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Frequently Asked Questions: SmartSurround® for Parking Facilities


Spiral SmartSurround security curtain

The new Rytec SmartSurround® advanced detection and alert system uses next-generation pattern recognition and advanced traffic-sensing technology to enhance doorway safety for parking facilities. It enables Rytec Spiral® doors to intelligently detect and respond to various traffic scenarios while providing a more aesthetic solution than most other sensors and signaling systems.

This list of FAQs takes a deeper dive into SmartSurround, including what makes it unique, the problems it solves for building owners and how it can significantly improve the parking experience.

What problems does SmartSurround solve for parking facilities?

SmartSurround offers improved visual warning of traffic-to-door activities as well as the ability to recognize when traffic has cleared the doorway. That can improve the door’s ability to close behind legitimate traffic without allowing unwanted “tailgate traffic” to follow or enter behind it.

How does SmartSurround help to prevent “tailgate traffic” from entering a parking structure? How does it do a better job of this than existing door alerting and control systems?

SmartSurround & System4 Technology

SmartSurround utilizes light curtain sensor beams to analyze the shape of the traffic entering the doorway and compares it to the sensor data from the light curtain on the other side of the doorway as the traffic passes through it. With reasonably equal data, the system can confirm that the vehicle has passed through the door threshold. The “single use” of the door is complete and the door can close immediately, even if the door’s auto-close timer is set for a longer duration.

In contrast, most gate or door systems today have a “delay before closing” timer. It starts counting down after a vehicle interrupts the door’s first safety beam. Most systems reset this time value after the traffic clears the last safety beam. For example, let’s say the timer is set for 5 seconds. The traffic uses 3 seconds to get to the door; 2 seconds are remaining on the timer. But as soon as the safety beams are blocked by the traffic passing through the doorway, the timer is reset to 5 seconds. This delay in clearing the door opening can enable tailgating.

How big of a problem is tailgate traffic in urban areas? Is it getting worse?

It remains an ongoing concern for most high-rise residential and mixed-use properties due to increased security and public/private safety concerns. Unauthorized visitors can also create liability implications for building owners.

Can you share several common scenarios where SmartSurround could make a difference in a parking facility? Are there cases where a car enters through the door opening but doesn’t clear the door?

SmartSurround safety sensors on parking garage doorYes. A common example is traffic congestion, either entering or leaving the parking structure. This commonly happens when pedestrians are walking past the door on an adjacent sidewalk. It can also occur when a vehicle has passed through the door but is waiting for traffic to clear so it can enter the roadway. That vehicle or the one behind it may still be blocking the doorway.

Are there other cases where a vehicle may come close to the door opening but doesn’t go through it?

While less likely, some entrance and exit doors have a blind pathway to the door. This is a situation where the vehicle entrance or exit permission is granted at a point where the door is not visible. That means it may take some time for the traffic to reach it. If the vehicle doesn’t get there in the allotted time, the SmartSurround system can help by detecting both the entry and exit of the vehicle through its sensor beams.

Can SmartSurround detect pedestrians loitering near the door opening?

SmartSurround pedestrian sensorYes. Current security devices like gate arms do not prevent unauthorized pedestrians from entering the parking structure. Sensors on existing doors aren’t designed to detect and react intelligently to them.

SmartSurround’s light curtain sensors and intelligent processing of their data can distinguish between vehicles and people. If it detects pedestrians in or near the doorway, it can display a unique set of visual signals on its LED light strips. This makes it a strong deterrent to unauthorized entry, along with the excellent security inherently offered by the Rytec Spiral door.

Why should a parking operator specify SmartSurround? Does it offer any benefits to its residents or visitors?

It’s important to understand how societal changes are affecting the market. In the past, gate arm-style barriers were all that was needed to prevent unauthorized vehicle traffic from entering a parking structure. These traditional barriers are no longer enough. Today, high-speed doors are preferred to prevent unauthorized pedestrians from entering the structure and to provide a higher degree of security.

Can SmartSurround be tied in with access control? Say, if a resident waves a key fob at the sensor at the gate and the system doesn’t recognize it, could that trigger a pattern of colors on the light bars?

SmartSurround can display visual signals based on an activity directly or indirectly related to the door. The door and SmartSurround currently indicate the door is not completely open and can signal that the door is inoperable or has experienced an error. If a signal from another device can be sent to the door controller, then it can display a distinct message using cascading light patterns of the SmartSurround system.

For a high-end apartment, condominium or mixed-use building, would SmartSurround make residents or visitors feel more secure?

Yes. It’s a very visible and effective deterrent to unwanted traffic entry scenarios.

If the security and safety of building visitors, residents or employees is a top priority, then you ought to consider investing in Rytec Spiral doors equipped with SmartSurround.

Learn more about SmartSurround here.


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