Guardian chihuly3 webFiber SenSys and Industry Partners Collaborate to Provide Fiber-Optic Intrusion Detection System at Glass Museum Site


A high-profile museum project in Seattle, WA included IP camera surveillance for interior and exterior common spaces, perimeter security, access control and alarm monitoring. An outdoor architectural/ art piece was developed as a fence line with plants surrounding the art. The alarm monitoring scope of work required perimeter protection for the garden areas. 

Marketplace Challenge

Like many secure locations, the owners did not want any part of the security system to be visible. The project needed a way to monitor the artistic fence for intruders attempting to breach the fence line without the security solution being seen by the public. 

Customer Challenge

Dale Chihuly is well known for his glass art. This museum was developed to show this art both in interior gallery spaces and in an outdoor venue. The space includes an outdoor garden with both live plants and blown glass art intermingled. At this location, it was very important to protect this art from vandals and from persons trying to enter the garden using unauthorized access methods such as climbing the fence.  The fence is a series of curved iron poles sunk into a cement foundation and welded together at specific locations so as to resemble tall grass. This does not allow anything to be installed directly on the fence that can be seen.  The planting near and around the fence does not allow for a buried sensor to monitor ground vibration. In addition the use of volumetric or beam sensors was impractical due to the obstructions created by the rocks, the fence and the plants.


In looking at the fence requirements, FSI systems integrator Convergint Technologies, of Renton, WA, determined that attaching a fiber optic based sensor cable just below the soil/ bark surface of the fence would solve this problem. Fiber SenSys, along with Convergint Technologies visited the site and empirically tested the solution on a section of the fence with success. A design was developed that included five zones attached back to Fiber SenSys receivers. These zones were monitored by a Lenel security management system.  The alarms generated by the system also triggered camera call- ups and PTZ presets on the Avigilon Video Management System (VMS) to view the affected areas from the Chihuly Museum Security Management area.


After several system tuning and calibration sessions, the perimeter security alarm solution is working very effectively in meeting the design requirements which included monitoring the fence for persons vibrating or climbing the fence. Alarm notifications from five individual protection zones are recorded and are integrated with the VMS for appropriate camera call-ups and recording. This was accomplished without altering the aesthetics of the art while ensuring that the system was monitoring and protecting against accidental or intentional intrusion.


Convergint Technologies is a service-based North American integrator of Electronic Security, Fire Alarm & Life Safety, Healthcare Technologies, Communications and Building Automation. The company provides professional services that seamlessly combine both systems and enterprise integration skills to integrate disparate facility systems to meet customer's evolving security business requirements.