As I was watching Obama’s victory speech last night, I noticed that he was flanked on stage by two giant glass walls. I was thinking these could be for sound, wind, or security – and it turns out that yes, they are for security. They’re put up by the secret service, are 10 feet high, and are bullet proof. Given the lateral configuration, this effectively eliminates two major angles of attack, and lets the secret service focus their security efforts in a more narrow field of view.
According to the Daily Mail (a UK publication), secret service extensively tested the venue to see where it’s weak spots were. They even went so far as to scout out potential sniper locations, and fire a laser at the podium, to check the line of sight, and establish the field of view that would need to be covered by them.
It’s interesting to see how they set it up, and also worth noting that instead of resorting to only high tech, transparent security measures for this, the secret service recognized that sometimes the most simple solution is the best – and just put up a big ole’ wall of glass.
One final thought, in light of CNN’s election night hologram technology, which projected correspondent Jessica Yellin as a hologram from Chicago to NYC. Now that the secret services is starting to make glass walls commonplace for high profile speeches, maybe they can start using those as both camera arrays and as virtual displays, to beam virtual speakers around the world, and into overly hostile areas. One comment to Wolf, using that nifty new CNN holographic display: Chill out a bit, buddy. Yeah, it’s a cool new toy, but you don’t need to get so worked up about how high tech it is on-air. Let it slide quietly, and the impact will be stronger, smoother.