Voice of Experience: Dean Barrett, Under Controls

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Dean Barrett of Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Centers is using a single system to manage access, energy, fire safety and lighting.

Dean Barrett
Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Centers
Building Operations Manager
Kansas City, Mo.

Manager's Profile: Supervises operations and maintenance of 1.6 million-square-foot convention center.

The Project: After getting complaints about wildly fluctuating room temperatures and lighting levels in the mid-1990s, Barrett helped sell the city council on a 10-year contract with Johnson Controls to replace an outdated system to manage building operations, including energy management, access, fire safety, lighting and maintenance.

How He Got Funding: Johnson Controls won the contract after guaranteeing the city would save $1.1 million a year in heating, cooling and other energy-related costs at the convention center. The project was later expanded and the guarantee grew to $1.6 million. If savings fall short, Johnson writes the city a check.

Savings: $6.2 million since 1998.

How Security Is Improved: Barrett's Team Uses Johnson Controls' Metasys, a series of controllers that monitor heat, water pressure and other building operations. Data from the controllers—including alerts of problems—are displayed on workstations and computers using Web browsers. For example, the team can quickly and accurately locate tripped fire alarms, control which doors are locked at specific times of day, and who gets card-key access.

Working Smarter: Security staff can monitor fire alarms, water-flow problems and access-control from 10 workstations scattered around the facility or from laptops plugged into the center's network. "It allows us to have our security staff out in the field as much as possible. The days of having a fully-staffed security and operations office, with people sitting around waiting for something to happen, are gone."

Breaking Down Barriers: Barrett's group made use of the existing local area network, installing a router and sectioning off a piece of the network for the Metasys system. This, however, did not sit well with some on the information-technology staff, who worried about security and ruled out dial-up access to the network

His Challenge: "I.T. folks need to understand that we don't want to compromise their systems. We just want to use them. If you bring new uses to them that they're not used to, too often they try to automatically rule them out."

This article was originally published on 2003-09-10
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