Specifically Speaking: F. Patrick Mahoney, CannonDesign
Your A&E firm, CannonDesign, promotes something called SFMO. What is it and why is it a good thing for your security clients?
CannonDesign’s Single-Firm, Multi-Office (SFMO) methodology offers our clients a single point of responsibility, accountability, and communication with the benefit of utilizing the best solutions from designers across the firm through a multioffice practice approach. Utilizing virtual technologies to fully integrate all of our offices into a single unified firm without walls, we offer security clients access to the full resources of our entire organization, enabling projects to share new ideas and best practices.
It is good for our clients because CannonDesign operates globally; we have offices strategically located in Mumbai and Shanghai, along with a new presence Riyadh. Our United States and Canadian offices, along with our international offices, optimize the integration of staffing, collaboration and effective coordination across the firm, enabling projects to remain in motion across multiple time zones, enhancing quality and accelerating the speed of delivery.
Working in health care, what is the most challenging project you’ve worked on recently? How are you using technology creatively to get around challenges?
One of my most challenging projects is creating a behavioral health wing at a hospital that treats patients trained by the military. Some of these men and women have been expertly trained to break into any facility in the world. That alone would present anyone a challenge in securing the facility; however, because the physical environment can support recovery, patients must not feel they are living in a prison. It has taken collaboration between the care provider, the physical architecture and electronic security measures to create a flexible environment that reinforces and encourages appropriate behavior while still protecting staff and other patients. Physical installation of many security devices is hidden to prevent the possibility of suicide or self-injury.
What kinds of technology trends are you seeing in the K-12 work you do?
Enhanced communications has become a valuable part of many schools security plans. The use of mass notification systems during various events that may occur is now part of security personnel’s response. Training and planning is required for the staff’s responses to assist people in the school, including students, faculty, and visitors, to take appropriate action. The systems can be implemented for a weather event, an intruder, at the request of law enforcement or for a drill.
Electronic access control is now expected on exterior doors and accepted by faculty in many interior locations. Video surveillance is now acceptable in schools and expected by many in the public. The educational environment is one in which we must provide security to the students while making the devices unobtrusive whenever possible. Social interaction and school functions should proceed without students feeling they have been incarcerat
You mention wireless locks as a technology that you weren’t using a few years ago, but that has now gained acceptance and that you’re using a lot. What has changed, and for what applications are wireless locks particularly well suited?
The increased acceptance and use of electronic access control has caught many facilities off guard. Users of spaces are requesting credential readers and electric locksets in many locations that facilities did not anticipate or budget for. We recently worked on a large high school project that required approximately 1,100 credential readers. The school had to phase the installation over three projects because they could not afford to install all of them at once.
There has been great pressure to reduce the cost of installation. Battery operated hoteling systems with the lock and card reader in one door-mounted device offer a way to reduce the infrastructure cost. Because many of these systems are IP-based, some new products utilize an IEEE 802.15.4 protocol to communicate wirelessly to an interface module. These can be used on interior doors and even cabinets.