Enhancing Security Through VMS
Six ways new VMS technologies can enhance security and operations at educational facilities
- By Ken LaMarca
- December 01, 2018
Keeping K-12 schools safe is a challenging business.
School administrators and security personnel face the
task of weighing real and perceived threats, and finding
effective and cost-efficient ways to address them while
maintaining a non-threatening environment. In addition,
new threats such as active shooters, terrorists, cyberattacks, and
more add complexity to planning for school security and risk mitigation
within tight school budgets.
New Video Management System (VMS) solutions can meet K-12
schools’ security needs by providing higher levels of integration, ease
of operation, and the ability to scale systems in accordance with future
physical expansion and budget plans. They also can extend the use of
VMS and surveillance beyond typical safety and security applications
to address enterprise-level operations such as maintenance scheduling
and event management.
Here are six ways that advanced VMS technology provides specific
solutions for education facilities.
THE ABILITY TO INTEGRATE
Schools often lack the resources to have someone monitor live video at
all times. As a result, surveillance is often used primarily to document
and investigate incidents after the fact. VMS can offer increased functionality,
integration with other security and non-security systems,
ease of use and cost-efficiency. For example, schools can use a VMS to
combine surveillance, access control, and other Physical Security
Information Management (PSIM) solutions into a single platform to
provide an increased layer of security.
Mobile device apps have put physical security management and control
in the palm of our hands, offering real-time situational awareness
from any location, increased productivity, and even incident prevention.
Additionally, users can access multiple HD images in real-time
from a mobile device or PC with a standard web interface. For example,
while on rounds, security officers can use their smartphones or
tablets to send or view live video to or from the VMS of potentially
dangerous situations such as a flooded parking lot, a suspected perpetrator,
or a broken window for immediate or scheduled response.
Some VMS mobile apps also feature system alerts when a meaningful
event occurs such as an object left behind, as well as the ability to
control PTZ camera positioning at full frame rates. To preserve the
quality of high-resolution video while reducing the bandwidth requirements
large video files place on networks, VMS is capable of compressing
video to manageable sizes to deliver full-motion video from multiple
megapixel cameras to mobile users. This allows school security
end users to monitor, manage, and control live or recorded HD video
streams from virtually anywhere.
ENHANCED SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
One of the keys to effective security is increased situational awareness.
Advanced VMS solutions heighten situational awareness through software
that enables event fusion. Combining unrelated events can dramatically
focus and streamline live surveillance activities and aid in
forensic investigations. This is especially true in large schools with
multiple sites and cameras. Situational awareness is also closely tied to
product performance. With multi-streaming camera support, the
default stream can be set to low resolution while continuing to record
high-resolution video. This allows school security directors to view
more video streams while assuring that the highest quality video continues
to be recorded.
Advanced VMS solutions with mobile capabilities allow law
enforcement and first responders to remotely view live video in the
event of a school security emergency. This real-time situational awareness
can increase both the speed and effectiveness of responders by
allowing them to assess situations as they unfold.
Many VMS solutions offer licensing with virtually unlimited scalability
that a security school director selects today will be capable of accommodating
future expansion without requiring the purchase and
deployment of additional software. This is especially important in a
school environment, where budgets are carefully monitored.
School surveillance doesn’t have to be expensive. Today’s IP-based
solutions allow various systems, areas, and locations to be tied together
for management of live and recorded video, eliminating the need for
on-site staff to manage video at each location. Additionally, an openplatform
VMS that provides school security directors with the freedom
to choose best-in-breed components that fit within their budgets.
Interoperability and connectivity can make it possible for users to consolidate
and share information from video surveillance and other
security systems that are not in the same building.
As surveillance cameras and VMS help administrators improve
schools’ operations, including managing disciplinary problems or
monitoring the flow of students between classes, physical security systems
can be amortized over other operations budgets. Video can also
be an excellent resource for legal issues, especially in the event of injury
EASE OF OPERATION
Investment in a VMS solution is a major decision for schools, and its
ease of use is an important factor in both the product selection and in
the success of its implementation and usage. Today’s VMS platforms
are created with the user experience in mind, featuring intuitive operation
with maximum flexibility and functionality. Design features such
as the ability to view and control the system from anywhere on the
network with overlay controls and touch-screen operation simplifies
the user’s experience.
With numerous new information and control capabilities for K-12
security, VMS solutions have evolved into a holistic control platform
and management tool. Most importantly, they
now deliver levels of performance to actually help
school administrators and security personnel prevent
problems from occurring rather than just
documenting and responding to them.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.