The Power to Protect
Many of today’s schools employ sophisticated integrated security systems
- By Ronnie Pennington
- June 17, 2020
Improving safety and security at schools and campuses is a critical
topic of discussion amongst school administrators and the myriad
security professionals serving the education marketplace.
Where simple measures like requiring visitors to check into
the principal’s office to get a handwritten pass was once more of
a general courtesy than a security measure, many of today’s schools
employ highly sophisticated integrated security systems replete with
video surveillance, access control with identity authentication capabilities
like facial recognition, visitor management, and more.
Unfortunately, the latter is as much in response to the rash occurrence
of incidents that have occurred at schools across the country, as
well as the development of advanced systems technology that affords
new levels of safety and security with numerous other operational
benefits for schools and campuses.
This new breed of sophisticated security systems being deployed at
educational facilities across the country takes on many different
shapes and sizes depending on the size of the facility or campus, its
location, perceived security threats, and so on.
As different as each system may be, they have all been designed
and built on a foundation of power and transmission solutions. Aside
from technicians and engineers tasked with designing and installing
these systems, most people don’t consider power and transmission
solutions to be the primary components in a system, as they typically
would management so aware or new smart edge devices and cameras.
But without power and transmission technologies, many of the new
advanced systems being installed today would simply not be feasible.
Here’s an overview of four innovative power and transmission solutions
that are helping make campuses safer, more secure and efficient.
Making access control more affordable with 4PPoE. One of the latest
new developments is the development and deployment of a revolutionary
new means of powering access control utilizing the recently standardized
4PPoE or 4-Pair PoE to remotely power 12VDC and 24VDC
devices using an IEEE 802.3BT power source. Without diving into the
technical details, these new 4PPoE solutions allow access control panels,
locks, readers and ancillary devices to be powered over CAT6 cable
without the need to use high voltage – or an electrician.
In addition to dramatically reducing installation costs for conventional
areas where access control is typically deployed, this allows
access control systems to be easily expanded in areas where electrical
outlets or wiring are not readily available. Prime examples in schools
and campuses include back stairwells, equipment storage areas, and
parking lots and garages, to name a few. Now installers can use one
structured cable carrying both power and bidirectional data to protect
these areas, their occupants and assets within.
Using existing cabling with EoC. Advanced Ethernet over Coax (EoC)
Solutions enable legacy analog coax cable to be upgraded to accommodate
new networked IP solutions. Removing the need to rip and replace
old cable with new Ethernet cable delivers significant savings, since this
alone represents what can often be the most expensive aspect of a security
and surveillance system upgrade. EoC solutions provide the additional
benefit of including both power and data over a single coax cable,
supporting PoE, PoE+ and Hi-PoE IP devices while reaching distances
up to five times standard Ethernet range without the need for repeaters.
EoC solutions provide schools and campuses with a huge advantage
and incentive to upgrade outdated systems with new, highly effective and
cost-efficient networked surveillance and access solutions. It’s also important
to note that the conversion from analog to networked systems can be
done on whatever scale and pace that best meets the school’s budget.
New, more advanced solutions can be deployed in locations where they
are needed most, like main entrances to education centers, dormitories,
libraries, sports and entertainment facilities, while retaining legacy analog
systems in secondary areas until funds become available to upgrade.
Making the long run with fiber and copper. Sometimes standard
EoC solutions simply don’t cut it, especially when edge devices like
cameras or access readers need to be located at great distances from
the security head-end or command center. In these instances, Ethernet
to Fiber media converters allow edge devices to be installed at
distances over a mile while delivering power and data from the headend,
utilizing composite copper and fiber optic cable. This greatly
extends the reach of perimeter security and increases situational
awareness in areas like parking lots and garages, and sports fields.
Battery back-up with more life. One of the basic facts surrounding
any electronic system is that it can simply stop working if the power
goes down – unless there’s a sufficient back-up power supply in place.
Given the remote and distributed nature of surveillance and security
systems, Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) solutions are often
impractical for installation across large schools and vast campuses.
Hence, most surveillance, access and security systems deploy battery
back-up systems to maintain operation as long as possible during
power outages and brownouts. This is typically a compliance mandate
for access control systems to ensure entry and egress are continually
maintained. However, battery life has been a longstanding issue, often
causing systems to stop working before power is restored.
Recently introduced Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery backup
solutions have ushered in a new generation of DC power, virtually
rendering Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) batteries obsolete. Although the initial
purchase price of a LiFePO4 battery is more than a conventional SLA
battery, it offers a significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries have up to a 10-year shelf life and
allow for rapid charging and discharging, delivering more uptime to
keep systems running longer. Power and transmission solutions with
LiFePO4 battery back-up systems are a smart investment to ensure
your school and campus remain protected when the power goes down.
Like a good education, advanced networked surveillance, access
and security systems require a great foundation to build on. Innovative
power and transmission solutions deliver a smarter and more
resilient surveillance, access control and security foundation that can
make education facilities safer and more conducive to learning.
This article originally appeared in the May June 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.