‘Two years ago, I accepted the position of facility manager for Amsterdam Music Dome Exploitatie. At the time, work had just started on casting the concrete ground floor for the Dome.’ says Ruud Bongers. This was the start of a hectic period for Bongers, which has involved specifying and purchasing all kinds of equipment and furniture varying from items as mundane as tables and chairs to the sophisticated access control and intrusion detection system. In his position as facility manager, Bongers is currently responsible for all building plant and systems, including the security systems such as the camera system and the access control and intrusion detection system.
Bongers and a project manager of Black Box jointly analysed which systems were available on the market, finally narrowing down the candidates for access control and intrusion detection to a shortlist of three. Because Ziggo Dome was looking for a system that could offer more than just access control and intrusion detection, Nedap’s AEOS system was finally selected as the winner. Bongers explains why: ‘We also wanted to be able to set up links to other building systems in the future, such as the heating system, the air conditioning system, the beer cooling system and, something that is very important here, the lockers for visitors. So we were actually looking for something that offered building management system functionality. The other suppliers on our shortlist were only able to offer access control and intrusion detection systems.’ The future-proof nature of the AEOS system swung the scales in its favour at the end of the day, because we were really choosing a platform and the system’s scalability and flexibility were decisive factors.
In addition to future-proof functionality, the system also helps to satisfy a further key requirement, which was PIN identification in order to gain access. This feature was required as a solution for specific challenges faced by the event venue. Madonna’s last performance here is a good example. When having 300 people at work here for that event, you can’t issue an access pass to each individual. So a PIN code is an ideal solution. AEOS is very easy to use and the codes can be created in just a few minutes. Bongers acknowledges that this is not really a high-security solution, but rather a clear choice in favour of a compromise between convenience and safety. ‘Because the building is compartmentalised, this isn’t really a problem as somebody who has a code will eventually come across a door that doesn’t allow code entry. An identification unit with a card reader and keypad is fitted to all doors. For security reasons, a code will not unlock all doors as some are programmed to only react to an access pass. Furthermore, a combination of a code and a pass is also possible. This applies mainly for doors for which only permanent employees have access rights.
"Of all the doors in the building,
The access control functionality in the Ziggo Dome is mainly used to separate the backstage area, used by the performers and their crew, from the public areas. The offices are also a separate block with access control. Bongers: ‘AEOS is designed to ensure that the public stays in the areas it is allowed to use and to grant staff members access to the areas where they need to be. Of all the doors in the building, 103 are equipped with access control and a further 60 are programmed to allow access to people in possession of a PIN code.’
Certified intrusion detection
Furthermore, the system offers grade 3-certified intrusion detection performance. ‘That was a requirement for LiveNation’, says Bongers. ‘When a show is built up the day before an artist will be performing the next evening, a lot of value is in house. You wouldn’t want to have to cancel a show because for example Eric Clapton’s guitar was stolen during a break-in.’
AEOS has been in operation for a few months now and Bongers’ findings are constructively critical. ‘AEOS is easy to use and effective. Particularly the access control functionality; we hardly have any problems in that area...’He has some criticism of the intrusion detection functionality. But, as his explanation reveals, that is partly attributable to the people who operate the system. ‘We have to make a point of walking a final fire inspection and closing-up round in order to check that all the doors are locked. If you don’t, you can’t switch on the system. But the problem is mainly caused by people who don’t take the time required to close up properly.’
Before we say goodbye, we can’t resist asking whether the system is completely foolproof - or have fans already been able to circumvent the system and sneak into their idol’s dressing room? Bongers laughs and tells us about the precautions taken by some of the leading performers. ‘When Madonna was here, we weren’t even allowed to access this floor. There was a bodyguard blocking the door, so any ideas you might have had about coming up here to get a cup of coffee were wishful thinking. The moral of the story is that the performer has a major say in how things are organised here. But in my experience, most performers are really pretty normal. For example, I shared a lift with Paul Simon this summer.’