A Look Back at the Boston Marathon: Organizers Realize Benefits of Collaboration

The Boston Marathon is an iconic event. It is the oldest marathon in the world, having been held 119 times. Runners from across the globe strive to qualify for the competitive event, itself not an easy task. In 2015, for example, qualifying standards in the 35 to 39 age group were 3 hours and 10 minutes for men, and 3 hours and 40 minutes for women.

The City of Boston itself, with its storied history and its enthusiastic residents, are just some of the reasons for the race’s significant following. Boston is the capital of and the largest city in Massachusetts and the largest city in New England — and the 24th largest city in the United States. It’s also one of the oldest cities in the country; it was the scene of several key events during the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston. In fact, the city’s rich history attracts a large number of tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting more than 20 million visitors a year.

The 2015 Boston Marathon marked the event’s second running since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Just two years ago, Dzhorkhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted bombs near the Boylston Street finish line, killing three people and injuring approximately 260. This year, the sentencing phase of the Boston Marathon bombing trial — on hold the day the marathon took place — elevated security concerns and the city, race organizers and local and federal responders worked diligently to ensure a safe day for runners, spectators and residents.

Collaboration drives new levels of awareness

The security efforts around this year’s race on April 20 were deemed a success. A big part of this achievement was because of the unprecedented level of public sector and private sector collaboration. Race organizers, along with the Boston police, expanded upon already robust security technology systems by incorporating new surveillance technology, including a network of HD 4K cameras and a robust video management software solution.

A DVTEL Latitude Network Video Management System (NVMS) was chosen to seamlessly merge associated DVTEL surveillance networks, typically used by various entities throughout the Metro Boston area for routine monitoring, scene recording and investigations, into a single system to achieve new levels of intelligence and allow authorized agencies to access comprehensive video footage across the marathon route.

Officials monitored activity from multi agency command centers to maximize efforts while ensuring collaboration between law enforcement, event organizers and other aligned stakeholders. Latitude NVMS provided global situational awareness by linking the camera networks together to deliver greater visibility — provided more insight into safety and security operations.

The primary goal of integrating these separate networks together was to allow security data to be managed and shared effectively among police and city officials as well as other critical stakeholders, in a streamlined fashion. This approach helped command center personnel quickly assess and react to potential incidents while enabling a proactive approach to identifying risks.

Overall, the ability to integrate video surveillance into the command and control center allows any city, especially a densely populated metro like Boston, to provide proactive response and keen situational awareness to public safety officials and first responders.

A model for success

Since the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, officials at sports and special events throughout the country have elevated their focus on safety, and, therefore, have increased investments in surveillance technologies to monitor suspicious acts, mitigate risk and effectively manage and respond to incidents. Boston has invested in cameras from DVTEL, which are used to help police take a more proactive approach to safety while boosting security for high-profile events like theBoston Marathon, other sporting events and the popular annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

This year, local systems integrator and DVTEL partner Lan-Tel Communications deployed new HD cameras to ensure high-quality video was captured in high-risk or high-traffic areas along the marathon route. The cameras were selected for their ability to be quickly deployed and will be re-purposed for future events.

The 2015 marathon proved to be a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the power of a consolidated surveillance network, especially as more sporting event organizers have turned their attention to security and safety; increasing their investments in surveillance cameras and systems to help monitor suspicious acts; and prevent risks and effectively manage responses in the event of possible emergencies. In Boston, officials hosted organizers of other large marathons to show how they leveraged the substantial camera network to keep a watchful eye on every mile of the marathon, while showcasing strong collaboration between local and federal agencies, and first responders.

Boston has invested significantly in ensuring a high level of safety not only for the marathon, but for the entire city year-round. It has created an environment that provides law enforcement with greater visibility respond to incidents. This year’s collaborative efforts were a significant achievement, and other race and special event organizers now look to Boston as a model for security and safety. Overall, the success of this year’s race is a testament to the power of collaboration, and to the police officers and first responders who help to keep cities safe every day.

Ron Grinfeld is director of global vertical marketing, vertical markets champion, at DVTEL, Inc.

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