Administrators and security professionals at education facilities responsible for formulating policies and procedures to help ensure the safety of students, staff and property are continually searching for more effective and cost-efficient solutions. Perhaps the most significant challenge they face is in identifying the best specific surveillance and security solutions available within their budget that deliver the highest return on investment and lowest total cost of ownership.
Substantiating the need for improved campus surveillance and security technology is no longer such a daunting task. For example, the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security Commission reports that 49,870 criminal offenses were reported on college campuses in 2014. This figure has gone down by nearly 35,000 since 2005, and it is likely that improved security and surveillance technologies are a contributing factor.
Unfortunately, these statistics also point out an alarming trend. According to the Kids Share 2016 report, federal support for education has dropped from a high of $74 billion in 2010 to $41 billion in 2015 – a decline of more than 40 percent over five years. More recent figures are expected to also reflect this trend.
The paradox is that advanced surveillance and security technologies help ensure safer and more secure school environments, but shrinking education budgets are making it difficult for schools to adopt the technologies they need. Surveillance and security suppliers have taken note and are responding with more efficient solutions – many of which are built on Video Management System (VMS) software with open architecture. These highly versatile and powerful VMS control platforms are allowing schools to implement best in class solutions that are scalable, upgradable and economical.
With open platform VMS software, a school’s physical surveillance, security and safety systems can all be integrated onto a single management and control platform. This includes, but is not limited to video surveillance and access control, license plate recognition, content analysis, fire alarm, radiation detection and/or other software-based analytics. Such centralized VMS solutions also eliminate numerous hardware redundancies while reducing manpower requirements to reduce overall costs. Additionally, advanced VMS managed systems can run on standard IT servers with highly efficient tools like touch-screen technology, map-based interfaces, context-sensitive pop-up controls, and time slice forensics that increase overall security and further reduce expenses.
One of the key factors to effective surveillance and security is heightened situational awareness, which typically requires a complement of well-placed high-definition and megapixel cameras. However, not every school has a dedicated network that can accommodate the high bandwidth demanded by multiple high resolution IP cameras streaming live, full-motion video. Advanced VMS solutions could address this by accommodating virtually any combination of HD and megapixel cameras over networks with limited bandwidth. The ability to accommodate a variety of different storage solutions would allow for more versatile and cost-efficient system configurations which can further improve overall cost-efficiency.
Today’s VMS platforms can also provide multiple system operators on- and off-campus with full control over real time video, including PTZ presets, joystick control, digital zoom and more, as well as the ability to search and view recorded video. With a variety of intuitive features built into the user interface, system operators have the tools they need to monitor specific locations under their jurisdiction so they can react quickly to incidents, and even help prevent them from occurring.
This kind of force multiplier for crime prevention and emergency preparedness is being applied in the City of Atlanta’s Operation Shield. Their VMS solution provides police with real-time access to video feeds directly from more than 150 of Atlanta’s public schools. This allows law enforcement officials to closely monitor activities remotely and quickly respond to and manage incidents. The VMS driven system is highly effective in emergency situations, as the schools and police department have been able to capture video of break-ins and vandalism, and identify and apprehend the individuals involved in the incidents.
VMS solutions can also contribute to operations beyond traditional safety and security applications by providing data to otherwise disparate systems such as lighting or HVAC. For instance, video can track facility occupants, especially during weekends or off-hours. Integrated with HVAC or lighting controllers, data from the VMS can help reduce energy costs by automatically activating the system only when specific areas are occupied. VMS solutions can also assist in monitoring deliveries and pedestrian traffic at food service locations, as well as the location of vehicles and equipment, and so much more.
Learn more on how new advancements in VMS technology can help education facilities improve security, contribute to various operations and reduce overall costs.
Watch the recording of the informative webinar from March 14, 2017 which explores the latest advancements in VMS technology and how they relate to today’s challenges. Presenters include representatives from OnSSI ,Quantum and CRUX.
To view a recording of the webinar, click here.