Founded in 1871, Fulton County School System is the fourth largest school district in Georgia, United States. It consists of 101 schools and administrative support buildings, including 67 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, 17 high schools and eight charter organizations. Fulton’s mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for its more than 96,000 students and more than 12,000 full-time employees.

To help enhance safety Search Technology at more than 100 schools, Fulton has installed a full Avigilon surveillance solution that includes Avigilon cameras with self-learning video analytics, Avigilon network video recorders, and Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software with Avigilon Appearance Search technology. Fulton is also deploying Avigilon Access Control Manager to secure physical access points, providing an integrated security solution for the district.

Fulton sought to replace analog cameras with an end-to-end high definition surveillance system camera system in order to maximize protection

Simplifying Recording And Capturing Of Footage

Fulton sought to replace analog cameras with an end-to-end high definition surveillance system camera system in order to maximize protection, enable proactive event response, and facilitate the recording, capturing and sharing of clear footage with its school board, police and the concerned public.

Securing more than 100 buildings is no easy feat, but it’s of utmost importance to the Department of Safety and Security at Fulton, which also includes the School Police and Student Health Services and Emergency.

Upgrading Video Surveillance System

With recent data showing above average student incident rates and student disciplinary concerns at some schools, upgrades to the surveillance system were needed to allow better local and remote monitoring in important areas.

One of the biggest security challenges we face is our ability to reliably monitor important areas throughout our schools, especially during an emergency. With Avigilon, we not only benefit from exceptional image quality, but their advanced video analytics, like Avigilon Appearance Search technology, save us valuable time and effort, ultimately making our schools a safer place.” - Paul Hildreth, Emergency Operations, Safety and Security, Fulton County School System.

Avigilon high-definition cameras with self-learning video analytics and access control solutions have been installed in 101 schools

Appearance Search Technology

Avigilon high-definition cameras with self-learning video analytics and access control solutions have been installed in 101 schools. ACC 6 video management software with Avigilon Appearance Search technology is a particularly exciting new development for the district.

We chose Avigilon because of the capabilities it offers in its advanced video analytics search technologies, including Avigilon Appearance Search,” said Paul Hildreth, Emergency Operations, Safety and Security for Fulton. “Their analytics are easy to set up and use, and can save us valuable time and effort, ultimately making our schools a safer place for generations to come.

Video Data Analysis

Avigilon Appearance Search video analytics technology uses a sophisticated deep learning artificial intelligence search engine to sort through hours of footage with ease. This technology allows Fulton’s operators to click on a button and search for all instances of a person or vehicle across all cameras on a site, quickly and efficiently. This can save Fulton time and effort during critical investigations as Avigilon Appearance Search technology intelligently analyses video data, helping to track a person’s or vehicle’s route and identify previous and last-known locations.

Avigilon self-learning video analytics enable proactive, real-time event response. Built from the ground up to manage high-definition video, Avigilon offers self-learning analytics on camera resolutions of up to 5K (16 MP).

Avigilon Multisensor cameras were also set up to capture challenging angles and provide total coverage within a 180 to 360-degree area

Avigilon H4 Platform

Avigilon H4 bullet and dome cameras from the new H4 platform were installed, offering self-learning video analytics, greater resolution performance and Wide Dynamic Range support. Avigilon H4 cameras are available in 1 to 5 MP and 4K Ultra HD (8 MP) resolutions. Avigilon Multisensor cameras were also set up to capture challenging angles and provide total coverage within a 180 to 360-degree area.

Upgrading the district’s surveillance solutions began three years ago with a single high school as a pilot program. The success of this replacement led the district to integrate ACC in other school projects and, in 2014, Fulton opened new administrative centers with both Avigilon access control and video surveillance solutions. At the start of 2017, Fulton began implementing a three-year approach to completing the upgrade.

Image Quality And Resolution

Before switching to the Avigilon solution, the district was challenged with low system reliability, which resulted in not having video evidence when needed. Furthermore, in situations where there was recorded footage, it was not of high enough quality to provide value. With the installation of Avigilon video surveillance, Fulton has benefited from exceptional image quality and resolution across wide areas in all lighting conditions.

The ongoing Avigilon implementation will provide the district with crucial and powerful insights that can help save time and effort during critical investigations. With the help of Avigilon trusted security solutions, the future looks bright for Fulton County Schools.

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Importance Of Establishing Security Standards For K12 School Security
Importance Of Establishing Security Standards For K12 School Security

As we approach National Safe Schools Week (October 21-27), it is appropriate for a conversation to begin regarding establishing standards for K12 school security. Currently no standards exist for assisting schools navigate the complexity of understanding what they need, how much it will cost and how they will secure their learning environments. Security Industry Experts The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) is one of the organizations at the forefront of establishing security standards for schools. In 2014, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) formed PASS, which brought together a cross functional group of members including school officials, safe schools’ consultants, law enforcement and security industry experts to collaborate and develop a coordinated approach to protecting K-12 students and staff. School administrators are often contacted repeatedly by organizations with multiple safety and security products PASS has provided valuable insights regarding an ‘All Hazards’ approach to school safety and security. In fact, PASS suggests that school administrators are challenged with two decisions: Determining what they need to do How to prioritize Safe School Environment School administrators are experts in running schools and providing education. However, most are not security experts and do not understand the complexity of implementing a comprehensive physical security and safety program across their districts. Still, they are often contacted repeatedly by organizations with multiple safety and security products. School administrators are experts in running schools and providing education, but most are not security experts  Some of these organizations recognize their products are just pieces of a safe school environment puzzle and how they fit in, whereas others focus on specific applications and do not understand how their specific solutions may affect life safety codes and Americans with Disabilities Act law. (Note: Many ‘barricade devices’ fall into this latter category and actually introduce liability concerns with the unintended consequences of their use.)Schools incorporate evacuation drills as part of their emergency preparedness plans and practice on a regular basis Even for experts, the plethora of options and disparate systems required to integrate a safety and security approach at schools is daunting. The ongoing challenge is integrating access control, video, mass notification, and/or visitor management products into a single, effective, and appropriate system the owner can understand, utilize, and afford and that meet local codes and ADA laws. In the absence of standards, schools are likely to amass a collection of devices that do not constitute a comprehensive solution. Lack Of Consensus In years past, the our industry and commercial buildings adhered to legacy codes – like Building Officials and Code Administrators International Inc. (BOCA), Uniform Building Code (UBC), Southern Building Code Congress International Inc. (SBBCI), and International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) – which have traditionally been revised every three years, while local jurisdictions decided what versions to adopt and enforce. Currently, however, there is a move toward the International Building Code (IBC), which is published by the International Code Council (ICC) and includes standards and guidance for commercial buildings on doors, windows, and other openings. A risk assessment is the next step toward developing a comprehensive security plan, and begins with developing a trend analysis Still, despite this migration of codes from a patchwork of local decisions to global guidelines, there remains a lack of consensus around school security. The current fragmented approach causes confusion regarding how new schools are designed and how to retrofit existing school buildings, whose average age is 45+ years. Right Protection Equipment One can point to the fact that there hasn’t been one student lost in a school fire in over 50 years as testament to standards like NFPA 80 and NFPA 101 being referenced in model building codes. Additionally, schools incorporate evacuation drills as part of their emergency preparedness plans and practice on a regular basis. It’s not just having the right protection equipment in the building, it’s also having a procedural layer in place to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in the event of fire. The stress of the actual event can limit ones’ ability to think clearly. Practice makes perfect. Why would we approach school security any differently? School security is a team effort, and it is important to understand all the areas security impacts and involves School security is a team effort. It is important to understand all the areas security impacts and involves. PASS suggests starting with a basic team consisting of: Security Director Local Law Enforcement School Administrator Integrator Door and Hardware Consultant IT Director Comprehensive Security Plan Quantifying and mitigating risk are the jobs of security professionals and school administratorsA risk assessment is the next step toward developing a comprehensive security plan. This often begins with conducting a trend analysis requiring the collection of data from a variety of public and private sources. The challenge is to pull these pieces into a usable and easily understood format that provides a guide for current and future risk concerns. Risk assessment and mitigation can never eliminate risk. Quantifying and mitigating risk are the jobs of security professionals and school administrators. Data from the following sources can help measure risk: Campus: Review incident report trends for at least the past 36 months. Area and city: Review crime data from local law enforcement for the surrounding neighborhood and city. Screening procedures: How is hiring conducted? Anonymous tip reporting systems: Enabling students, staff members, parents and the community to anonymously alert administrators to perceived and actual threats. Social media monitoring: such monitoring can provide important information that can be used to identify risks. Monitoring social media could help measure risk for school safety Delay Adversarial Behaviors These assessments can then be incorporated into the best practice approach of Layered Security. Layered security combines best practice components within each layer that effectively deter, detect and delay adversarial behaviors. Layered security works from the outside in. As one layer is bypassed, another layer provides an additional level of protection. The asset being protected is at the center of the layers – students, staff and authorized visitors. PASS defines five layers of Security:As one layer is bypassed, another layer provides an additional level of protection District Wide Property Perimeter Parking Lot Perimeter Building Perimeter Classroom/Interior Perimeter Appropriate Tier Target Each layer can be broken down into Tier levels with Tier 1 being basic and Tier 4 being the highest level of security. It is important to understand that the demographics of individual school buildings varies, even within the same district. Security experts will quickly point out that ‘if you’ve seen one school, you’ve seen one school’. The assessments will determine the appropriate Tier target. Figure 1 Each layer includes essential protective elements, or components, of security. Every layer does not necessarily include all seven of these common components, and a layer may include additional components unique to that particular layer. Safety And Security Components Policies & Procedures People (roles & training) Architectural Communication Access Control Video Surveillance Detection and Alarms Layered Security While components are not listed in a priority order, three components included in all layers are policies and procedures, the roles and training of people, and communication. These components often perform a function in every layer and every tier in each layer. Three tools come together in the PASS approach as outlined in the new 4th Edition of the PASS Guidelines (Figure 2) - the Layers are established and defined, a Checklist/Assessment breaks down each layer into tiered best practices which then tie into the guidelines where a narrative explains each best practice in more detail. Figure 2  Schools need not reinvent the wheel when it comes to school security planning. Following the best practices of Risk Assessments and Layered Security will ensure that every school building in a district will have a unique and comprehensive plan that is tailored to their individual needs.

What Is The Changing Role Of Training In The Security Industry?
What Is The Changing Role Of Training In The Security Industry?

Even the most advanced and sophisticated security systems are limited in their effectiveness by a factor that is common to all systems – the human factor. How effectively integrators install systems and how productively users interface with their systems both depend largely on how well individual people are trained. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the changing role of training in the security and video surveillance market?

Dispatches From GSX 2018: A Smaller But Successful Show For Visitors
Dispatches From GSX 2018: A Smaller But Successful Show For Visitors

The last day of Global Security Exchange (GSX) in Las Vegas proved to be the calm after the storm. But a slower third day could not undermine a largely successful 2018 show for exhibitors and attendees. Sometimes the success of a trade show isn’t measured by numbers of attendees (which were reportedly down again this year). Sometimes it’s the individual successes that make an impression. “Just learning about this made the whole trip worthwhile,” said one GSX attendee at the Johnson Controls booth, referring to the company’s new PowerSeries Pro intrusion devices. It’s the kind of feedback that makes the expense of exhibiting at a big trade show worthwhile. The new PowerSeries Pro is an extension of Johnson Controls’ existing line that is expressly designed for the commercial security market. The ‘hybrid’ (wired or wireless) device offers ease of installation and full cybersecurity including 128bit AES encryption with spread spectrum for no jamming or interference. It employs frequency hopping technology first developed for the Israeli defense force. Wireless Technology For Cybersecurity PowerG eliminates the need for wires by providing ‘invisible wired technology’, a marketing term that emphasises the cybersecurity of the product PowerSeries Pro uses PowerG wireless technology and expands the portfolio of PowerG devices from residential through commercial. For use in a wired solution, the main advantage is ease of installation; terminal blocks ‘pop out’ easily and can be wired and plugged back in. Alternatively, PowerG eliminates the need for wires by providing ‘invisible wired technology’, a marketing term that emphasises the cybersecurity of the product – wireless at the same level of cybersecurity as wired. Johnson Controls addresses three big factors with the product line: cybersecurity, user control, and easy installation and dependability. It’s part of Johnson Controls’ broader approach to provide ‘one-stop shopping’, enabling an end user to control their environments, video and access, and protect their contents, according to the company. Need For More Security In K-12 Schools In addition to reaching end users, lock company Allegion sees the show as an opportunity to meet with technology partners. “It’s great to bring together a concentration of people in the industry,” said Brad Aikin, Channel Led Business Leader, Integrator Channel. “We have had good conversations with technology companies here at the show in terms of partnering, both physical access control and OEM partners. We have also had good conversations with the integrator channel.” From speaking with education end users at GSX, Aikin sees a large unmet need for security in K-12 schools, more so than in colleges and universities. “K-12 is underserved,” he says. “They need to identify their priority of needs, and now they can serve needs they couldn’t before, both layering levels of security and phasing in implementation over time. Now things can be applied and tried out without disrupting the environment.” An example is the Von Duprin RU RM (Remote Undogging and Remote Monitoring) door exit devices, which are being integrated by access control partners Sielox, IDenticard and Vanderbilt. Intelligence is added to the door exit device to enable inexpensive monitoring of secondary, previously unconnected doors. The doors can be monitored and locked or unlocked at various points in the day. Lock company Allegion sees the show as an opportunity to meet with technology partners Bridging The Gap Between IT And Physical Security One exhibitor – ADT – noticed more information technology (IT) professionals accompanying their physical security counterparts at this year’s GSX exhibition. “They come along to kill dreams on the spot,” said Morgan Harris, Senior Director Enterprise Solutions, noting the IT department’s frequent hesitancy to add untrustworthy elements to the network. ADT is looking to transform and expand its 144-year-old brand in the commercial security space and has completed eight acquisitions in the last year to accomplish the goal. Some of the acquisitions build on ADT’s expanding cybersecurity initiative, which is both a fully-functioning stand-alone business and an effort to bridge the divide between IT and physical security. ADT is positioning itself to manage enterprise risk in the broadest sense. Combining IT And Cybersecurity The Internet of Things (IoT) is fuelling convergence but are we missing out on how to talk to each other and communicate effectively between IT and security?" “The Internet of Things (IoT) is fueling convergence but are we missing out on how to talk to each other and communicate effectively between IT and security?” asked Harris. “Projects have failed because information was lost in translation.” ADT seeks to have skillsets, experience and certifications on both sides of the issue. “It enables us to be the in-between,” says Harris. “We can blend the two together and be the translator. It’s great for both sides, advocating for security counterparts and for the network simplifies deployment and processes.” Harris sees a trade-off between cybersecurity and convenience in the industry. For example, if a manufacturer says they have a simplified process and only offers firmware updates once a year, cybersecurity suffers, he said. Lack of third-party testing is another way that manufacturers sometimes trade cybersecurity for convenience, at heightened risk to integrators and end users. Training Courses For Integrators And Partners Milestone Systems is expanding its level of involvement with integrator partners, and now provides Partner Business Reviews (PBR) to assess an integrator’s activities, sales and training, pipeline and marketing initiatives. The partner reviews often uncover issues that can be easily rectified through additional training, says Megan McHugh, Milestone’s Training Marketing Manager, Learning and Performance. Milestone uses a dashboard to track each integrator’s completed training courses and can point out additional courses needed to ensure an integrator partner’s success. Milestone offers a variety of in-person, e-learning and YouTube video courses to train installing partners, systems integrators and self-integrators on best practices Milestone offers a variety of in-person, e-learning and YouTube video courses (in 12 different languages) to train installing partners, systems integrators and self-integrators on best practices. ‘Cloud Labs’ are instructor-led online classes. All courses are linked to a variety of support resources. Sometimes a simple checklist accessed on a smart phone can ensure that every aspect of an install is performed and can instill added confidence in customers. The open platform company’s new agile development cycle – releasing multiple versions of XProtect software throughout the year – creates extra challenges to keep learning initiatives up to date. Along with each new release, various existing courses are updated. The concepts of “training and certification” are being replaced at Milestone with “learning and performance,” says McHugh. Milestone is also looking to hire 170 new R&D staff and open a new center in Barcelona (in addition to current R&D centers in Copenhagen and Sofia, Bulgaria). Making Camera Installation Easy Hanwha Techwin is another company that is seeing more interest in cybersecurity, as well as concern about whether a product is supported professionally. They have doubled-up production in South Korea and added capacity in Vietnam to avoid manufacturing in China. Thinking about their integrators, Hanwha Techwin is putting more emphasis on making installation easy. Installation costs may be up to 50 percent of a job, so easier installation frees up money to buy more or better cameras. With a new design of their cameras, an electrical contractor can now install the camera base and conduit, and then the integrator can easily plug in the camera later. Camera bases are common across multiple models, so a customer could switch out a 5-megapixel for a 2-megapixel camera later on if they want to (same housing plate). ‘Skins’ allow the color of cameras to be changed to match surrounding décor. “We are changing the idea of how people approach selling a camera, and it’s a whole new idea of how to install cameras,” said Tom Cook, Senior Vice President, North American Sales, Hanwha Techwin. Hanwha cameras can include a sound classification analytic to detect sounds such as gunshots Cameras With Sound Detection Technology Hanwha offers more flexibility in the field – interchangeable parts are packed together to enable configuration on site. And there is no need to stand on a ladder to position cameras; stepper motors help with remote camera positioning. Multi-sensor cameras have modules (combining lenses and sensors) that can be switched out at installation. Hanwha Techwin cameras can also include a sound classification analytic to detect sounds such as gunshots, screams or glass breaks, especially useful in K-12 education environments. Unification and the customer journey were a key emphasis for Genetec at GSX 2018. Unification for Genetec means combining multiple functions on one platform, from one vendor and using one source code. The company approaches the market by analyzing each customer’s journey as it relates to Genetec products. A typical customer journey involves (1) a company looking for standalone systems; (2) the need to centralize systems through integration and unification; (3) increasing automation and workflow; and (4) adding intelligence for more informed decision-making. “Genetec wants to get more in-depth with customers, be more comfortable with their business, and understand their challenges,” said Derek Arcuri, Product Marketing Manager. “We want to get naked with our customers.” Machine Learning Engine For Crime Prevention In the city of Chicago, Citigraf detects patterns in crime behavior and determines where a crime is likely to occur There was a big crowd at the Genetec booth, and not because the comment was applied literally. Genetec has divided itself into multiple parts, each focused on a vertical market such as retail or transportation. The approach is to operate as a ‘federation of startups’, with each market sector accountable to fill in the gaps in the portfolio to meet the specific needs of each vertical. For example, Genetec’s Citigraf is an unsupervised machine learning engine with an algorithm to detect anomalies and trends from a large pool of data in a municipal environment. In the city of Chicago, Citigraf detects patterns in crime behavior and determines where a crime is likely to occur. The system alerts operators in a bureau or area that has a higher risk level and should beef up the number of first responders. Chicago has seen a 39 percent decrease in average response time of first responders as a result. In the retail market, Genetec leverages the security infrastructure to analyze shopping trends and provide data for merchandising and operations. “Each customer is getting a portfolio of products tailored to the industry they are in,” says Arcuri. Demonstrating IoT Devices Axis Communications displayed its range of products at GSX, demonstrating its almost total transformation from an IP camera company to a supplier of a full range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. “Axis is broadening its portfolio to include more solutions,” said Scott Dunn, Senior Director, Business Development Systems and Solutions. “Our success is driven by continuing to innovate our portfolio. The market is continuing to grow, and Axis is continuing to expand its market share.” Eight ‘Axis Customer Experience Centers’ around the United States help Axis stay close to their integrators, customers, partners and prospects. IP addressable audio speakers from Axis can provide music as a service, and then can be interrupted for audio messages on behalf of physical security Axis has offered access control IP edge devices since 2013, and now has a new A1601 door controller being sold with partner-only software (no embedded Axis software like previous A1001 devices). In audio products, Axis has a portfolio of speakers, intercoms, and public address systems. Acquisition Of IP Door Intercom Company Enhancing the audio line was acquisition in 2016 of 2N, an IP door intercom company headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic. In North America, the 2N team is now fully part of Axis. The line emphasises simple architecture, programmability, and the ability to integrate widely. The products use Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to integrate through the cloud or peer-to-peer. IP addressable audio speakers from Axis can provide music as a service, and then can be interrupted for audio messages on behalf of physical security. Retail, education and enterprise customers are gravitating to IP audio. An IP bridge can tie existing analog components into the IP system. For perimeter security, Axis offers a radar device to help eliminate false alarms, as well as thermal cameras.