Guest Blog: Assessing the Tone of the Situation
- By Cameron Javdani
- April 26, 2017
Over the last several years, there has been a noticeable increase in school violence, burglaries, vandalism and other threats that have moved school officials across the country to rethink their existing security systems and procedures. As such, educating security directors on the importance of deploying a complete security solution that maximizes situational awareness, improves visitor management and shortens response time is becoming more important than ever. One simple, yet effective campus security option that is commonly overlooked is the dynamic combination of audio and video monitoring for additional verification.
Security professionals have traditionally utilized video as the primary method of security for schools. However, the industry has begun to see that this strategy is no longer adequate. Security teams who solely use video to evaluate a situation are left with limited evidence that is many times inconclusive and unusable. With the inclusion of audio, campuses can access the tone of a situation in real-time and prepare accordingly. Much like the way in which people use their various senses to assimilate data, security solutions are more effective when they integrate multiple technologies to capture a scene.
In addition to ensuring the basic security needs are met and accounted for, the integration of audio also provides a variety of other compelling benefits for schools. Beyond detection, audio monitoring can create opportunities for preventative measures. For example, by implementing technology such as two-way audio, main entrance staff can screen visitors before they even enter the building. Upon approaching the entrance of the campus, the push button is used by the visitor from the outside. The button then activates a pop-up window on the school security video screen in the main office, providing a visual ID of the individual. Once the visitor is identified and deemed admittable, the management/security staff can then release an access control security lock within the door allowing them to enter. In the event that an unwanted visitor walks onto school property, a two-way audio unit allows security the ability to contact them in real-time. Having the ability to communicate in real-time and let the trespasser know they are being watched and law enforcement has been contacted may be enough to deter from committing an offense. This effect can even be accomplished without the physical presence of personnel by recording a warning message that plays automatically whenever audio or video sensors detect suspicious activity.
For a truly secure campus, decision-makers may also want to consider audio analytics as part of the overall security upgrade. Schools deal with a variety of risks, attacks and breaches that simply cannot be addressed through the use of security cameras alone. This is where audio analytics come into the equation. Audio analytics, or sound detection software, has the ability to analyze and identify a sound in real-time and send an immediate alert to school personnel and law enforcement to provide an early warning. School staff can then employ a mapping interface within their VMS software to post alerts and activity in real time. These alerts are sent out by either text messages or email, and can be shared with local police, effectively reducing response time to incidents such aggression or gunshot.
It is imperative for school staff, security personnel and integrators to research and utilize all solutions that have the potential to enhance student safety. Audio monitoring is becoming a more standard part of security in the education sector, but there is still a general lack of knowledge regarding its value. Security systems must start becoming more proactive and less reactive to help prevent incidents rather than simply keep record of them.