Case Study: Integrating Access and Video in a Historical Setting

What’s old becomes new in former Federal Reserve building


The Reserve 301 Battery Street

Purchased in early 2020 by New York real estate investment firm RFR Holding for $145 million, The Reserve featured an existing Symmetry Access Control system from Hawthorne, Calif.-based AMAG Technology. Building on the power of that platform, RFR removed analog video and added new IP cameras monitored with AMAG’s Symmetry Complete View VMS. The integrated solution brings greater situational awareness to the 185,000-square-foot Class A creative office building and events venue in the heart of the San Francisco Financial District.


New Owners, More Upgrades

To maintain the caliber and ambiance of such a unique space, the Reserve wants to continue attracting high-level, tech-focused tenants. As such, technology platforms that provide intuitive security operations and increase the tenant experience continue to be viewed as high-value investments that make the Bently Reserve much more competitive in the commercial real estate landscape.


In 2020, RFR Holding immediately began work to make the space more tech- and networking-friendly to attract top-tier tenants – not an easy task when dealing with exposed brick, concrete and steel. Technology improvements included the implementation of high-definition audio, on-demand video capture, digital videoconferencing, high-speed WiFi, and a segregated and secure fiber optic network for tenants and a special event space at the Reserve. With more than 150,000-square-feet of rentable space, the building continues to be reinvented into tenant space for offices and events.


The property is currently managed by CBRE Group, a commercial real estate services and investment firm. Allied Universal Security Services, San Francisco, manages in-house security and technology operations, with upgrades, service, and maintenance handled by systems integration company Netronix Integration Inc., in San Jose, Calif.

Photo of a front desk with three computers monitoring security


Integration of Video and Access

Symmetry Access Control and Symmetry Complete View VMS integrate to provide a single user-interface for video and access control management. The system leverages best-of-breed cameras, analytics and access control to maximize video for intelligence beyond security.


With such a massive multi-tenant property, having an integrated and flexible video and access control solution was a must for heightened situational awareness centering around the intricacies of the eight-story building, which also features a penthouse, rooftop, basement and sub-basement.


Solution Boosts System Flexibility

Deep integration between Symmetry Access Control and Symmetry Complete View creates a “best of both worlds” scenario for the Reserve. With open architecture at the core of both platforms, the Reserve can easily add new technologies into the Symmetry system now, and well into the future.


Kerisha Jeffryes, Account Manager/Director of Security for Allied Universal Security, said that top among the criteria for the security upgrades was the seamless integration between the access control and video platforms, a process that needed to be accomplished with “no hiccups.”


A Range of Access Control Needs

Jeffryes noted, “We have two sets of turnstiles … three turnstiles with readers on Battery Street, which we control with Symmetry. On our Sansome side of the building, we have two turnstiles with readers that control the entry before you get into the elevators, which also have access card readers inside.

sets of turnstiles with symmetry

“Our main entry into the building is our ADA and commercial lane turnstile, which also has a card reader. So, all nine of our elevators have card readers controlled by Symmetry, our five turnstiles are controlled by Symmetry, and we also have Symmetry-controlled card readers inside our stairwells on each floor. On a day-to-day basis, we either grant access or deny access using the turnstiles. Tenants currently in the building carry cards to gain access.”


Jeffryes said another critical area is the building’s MPOE Room. “We have a card reader there for the technicians that come in and out. This helps us track to see where people are. If we deactivate a card, we get the reading right on the alarm-monitoring side of Symmetry. We also have a fingerprint reader on the MPOE Room to provide an additional layer of security, … an alert will pop up on our Symmetry Access Control [system] to let us know that a door was opened. From there, the integration between Symmetry and the cameras lets us see a live view.”


Integrated Alerts 24/7, Anywhere Security Officers Go

Symmetry Complete View integrates all alerts to the security command post, three computer workstations in the lobby, and tablets used by security officers, ensuring they have 24/7 access no matter their location within the building.


Many Rooms, Many Cameras

Altogether, building security officers are monitoring approximately 80 cameras through Symmetry Complete View, in public spaces on the first floor, basement and sub-basements including 16 exterior cameras. The cameras come in handy in particular in the sub-basement area, an “intricate maze” with many blind spots, and in each of the building’s nine elevators.

Photo of security camera in top corner of a a room near a window

Seamless Interface: Comprehensive View

Jeffryes said the interface is extremely user-friendly, even from an administrator’s point of view.


“A lot of platforms require extensive training and instructions to operate. With Symmetry Complete View everything is on one screen, showing the camera at that exact location on alarm. Even new security guards unfamiliar with the building and the solution can get through an eight-hour shift with confidence.”


“Symmetry Complete View includes an alarm view that’s amazing because you have video of the alarm on the dashboard and you’re able to make a decision immediately on the appropriate response,” Jeffryes said “It’s like a mini command center using the camera’s views. The connection has been seamless.”


Transitioning to IP

Scott Jarrett, Account Executive, Netronix Integration Inc., San Jose, Calif., said the space included its share of challenges, with “lots of aesthetics that couldn’t be tampered with or would require coordination with a general contractor to be able to pull cable and then put it back to its original state.”


“We knew we were going to have some challenges, but we’ve been able to work through them easily,” Jarrett said. “It’s interesting to set up clients in the building and construct networks between floors to give them the type of high-tech connectivity users desire today. It can be accomplished—bringing a historic building up to today’s technology standards.”


More Upgrades to Come

Expansions to the system will include the addition of more elevator control, intercoms, visitor management and card access into the integrated video and access control system building-wide. The Reserve is also testing the use of video analytics including “objects left behind” scenarios in certain areas, and Jeffryes says there has been discussion about adding phones to door intercoms to allow security officers to respond via intercom and Symmetry Access Control instead of physically walking to unlock entrances.


Additional cameras are planned in areas such as the front entrance to discourage skateboarders, loitering, and transients on the Reserve’s expansive front steps, and in elevators tied to access control. Additional intrusion detection at doors and a visitor management solution are also in the works for common areas where optical turnstiles are already in place.


The stone façade makes retrofitting wiring and executing upgrades on the access control side more difficult, Jeffryes continued. “It’s very challenging. The front doors are old-school push doors that aren’t motorized at all. So even trying to add a card reader to make them secure takes more steps than a typical door.”


Tight Security

Jeffryes is especially impressed with Symmetry’s access-control reporting and its ability to create tight parameters for each cardholder profile. This is especially helpful on weekends when staff might be lighter and users who don’t have access to the building are trying to get in. “The one thing about Symmetry is Symmetry doesn’t lie. We receive strict instructions to make a specific profile for a person, and Symmetry sticks to them. It makes keeping the building secure so much easier and efficient.”


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