integrated with Genetec, DvTel, etc. Pelco does not provide clear advantages over numerous other large IP camera manufacturers. Additionally, in the required H.264 mode, Pelco Sarix frame rate is generally low plus the cameras max out at 3MP (while the specification calls for up to 5MP cameras).
  • Specifying ****** *******: In general, the camera specification is minimal (beyond the Pelco and the 1 to 5Mp requirements). Do they require interchangeable lenses, mechanical cut filters, WDR capabilities, audio, alarm inputs, multi-streaming, SNMP, etc, etc.? These elements should be clearly spelled out in a bid this large to ensure that important functionalities are not missed because their need was not communicated up front.
  • Equivalent / ************ *******: The Airport has a good substitution process where the bidder provides essentially a white paper on why an alternative product is superior. Rather than artificially force the bidder to meet arbitrary requirements, the RFP does a good job of laying out key questions to check if the alternative is capable of meeting the fundamental needs.
  • 5 **** ********/******** ********: We think their software warranty and upgrade requirement is a prudent approach. While it increases up front cost, this eliminates the risk and complexity of allocating new funds in the future. Additionally, it may reduce the cost as manufacturers often offer discounts for up front long term contracts.
Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Milestone Favorability Results on Dec 06, 2016
In our second installment of manufacturer favorability results (first was Pelco), we turn to Milestone. 100+ integrators rated and explained what...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Dec 05, 2016
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Pelco Favorability Results on Dec 02, 2016
This is the first in a series of studies of manufacturer favorability. 100+ integrators rated and explained their views of each manufacturer. We...
CODEC Guide 2016 on Nov 30, 2016
CODECs are core to surveillance, with names like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG commonly cited. How do they work? Why should you use them? What issues may...
Free Online NFPA, IBC, and ADA Codes and Standards on Nov 29, 2016
Finding applicable codes for security work can be a costly task, with printed books and pdf downloads costing hundreds or thousands. However, a...
Exacq M Series Gets Aggressive Against Hikvision on Nov 22, 2016
The most common complaint against Western NVRs is too high prices. With Chinese recorders, such as Hikvision and Dahua, running sub $500 and...
Solutions to 5 Common Access Control Problems on Nov 21, 2016
Effective security is more than just good equipment. In fact, thousands of dollars in electronic access control can be wasted if they are not used...
Massively Strong Maglock (Securitron) on Nov 16, 2016
One of the market's strongest maglocks has a twist: the 4,000 pounds claimed bond power is not purely magnetic. Securitron's hybrid MM15 maglock...
Access Control Markups 2016 on Nov 09, 2016
  Access control markups have remained solid, according to new IPVM integrator survey results. Response Breakdowns We asked...
$38+ Million Funding Powers VMS Challenger IronYun on Nov 09, 2016
VMS and video analytics have received little funding this decade. However, one Taiwan startup, IronYun, has bucked this trend, with a relatively...

Most Recent Industry Reports

XiongMai Master Password List Emailed By Chinese Spammer on Dec 05, 2016
XiongMai created an international uproar as their devices drove massive botnet attacks of major Internet sites. After pledging to recall cameras...
Hikvision Cloud Security Vulnerability Uncovered on Dec 05, 2016
A security researcher uncovered a critical vulnerability in Hikvision's global cloud servers. This vulnerability allowed an attacker to remotely...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Dec 05, 2016
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Pelco Favorability Results on Dec 02, 2016
This is the first in a series of studies of manufacturer favorability. 100+ integrators rated and explained their views of each manufacturer. We...
Hikvision CEO Declares 'We Do Not Cut Rates" on Dec 02, 2016
Hikvision has led another press trip to China, and this time Hikvision's CEO is sharing insights into their competitive strategy, including...
Network Security Audit App (March Networks) Examined on Dec 01, 2016
Verifying one's video surveillance devices are locked down against common cybersecurity vulnerabilities is increasing important, as hacks using...
FLIR Acquires Drone Manufacturer For $134M on Dec 01, 2016
FLIR has acquired Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian maker of small military-grade drones, for $134M.  FLIR president Andy Teich provided additional...
Down to $50 IP Cameras From Honeywell on Dec 01, 2016
$100 IP cameras are literally old news. And you do not need to buy from spam email vendors anymore to get $50 ones. [premium_content] You can...
Distributor Offers Local Job Site Delivery on Nov 30, 2016
Local distribution branches are a big differentiator for many integrators, as they facilitate quickly picking up supplies locally without having to...
Dump Axis and Hikvision, Arecont Will Pay You on Nov 30, 2016
Do you want to get rid of your Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Hanwha Samsung, Hikvision, Pelco or Sony cameras? Now, Arecont will pay you to dump them for...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact