Geared Up For The Big Game: Super Bowl XLVIII Gets Super-Sized Security
Posted by Heidi Schwartz
When the final seconds of the Super Bowl play clock had ticked away, the Seattle Seahawks emerged victorious, walking away with a 43 – 8 win and the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. Their Super Bowl dreams had come true, and they could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Amidst a sea of sports fans swarming MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the Seahawks were not the only ones exhaling. For the scads of security personnel charged with ensuring the safety of NFL players, fans, and the many other people behind the scenes at the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, the real win was in pulling off the mega sporting event without incident.
Private security detail for Super Bowl XLVIII was overseen by S.A.F.E. (Security, Athletic Facilities & Events) Management, a specifically tailored crowd management company that specializes in stadium, facility, and special event management. S.A.F.E. is the primary private security provider for the Super Bowl campus which includes MetLife Stadium, the Izod Center, and the Meadowlands Racetrack. Although most of the firms/vendors are NJ-based, some large, global companies versed in providing security for major events also worked to ensure football’s biggest game day was a safe one. Among them were Fluidmesh Networks and Mobile Pro Systems (MPS).
As Steve Dunker, VP of business development for Minnesota-based Mobile Pro Systems explains, “We started working with the New Jersey State Police Department last year. They commanded our video surveillance trailers for special events, emergency management applications and the like to allow them to put surveillance units where they needed them most.”
Wireless mesh networks can link mobile units together and serve as a backhaul to an Internet source. It’s highly reliable and cost effective and can be used in a Mesh, Point to Point, or a Point to Multipoint configuration. Mobile Pro turned to Fluidmesh Networks to help secure the Super Bowl.
A sophisticated combination of the latest security devices was set up around the stadium and other key event areas. These mobile surveillance units were deployed at Super Bowl Week events prior to the game as well as during the game by New Jersey State Police with assistance, support, and network configuration from MPS and local technology providers.
In addition to meeting surveillance needs and being fully mobile to be used where needed, as needed, the MPS trailers also met a huge need in terms of filling the communication void that a packed MetLife stadium would be faced with. As Dunker points out, “Once MetLife stadium gets filled up, their dependence on cellular would have surely become an issue. The communication levels reduce to nothing because everyone uses their cell phones. So you have big events and communication goes down, and that wouldn’t have met their needs for an effective command center for surveillance. So we maximized their communication capabilities by bringing in secondary communication links to reduce dependence on cellular.
“The New Jersey State Police contacted us because they needed mobile technologies and, from there, we worked up a system design and mobile systems,” Dunker continues. “It’s an overall rollout, so now that it is in place and implementing Fluidmesh connectivity where trailers are used, it will be much more efficient with a long-term benefit. Our trailers and Fluidmesh technology are providing infrastructure and communication links to meet security and safety concerns and needs. It’s about communication and video.”
Configurations of the systems on these mobile trailers were being worked on well in advance of Super Bowl, so that the NJ Police could quickly and easily roll them out a few days before the events and get them up and running.
Cosimo Malesci, Fluidmesh co-founder and vice president, adds, “We are very proud and privileged to have played a part in ensuring the security and safety of so many thousands of people at this major sporting event. The added bonus for New Jersey is that these mobile trailers are now available and easily set up for use at other events and security applications wherever and whenever needed, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Everything is already in place and literally, ready to go!”
As Dunker points out, everyone needs to protect the gateways to their network. “Getting the cellular to work around these challenges, working with commercial entities in the area, determining lines of site, and making it all mobile allowed us to get everything back to the stadium with multiple modes of connectivity.”