Super-security at Dolphin Stadium

July 2008 Integrated Solutions

More than 74 000 NFL fans descended on Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida on 4 February last year to watch the Indianapolis Colts take on the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

The Colts' offence won the game and title of Super Bowl Champions, but Dolphin Stadium's defence was the true MVP, and that defence will continue to serve for years to come.

Hi-Tek Security Systems, in conjunction with Global Security Systems, began working with Dolphin Stadium in 2002, servicing the existing security system that included a heavy video security component. In 2004, stadium management realised that the current system would not work as it moved forward, and asked Hi-Tek to redesign the system.

"The main reason we went with Pelco is my familiarity with the equipment and the technical support they provide," explains Tom Hutchison, president of Hi-Tek Security Systems.

After careful consideration of which products would be most beneficial in Dolphin Stadium, Hutchison decided to go with the Pelco System 9780 Matrix Switcher, a large matrix switch that will grow as the stadium grows, and the VMX300 Video Management System. In addition, he installed IS Series Camclosure camera systems, DX8000 digital video recorders and the Spectra IV integrated dome system to complement the cameras already in place.

Through discussions with the stadium's management team, it was determined that a system overlooking the field inside the bowl would be ideal, as the stadium's security could then quickly identify problem/trouble areas. A command post was created in a suite overlooking the field from which police, the fire department, event staff and stadium security would have access to every angle - inside and out.

"We installed a VMX300 video management system server/client and a client within the command post," says Hutchison. "In addition, upper management has access to video recorders via their desktop computers so that they can log on to the system and review the [video] themselves without having to wait for copies."

Because it was Hi-Tek's first installation of a VMX300 system, Pelco sent an engineer from its New York-based office to assist with the installation. Inside the command centre, security personnel have complete control over the stadium's security. "Any one of the five monitors mounted on the wall will display the view from a camera throughout Dolphin Stadium with the click of the mouse," says Hutchison.

To narrow the search area in the 75 000-seat stadium, Hi-Tek took each section of the stadium's three levels and grouped them into quadrants. Six strategically located Spectra IV systems are each programmed to cover all of the seated areas, entrances to the field and sidelines.

Rectangular boxes with section numbers displayed on a graphic user interface are utilised so that when clicked on by a mouse, the camera that has been programmed for that section will automatically zoom in on a particular section without delay.

"If a member of security calls the command post indicating a problem, with just a click of the mouse, the camera designated for that section will zoom in on the section and the display will pop up on a wall monitor," explains Hutchinson. "The operator can then further use the mouse to zoom in on fans in particular rows."

Hi-Tek also installed Pelco Spectra IV systems to capture video from outside the stadium – an application for crowd control as well as traffic and parking congestion management.

As part of its service to Dolphin Stadium, Hi-Tek trained stadium staff on how to use their new system to get the best results. Hutchison found each Pelco system to be very intuitive and simple, and he and his team did not have any problems getting everybody up to speed. "The idea was to make the command post as user-friendly as possible," Hutchison says. "If there is a problem in Section 426, the user just moves the mouse and clicks on the 400 level, and then on 426 – with just a click, the camera zooms in. You do not even have to think about it."

In October 2006, Hi-Tek met with the FBI to begin discussions on preparation for Super Bowl XLI. The government agency needed access to all of Dolphin Stadium's cameras, and Hi-Tek worked with them to be sure they were connected. Additionally, live video streaming was provided to NFL security and the Broward County Emergency Center so that they could view the stadium's cameras in the event of an incident. With permission from stadium management, additional live video streaming was provided for the Miami Police Department during the Super Bowl event.

"One NFL official I spoke with said that the security system installed in Dolphin Stadium was one of the most sophisticated systems he had seen in any NFL stadium," says Hutchison.

Hutchison and his team at Hi-Tek continue to work with Dolphin Stadium and its continuing needs. He and a technician attend all football games in the command post to be sure that the system is operating to its fullest capacity, and the Hi-Tek team continues to service the system and develop new ways in which to enhance its systems.

To keep up with an ever-changing industry, Hutchison and the technicians on the Hi-Tek team often attend Pelco training to keep up on the latest technology. That training is another service feature that he appreciates.

For more information contact Pelco SA, +27 (0)12 809 3493,,

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