Harris County Universal Services Public Safety Technology completed a large-scale security network upgrade to NRG Park in October, making the world-class venue a model for 21st century security.
In partnership with NRG Park Security, Siemens and Netsync, the HCUS Public Safety Technology team expanded and enhanced the digital camera coverage across the 350-acre park to help keep visitors safer and make it more viable for international events, such as the Concacaf Gold Cup, NCAA Men's Final Four, College Football Playoff National Championship and potential 2026 FIFA World Cup.
According to HCUS Enterprise Project Manager Darron Brown, the team replaced all coaxial cables with fiberoptic cables and Power Over Ethernet supporting copper cables, replaced all analog cameras with digital cameras, installed facial recognition software in strategically placed cameras and installed new video walls in the park command centers.
NRG Park's video network was also linked with the Harris County Office of Emergency Management and City of Houston Real-Time Crime Center, offering first responders real-time incident information.
"We replaced about 500 cameras, but the features and capabilities of the these cameras are incredibly better and will really help the staff keep better surveillance during major, high-traffic events," Brown said. "NRG Park has a capacity of about 72,000 people, so it needs a highly sophisticated security system to detect or deter possible emergencies. The system has already helped the park with more detections."
"Working with our partners like Ryan Boros and Ryan Walsh to help with their vision of future security at NRG was very rewarding," said HCUS Director of Public Safety Technology Jim McMillan said. "Events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are personally close to me, and my family ends up at NRG Park very often. Thinking about my own family’s safety creates a passion to help improve protection to all families that attend events at this historic site."
The $5 million security enhancement was funded by the Urban Area Security Initiative and Harris County. The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, which manages NRG Park, will assume responsibility of the new security system beginning in November.
“The safety of everyone who visits or works at NRG Park is our top priority, and this enhancement to the security network is a much-needed boost to the never-ending task of keeping NRG Park a safe place," said Executive Director of Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation Ryan Walsh. "We're grateful for the support and funding we received from Urban Area Security Initiative and Harris County for this important improvement.”