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Tradeshow & Event Security Goes High-Tech

Technovation Solutions & Expocad Offer the Latest in Protection

 by F. Andrew Taylor

The world of events changed forever on October 1, 2017 with the addition of a slew of previously unexpected security concerns. Fortunately, there are companies trying to apply technology to the problem to make for safer and more secure gatherings, but without adding onerous roadblocks to make meetings and special events more trouble than they’re worth.

TS-Security-Technovation“I don’t think technology has changed since Oct 1, but the interest level in the existing technology has raised for obvious reasons,” says Peg McGregor, CEO of Las Vegas-based Technovation Solutions. “A lot of our clients are looking for ways to provide what seems to be appropriate levels of security for everybody. We can provide security from things as simple as panic buttons to facial recognition software. It’s a fully integrated system that sits on a biometric platform.”

What that means in simple terms is that much of the company’s offerings provide more security and oversight without requiring the addition of a lot of hardware.

Technovation Solutions’ Panic Button/Tracker

One of the more basic setups starts with a panic button–a small device with a button not unlike a modern car key. Staff members keep the panic button on their person and when they find themselves threatened or attacked, they can push the button to trigger a silent alarm that can go to the individual’s supervisor, security, the authorities or anywhere else the business deems necessary. It can send a signal to a smartphone as well. The button sends out a signal that lasts for 30 minutes and can be tracked within three meters.

“Historically, a loud alarm can scare the daylights out of a culprit and they can become more aggressive as a consequence,” McGregor explains. “The general consensus is that a silent alarm going to the right people is the way to go.”

The panic button can also be used as a tracker and the company can also provide vendor trackers that keep track of how long an individual has been at a location, the direction they are traveling and it can let those in charge know if they go places they aren’t supposed to go.

“During the Oct. 1 incident they had a hard time finding all of their staff in the chaos,” McGregor says. “This is an immediate way to find out if they’re down, not down or if they aren’t even on the site.”

Communications System Integration

The company also has a communications system that can integrate with the  trackers and facial recognition. It provides the same sort of communication a traditional walkie talkie might, but with some bells and whistles for the modern age, like recording communications and allowing for broadcasting messages to all of the staff or specific staff teams.

“It allows you to get the message out letting the staff know where they are supposed to be and what they should be doing in a crisis,” McGregor says. “You can pre-record messages or compose on the fly. You might have a pre-recorded message that says that there is an active shooter and remind people of the safety protocols that are in place for an emergency situation.”

Security Cameras’ Virtual Trip Wires

The company also has systems that allow the expansion of the functionality of existing security cameras. Alert box areas and virtual trip wires can be added to camera surveillance to trip when, for instance, someone loiters too long near a restricted doorway.

At the company’s headquarters in southwest Las Vegas there are many examples of security setups. One demonstration shows a virtual line on the top of a fence. On the video, a person climbed over the fence, breaking the line. The border of the view screen turned red. All a security monitor has to do is watch for red borders to find out when someone has trespassed or participated in some sort of suspicious behavior.

Facial Recognition Kiosks

Facial recognition could also be connected to law enforcement databases, allowing security to know when a potential bad actor is on the premises. Technovation Solutions has facial recognition kiosks and readers that can be used to greet staff members by name at a door and unlock doors that they have access permission to enter.

Similarly, facial recognition units can be placed in VIP areas or check in areas to greet guests and provide information for them. The company has a wide range of options that can be integrated into a system. Each business can decide how simple or how robust they want their system.

“There are clearly privacy issues and each company has to look into how comfortable they are with the system,” McGregor says. “Everybody has to make their decision based on their own risk management and legal perspectives.”

Expocad’s Event Location Interactive (ELI)

The staff of Expocad (Exhibitor Marketing & Accurate Floorplan Management software), the widely used mapping program for tradeshows, has just released ELI, which stands for Event Location Interactive. The tool allows users to actively track and report trouble to an interactive detailed map of an event that is only available to those given access by the event staff.

The creation of ELI was driven not by the Oct. 1 incident, but rather by the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting three and a half months earlier. A crazed gunman shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise while he practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game for charity. The gunman was then involved in a ten minute stand off and gunfight with law enforcement before he was killed. What stood out to the Expocad staff was that a tactical squad from the Capitol Police Containment and Emergency Response Team was mistakenly directed to Nancy Pelosi’s house, delaying their arrival at the actual active shooter event.

“It sure would have been nice for the authorities to know exactly where the shooter was at,” says Rich Stone, CEO of ACT Inc./Infocad. “We have leveraged our location-based knowledge and automation expertise into a tool for smartphones–a new and innovative tool to manage the unthinkable.”

Since the majority of shows are laid out using the company’s software, for the most part ELI adds an interactive security tool with ease. The program allows the organizer of any event, indoor or outdoor, to add the interactive map and make it available to only those who need it. As an example, Stone cites the possibility of a medical emergency in a large booth at a large tradeshow. With Eli, the person in need of assistance could be quickly marked on the map for paramedics to find, saving vital minutes of searching the tradeshow floor and then finding the right part of the booth.

“Those minutes could mean the difference between life and death,” Stone explains, adding that, “it’s very easy to use. The Department of Homeland Security is very excited about it. We are in process for Dept. of Homeland Security approval and patent application.”

ELI is not an app; it is a mobile website that can be used on any device by anyone with the password. The designers decided not to make it open to the public lest a bad actor makes use of it. In an active shooter situation, the soundless website could lead people away from the active situation, as those near the shooter marked the location as they moved away.

Currently the company is scaling the cost of ELI to the size of the event. “I hope that ELI is never used but if it is needed, it will be invaluable,” says Stone.

Technovation Solutions is located at 5955 Edmond St., Las Vegas, NV 89118. For more info, visit www.technovationsolutions.com  or call (702) 550-2921.

Expocad’s corporate office is located at 69 S. LaSalle Street, Aurora, IL 60505. For more info, visit www.expocad.com or call (630) 896-2281.

This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, p. 32. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septemberoctober_2018_o?e=16962537/64174552


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