Specifically Speaking with René Rieder Jr.

Associate Principal, Arup, New York
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Monday, September 21, 2015

What kinds of security projects do you focus on at Arup?

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment. We offer a broad range of professional services that combine to make a real difference to our clients and the communities in which we work. We are truly global with 90 offices in 38 countries; our 11,000 planners, designers, engineers and consultants deliver innovative projects across the world with creativity and passion. I am the co-leader of the Americas Security & Risk group with a primary focus on commercial, educational, cultural and transportation vertical security markets. With that said, I do believe that security design, with the exception of regulatory vertical, nuclear for example, is about listening to the client’s requirements and understanding ‘what keeps them up at night.’ Based upon their identified risks, both perceived and real, identifying technology and operational security changes to protect their identified assets.  This approach has proved to be successful for our group with year-over-year growth and multiple repeat clients. 

What do you think is the most promising new security technology? Why?

I would like to address this question from both a system design perspective and equipment technology perspective. As a security consulting engineer, Building Information Modeling has completely changed our approach to security system design and integration. The standard tools within Revit enable us to design coordinated projects, nearly eliminating clashes traditionally identified during installation. In addition, a colleague and I have developed a number of security-specific software applications for use within Revit. One specifically is a virtual camera app, which exports the actual camera view based upon the camera location in the model. It also provides the pixels/foot at a specific distance so that if a client needs a specific resolution, for example for facial recognition, this app can provide this information. This Arup-developed tool enables clients to approve camera locations and views before a single camera is purchased and installed. By pushing the limits of design software and developing our own applications, we have been able to save costs and demonstrate to clients their system in a virtual environment.

From a technology perspective, the industry trend is that cameras will provide more resolution and card access systems will push technology to the edge. As security professionals what we need to look at is how the Internet of Things is going to revolutionize the security technology industry as security devices become smarter. I look at my mobile phone—I can lock/unlock doors at my home, office and hotel, view cameras, buy items with Google Wallet, locate friends in the area and GPS auto-display information about the area around me. It’s the integration of systems and technologies which provide access to smarter buildings and smarter controls. So for example, your smartphone knows when you enter your building, which activates the credential on your smartphone to gain access through the turnstile, which in turn, activates the lights, power ports and environmental controls in the user’s spaces. I believe that the IoT will facilitate the connections of security sensors with other network-based connected devices to create more secure environments with user needs as the primary driver. 

Can you share any details about a particularly interesting project that you're working on now or recently completed?

My first project when I joined Arup in 1999 was the new Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport. The project was completed in 2002 and was the state-of-the-art terminal and security system at JFK. Since 2008, I have been the lead security engineer for the terminal expansion projects at T4 under Delta Airlines. Airports have unique challenges: The security systems must remain operational at all time under all conditions. We engineered the security systems upgrade and replacement by providing detailed migration plans and significant pre-testing of the new system in a lab environment. Pre-testing facilitated overnight system migrations with extremely limited down time, in most cases under two minutes per device. In addition to leading the security system replacement project, I led the design migration of the security screening checkpoint. The goal of that project was to centrally locate two remote security checkpoints during a single overnight swing-over. Again, through proper planning and coordination, this transition was invisible to the passengers departing from the airport the following morning. We utilized an Arup-developed software application to locate the camera on poles in the new checkpoint to provide the regulatory camera views. The software confirmed the camera views were correct before a single camera and pole was installed. This project pushed my career into aviation security, both an interesting and challenging vertical market.