The Unique Challenges to Securing an Innovative Outdoor Space

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) turned to its longtime systems integration partner, BCM Controls, to evaluate options to design and deploy a cutting-edge security system to meet their needs for The Lawn on D (now the Lawn on D Powered by Citizens Bank) – a first-of-its-kind experimental outdoor space adjacent to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Together, the MCCA and BCM Controls chose Fluidmesh Networks to provide the reliable wireless infrastructure needed to meet the needs of this complex security system.

The MCCA, which owns and operates the BCEC and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, is known for its creative efforts to enhance visitor experience and integrate their facilities with the Greater Boston community. In 2014, the MCCA launched The Lawn on D as an event space with a constant rotation of innovative programming and art installations for BCEC’s guests and the public to enjoy. The Lawn on D reflects the vitality of Boston and the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood and features unique public seating and lounge chairs, renowned rotating exhibitions of public art, Ping-Pong tables and assorted lawn games, free Wi-Fi and full restaurant services.

From Boston residents to convention attendees, the Lawn is visited by professionals relaxing after work, families taking in the latest art exhibit, and event goers catching a five-minute break from sessions. The Lawn on D is a signature space and is already a landmark of the rapidly growing South Boston Waterfront neighborhood.

But such experimental flexibility demands an original way of securing, managing, and supporting the space.

The MCCA has a strong need for creative, innovative uses of security technology in order to provide a more modular, safer, and higher-performing convention and meeting experience. With the opening of The Lawn on D, the MCCA’s public safety team needed to acquire new technology that would provide the highest level of security for The Lawn. This, while also keeping with its modern aesthetics and design, contributed to its overall success without being disruptive.

The Lawn on D was designed to provide an adaptable environment for a variety of events – both public and private, large and small, simple and cutting edge. However, the space has limited network and power infrastructure and required a quickly deployed, reliable solution to allow the MCCA to secure and manage The Lawn in all its changing configurations.

All of the support systems required to put on events, including utilities, network, lighting, and people, needed to be unobtrusive yet powerful. As such, the technology needed a small footprint, clean lines, and professional installation to provide cutting-edge security without interfering with the landscape of the area.

BCM Controls designed and integrated the security system expansion on The Lawn on D into the overall security infrastructure of the MCCA, allowing centralized command and control, video surveillance, guest location and flow counting, and credentialed access control across the entire site.

The MCCA and BCM Controls then turned to Fluidmesh Networks to provide the robust, flexible wireless point-to-point and mesh infrastructure to enable the vision of the adaptable, cutting edge Lawn on D.

“We were looking for a reliable solution that could be installed quickly without extensive construction or disruption to The Lawn,” says Robert Noonan, Director of Public Safety of the MCCA. “We required a system that could adapt to the numerous unique events hosted annually on The Lawn. The flexibility of the system allowed for our security teams to utilize our existing safety and security technology in a way that enhances our visitors safety for each event.”

“The full solution required several safety and security technologies to be carefully integrated, and required a reliable network. We could not be more pleased with the Fluidmesh solution and the overall performance of the system. The system has proven to be more reliable and adaptable to adequately fit our needs and even exceed our expectations,” Noonan adds.

“To allow the MCCA to realize its vision, we needed to build a strong, absolutely reliable, easily reconfigurable, wireless infrastructure,” notes Steve Feinberg, President of BCM Controls. All the applications the MCCA wanted on The Lawn require a backbone network they can trust in all conditions. BCM has been a partner of Fluidmesh for the last ten years, and has deployed its technology across some of the most high-profile wireless video surveillance networks in New England and considered this solution as the perfect fit for the project. ”

“Fluidmesh Networks’ reliable and secure infrastructure allows us to expand our security footprint whenever the need arises to ensure a safe and secure visit to our properties,” reports Michael Palmer, Public Safety Manager, Communications & Technology of MCCA. “We can add cameras, call boxes, motion detection and access control to our operation at a moment’s notice. The system was the ideal solution for our new outdoor event space. We are already planning the expansion of our mesh network, which includes a new parking lot, now open on Danby Street.”

Says Alex Clark, North America Sales Director at Fluidmesh, “We are honored to have played a part in the team effort helping the MCCA realize its dream of a flexible, safe, and usable Lawn on D. By providing a redundant wireless mesh solution which delivers amazing function but stays hidden in the background, we have done our small part helping to fuel experimentation on The Lawn and innovation in South Boston. We look forward to helping deliver the next vision the MCCA dreams up.”

Real-time view of the cameras is available clicking here.