Specifically Speaking with Brandon Frazier

Senior technology consultant, Elert & Associates Technology Consultants, based in Stillwater, Minn.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What's your role at the company?

As senior technology consultant for Elert & Associates, a True North Company, my primary role is to serve as our security technologies subject matter expert. I consult on large complex security projects and specialty projects such as city, county wide and correctional security. These projects generally consist of access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection, mass notification, correctional PLC/HMI systems and intercom/PA systems. I am also responsible for our Division 27 and 28 specifications and their continued development.

I work closely with our risk and vulnerability assessment group to provide services from identifying the risks in an assessment, mitigating those risks through design and specification, competitively bidding, construction administration and system commissioning.

What services does the company provide?

Elert & Associates, a True North company, is a multidisciplinary independent technology consulting firm with in-house specialists in physical and electronic security, inside and outside plant cabling infrastructure, networking, wireless, public safety radio and communication systems, audiovisual, telecommunications, data center, private and public cloud, and cybersecurity. The services our clients enjoy can be grouped into five primary categories:  assessments and planning, design and specifications, bidding and negotiations, project management and contract administration, and optimization and commissioning. 

What vertical markets does the company specialize in?

Elert & Associates and its parent company True North Consulting Group have a strong presence throughout the country in markets including state, county, and city government agencies, K-12 and higher education, healthcare, and corporate projects.

Any interesting projects that you can mention?

We recently completed the US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, where we were engaged to design and specify the security systems and command and control spaces. Being from Minnesota, we were extremely honored to have such a critical role in this important project. The US Bank Stadium is a 66,000-plus seat, 1.75 million square foot, $1.1 billion-plus multi-purpose stadium and is the largest and most expensive construction project ever completed in Minnesota. It was built over the top of the old Metrodome, which was 900,000 square feet. I had the honor of being Elert’s project manager and lead consultant from start to finish.

Specific design goals were developed in Schematic Design. These design goals included 100% surveillance bowl coverage at a minimum resolution of 45 pixels per foot (PPF), 100% PTZ coverage from all angles for lower and upper bowls, surveillance coverage at all entrances/exterior doors at a minimum resolution of 50 pixels per foot, general continuous coverage of all concourses, PTZ coverage of large exterior plazas, and general continuous coverage of the site parameter walkways and plazas.

There were also 120 card readers, visitor management with government denied list integration, video intercoms, and an intrusion detection system in the team store. The primary command center had three primary operator stations using sit/stand consoles facing a 2x4 video wall with 55” thin bezel monitors. There were an additional 12 secondary operator stations facing a 2x3 video wall with 55” monitors. The upper event command center had 16 operator stations facing a custom designed 2x5 video wall with 42” monitors. These command centers also included workstations and wall space for fire alarm, smoke control, elevator control, HVAC, lighting, dock logistics, perimeter gate and bollard control, badging system, and more. The project was done entirely in Autodesk Revit and consisted of over 150 sheets.

How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

As a teenager I was really into computers, electronics and home/car audio systems. Yes, I was that annoying teenager in the car rattling your rear-view mirror at the stoplight. As I became more familiar with these systems, I started helping other people select the right equipment to meet their needs and budgets. Looking back, I realized I was already consulting and really had a passion for it. After high school and a short stint at a university, I found a unique program at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis called Sound, Data and Alarm System Design. This program was exactly what I was good at and had a real passion for. It was an amazing program where our text books included industry codes and standards documents such as the National Electrical Code, BICSI TDMM manuals and many of the ASIS publications. Our classes consisted of studying chapters in the manuals and performing designs based on what we learned.

When I graduated in 2004, I was able to hit the ground running at my first job as a junior project manager and designer at a technology contracting firm. I worked at that contracting firm for a year before working for a manufacturer designing fire safety systems for a year. In 2006, the stars aligned and I was able to get my dream job as a truly independent consultant and have not looked back since!

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

An emerging technology that I have been fascinated with is deep learning utilizing the massively parallel processing capabilities of graphics cards and other GPGPU based architectures either on-premise or cloud-based. I believe these technologies are going to provide us with analytics that are truly effective in proactively managing and classifying threats while reducing false positives.

What is your view on the industry moving forward?

I think we will see less standalone video surveillance systems used only for forensic investigation and less standalone access control systems only used for the convenience of not having to lock and unlock doors manually. I believe we will see a continued and stronger focus on integrating systems together to provide enhanced abilities to proactively manage threats and alarms. Moving forward from there I believe we will see more security and business intelligence utilizing all the data these systems gather. There is so much information being generated by access control, intrusion detections, video surveillance and other integrated technology systems that it becomes a real challenge to present all of that information to an operator in a useful and timely way. We can utilize the technology wisely to integrate all of this information and streamline workflows, improve efficiencies and in the end help our clients ensure better outcomes.