Transforming K-12 and Higher Ed

Transforming K-12 and Higher Ed

Cost has always been the biggest problem; complexity is a challenging issue

A school needs more than great academics and smart students to be an intelligent campus. To support education and intellectual growth, campuses need to be safe, cyber-secure, and very smart.

This does not come as news to community and education leaders. Schools and colleges have wanted high performance security systems for decades. The biggest problem has always been cost, and then there is the complexity of the system, the challenge of integrating video and access control, or the need to hire extra personnel with special skills to manage the system.

For years, elite private schools and universities were the only campuses benefiting from advanced security platforms and video management systems. Thankfully, this trend is shifting, as cost-effective and scalable video management systems and remote access technologies have become available to K-12 school districts and universities across the country. Now, companies like Eagle Eye Networks ofter cloud video management systems that are seamlessly integrated with existing technology, and managed with minimal effort.

Security Capabilities and Suspicious Activity
Violence on campuses is unfortunately something that all education leaders must think about in a proactive way. The most important benefits a school, its students and faculty gain from a cloud-based video surveillance system is bolstered security across the campus.

It is essential, for example, for security staff to be able to react instantly to a troubling situation, whether in the congested hallways of a high school or middle school, or remote locations such as stadium bleachers or large fields of a college campus.

Advanced analytics within a security system can notify security personnel in real time of situations worth addressing, while providing critical information to key decision makers so they can act quickly and decisively. The adaptability and flexibility of these security systems allow for project scalability. Systems can be installed in phases to avoid impacting the school day.

A phased approach makes it easier for schools to budget for security investments, as does the subscription model of payment. Cloud video surveillance requires a small initial investment, and then the school or university pays for the system by subscription – a monthly fee based on the number of cameras, the amount of time video is retained for each camera, and what kind of video analytics are included in the system. Maintenance and upgrades are delivered via the cloud for technology

Taxes and cybersecurity assurance. Features, such as analytics, can be added or removed from the system remotely, at any time. Take, for example, the University of Chicago, which leveraged the advanced capabilities of its cloud-based video management system to ensure student safety in an on-campus residence hall. The university quickly integrated a video management system to manage both exterior and interior cameras at the dormitory. Combined with remote viewing capabilities and motion detection, the cloud-based video surveillance systems enabled the university to enhance security without increasing its on-campus patrols.

Monitoring Insights from Object Counting and Line Crossing
Contributing to the intelligent campus are valuable video analytics such as “people counting” analytics that monitor the number of faculty, students and parents entering and leaving the building. This is particularly helpful for security managers and school administrators at the K-12 level, as it provides insight into the flow of people entering a building at the beginning, middle, and end of the day.

Implemented districtwide, people counting functionality can be scaled to multiple campuses to provide information for security and optimization of school facilities. “Line crossing” analytics can provide real-time alerts when movement is detected in restricted or sensitive areas with high value assets, such as medical supplies and electronic equipment.

Faster Recognition of Loitering, Camera Tampering and Intrusion
Ensuring a secure and safe campus requires around-the-clock monitoring. Advancements in cloud-based video surveillance technology have made this task easier by enabling security teams to manage multiple cameras from a single, centralized space and providing remote access to make it possible to monitor video from a computer or mobile device.

To ensure a swift response, custom loitering or intrusion alerts can be created to set a clear perimeter around designated areas and send a notification the moment an object or person breaches the boundary.

On a college campus that is far too large to physically patrol and monitor efficiently, this technology is a force multiplier, allowing campus security to keep an eye on multiple, large areas at once, like a stadium, field, or parking lot. Camera tampering can also be flagged in real time with instant notifications announcing when a camera is blocked, moved, or otherwise tampered with.

Wellness and Elevated Temperature Support
From heavily populated public schools to small standalone preschools, administrations across the country understand the need to screen for elevated temperature as a way to identify persons who may have a fever, and to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Temperature screenings have become a routine and time-intensive requirement for entering many campuses across the country. By pivoting to a cloud-based video surveillance system, organizations can implement a safe and contactless solution to screening temperatures, which, unlike alternate options, can be performed quickly, and without close contact.

Thermal cameras for preliminary temperature screening have some simple requirements for set up, including being installed indoors, away from wind and sunlight. Thermal camera vendors provide detailed instruction on set up and best practices for thermal camera usage. The cameras use specialized sensors that detect heat, instead of visible light. The camera measures skin surface temperature of an individual’s forehead or inner eye area. It provides visible and audio alerts if an individual records an elevated skin surface temperature.

Meeting Special Education Regulations and Requirements
In recent years, an increasing number of states have introduced strict regulations surrounding the monitoring of special education classrooms in public schools.

Several states now require a video camera in every special education classroom, and require up to 90 days of retention for the video. To meet these requirements, many school administrators are finding that cloud video management systems enable them to meet these requirements economically and efficiently.

Addressing Cybersecurity Concerns
With the proliferation of malicious attacks, cybersecurity is becoming one of the top concerns for education leaders and parents.

First, they want to protect the privacy of students and staff in the classroom and around campus. To do that, it is essential that K-12 and colleges work with a provider of true cloud, one that manages cybersecurity updates continuously. A true cloud video surveillance system can maintain the privacy of student and teacher images through encryption. It can also mitigate malicious software that could harm a school's network and interfere with the learning and education process.

Access Control as a Service
The intelligent campus encompasses access control, as well as video surveillance. Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) is the modern way to bolster the security for any entity in the education space on and off campus. ACaaS is cloud-based and integrates with existing technologies, strengthening remote management in the event of an emergency and creating a more efficient security solution.

Cloud-based access control is a key element of an intelligent campus. From providing a unified security platform with an integrated video system to lockdown capabilities and health-safety tools, cloud-based access control strengthens the ability to monitor, track and instill safety measurements to keep students, faculty, and staff safe.

When cloud-based access control systems are integrated with cloud video surveillance, institutions can more easily and effectively manage security. The ability to act quickly, even while operating remotely, makes integrated access control and video management systems effective and desirable for school districts and higher education campuses.

True cloud video surveillance companies like Eagle Eye Networks have an open platform, which allows the school or university to choose their access control provider. An Eagle Eye system can integrate with Salto KS, Brivo, DMP Virtual Keypad or other leading access control providers.

As an example, the Brivo Access system integrated with video management systems connects access events – someone presenting a credential at a door – with the live or recorded video feeds together in one view, so the security director has lots of information to assess the situation. Security staff can easily see if the user associated with the credential is appropriate, and they can do this in real or near-real time. Moreover, the security manager can do this from onsite or a remote location. The combination allows school administrators to secure every door at a given facility through one interface.

In the case of an emergency event, a lockdown can be initiated from a desktop mobile app, which will immediately secure all doors while notifying all administrators. Priority first responders, including police, Firefighters, and paramedics, can be granted access permissions, so they can perform their critical duties even when a lockdown is active. To reduce confusion or risk after an event has concluded, master and/or senior administrators are established to have full authority over the system and can proceed with the all-clear steps to get normal operations up and running again.

In a world where budget constraints are frequently encountered, collaborating with a third party ACaaS provider like Brivo not only provides a cost-saving solution, but also enhances your overall security when combined with your cloud-based video monitoring solution.

This article originally appeared in the September / October 2021 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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