The sad reality of today’s campuses, whether K-12 schools or college campuses, is that they can no longer be areas anyone is welcome to enter; there must be steps taken to prevent someone who would enter the campus with intentions to harm students, teachers, and staff. For years many organizations have been reactionary, thinking some of the horrific acts of violence happen elsewhere but could not happen here.

However, recent events, especially the Parkland shooting, have caused many to realize they must be proactive. People who studied education most likely have no formal training in the security field, yet now they are expected to make expert decisions about campus security. So how can those in this field make the best choices with regard to campus security? Paul Fisher shares four things to consider when developing campus security.

Access control system

Integration has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the security industry for the past few years

Integration has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the security industry for the past few years. People understand the need for different technologies to communicate effectively and reliably, and to provide law enforcement, firefighters, and school administrators with seamless communication with security systems so they can effectively do their jobs.

“Many of the recent tragedies have caught us, from the campus security side, off guard,” Paul Fisher, Director of Key Accounts, at Salient Systems said. “Just because I have this access control system, this camera system, and a gunshot detection solution, security professionals still need to confirm these products are going to work seamlessly together.”

Seamless interoperability

Unfortunately, Fisher says, as 9/11 taught us, seamless interoperability isn’t always the case. “While many security consultants might say certain technologies should or must integrate, they don’t necessarily go through the process of step-by-step implementation and review,” Fisher said. “You need to ask yourself, ‘If this is happening, what should happen next?’”

The main goal of the consulting world is to fit a video system or a security system into the budget of the school district or bond, and unfortunately, things might get left out as schools don’t always have enough money to outfit their campuses with a fully effective security solution.

Video surveillance systems

Schools can focus on physical hardening aspects of security, such as a man trap area in a vestibule

Fortunately, attitudes in this area seem to be shifting as campus security professionals address real threats towards their campus and begin to be proactive about implementing a solution that truly integrates and interoperates with the various layers of available technology, as well as with campus readiness programs and local law enforcement. Schools can focus on physical hardening aspects of security, such as a man trap area in a vestibule or bulletproof doors.

Another technology that campuses are finding useful is gunshot detection. While this technology is not new, it has certainly become far more effective than it was in its earlier iterations, and when integrated properly with video surveillance systems and cellphone map technology, it can be an incredibly useful tool for law enforcement entering a potentially deadly situation and for those who need the earliest possible warning.

Law enforcement awareness

“If you talk to students and really listen to the stories that come out of the shootings,” Fisher said. “So many times, the kids say, ‘We thought it was something else; we didn’t realize it was a gun.’ Until they realize the gunfire is right next to them, they don’t know what is happening.” As soon as the gunshot is detected, that’s an early warning for the teachers and students to get out of the hallways and into a classroom or an area where they can lock the door.

Another related technology that must integrate with an overall security system is automatic lockdown. As soon as the school realizes there is the potential for an event, it must have the ability to lock down as many doors as possible while still providing the ability to see inside the school, so the responding officers have a better idea the threat and giving staff and law enforcement awareness into the situation.

Facilitate Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is closely tied in with a campus security system’s integration with other technologies

Fisher says most schools use their video surveillance systems primarily for investigation purposes after the fact, but to truly save lives, schools must be able to offer useful live video feeds to law enforcement. This requires integration with gunshot detection systems that can pinpoint the spot where a shot was fired and highlight the live feed from nearby cameras.

A simple interface must give an officer, who may not be trained in such a system, the ability to know where the camera is located and the direction it is pointed so that he or she has the situational awareness necessary to find and neutralize the threat as quickly and safely as possible. This situational awareness is closely tied in with a campus security system’s integration with other technologies.

gunshot detection system

To help organizations better capitalize on this technology, Salient’s platform is offering the ability to implement maps into a cellphone device, Fisher says.“So now with a handheld device, cellphone or a tablet, approaching law enforcement, if given that access, can look at a map that will show the direction the camera is pointed and its physical location on the map of the facility,” Fisher said.

“If the video surveillance system is tied to the gunshot detection system, it would trigger the camera to change colors indicating this is the general direction the shot came from. With a camera that is physically located in the area, the instant video will show exactly what’s happening in the camera view area.”

Good financial fiduciaries

For educational institutions, finances are probably the biggest barrier to getting the most effective system. Those making the decisions must not only spend the allotted money wisely, but they must spend it on proven technology. Schools can’t afford to spend it on a new technology that makes huge promises but fails to deliver.

Local businesses often partner with law enforcement who will come in and do an evaluation of the facility

One way Fisher says educational organizations can ensure they are good financial fiduciaries is to cultivate partnerships with local, state, and even federal law enforcement agencies. “A security consultant addressing a school board doesn’t have as much weight as your local FBI saying it,” Fisher said. Local businesses often partner with law enforcement and the FBI, who will come in and do an evaluation of the facility.

Law enforcement agency

“They come into ports, airports, critical infrastructure on a daily basis and provide a threat assessment. It would be valuable for school districts to go to local or state level and even a federal level law enforcement agency and ask for an evaluation of their campus,” Fisher said. “Those evaluations would provide a high level of assurances for a school board when they propose a bond request.” Institutions must partner with the right companies to truly get the most out of their security solutions and integrations.

“The industry started with proprietary technologies in everything they did,” Fisher said. “And then it moved to an open architecture approach. Security industry manufacturers are now moving back to a proprietary format, meaning that companies have decided they want to be the jack-of-all-trades and the master of none. They offer access control, cameras, VMS, analytics—they try to wrap it all up and say they can do it all.”

Video security solution

Fisher says it is the companies that continue in an open architecture approach that has the ability to really hone in on the best-of-breed technologies and provide the flexibility to adopt and deploy the best available components of a total solution. “We are committed to helping you design the best video security solution for your needs,” Fisher said. “And we will integrate with companies that offer products that meet those needs.”

Integration between systems can be one of the most important features for day-to-day users of the security system. If multiple security technologies are in place, integration of those technologies should be a goal for most organizations’ security programs in order to maximize benefits from each system.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Safety In Smart Cities: How Video Surveillance Keeps Security Front And Center
Safety In Smart Cities: How Video Surveillance Keeps Security Front And Center

Urban populations are expanding rapidly around the globe, with an expected growth of 1.56 billion by 2040. As the number of people living and working in cities continues to grow, the ability to keep everyone safe is an increasing challenge. However, technology companies are developing products and solutions with these futuristic cities in mind, as the reality is closer than you may think. Solutions that can help to watch over public places and share data insights with city workers and officials are increasingly enabling smart cities to improve the experience and safety of the people who reside there. Rising scope of 5G, AI, IoT and the Cloud The main foundations that underpin smart cities are 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Cloud. Each is equally important, and together, these technologies enable city officials to gather and analyze more detailed insights than ever before. For public safety in particular, having IoT and cloud systems in place will be one of the biggest factors to improving the quality of life for citizens. Smart cities have come a long way in the last few decades, but to truly make a smart city safe, real-time situational awareness and cross-agency collaboration are key areas which must be developed as a priority. Innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping center, or the main roads through towns Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping center, or the main roads through towns. From dangerous drivers to terrorist attacks, petty crime on the streets to high profile bank robberies, innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT and cloud technologies can go some way to helping respond quickly to, and in some cases even prevent, the most serious incidents. Many existing safety systems in cities rely on aging and in some places legacy technology, such as video surveillance cameras. Many of these also use on-premises systems rather than utilising the benefits of the cloud. Smart programming to deliver greater insights These issues, though not creating a major problem today, do make it more challenging for governments and councils to update their security. Changing every camera in a city is a huge undertaking, but in turn, doing so would enable all cameras to be connected to the cloud, and provide more detailed information which can be analyzed by smart programming to deliver greater insights. The physical technologies that are currently present in most urban areas lack the intelligent connectivity, interoperability and integration interfaces that smart cities need. Adopting digital technologies isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. Smart surveillance systems It enables teams to gather data from multiple sources throughout the city in real-time, and be alerted to incidents as soon as they occur. Increased connectivity and collaboration ensures that all teams that need to be aware of a situation are informed instantly. For example, a smart surveillance system can identify when a road accident has occurred. It can not only alert the nearest ambulance to attend the scene, but also the local police force to dispatch officers. An advanced system that can implement road diversions could also close roads around the incident immediately and divert traffic to other routes, keeping everyone moving and avoiding a build-up of vehicles. This is just one example: without digital systems, analyzing patterns of vehicle movements to address congestion issues could be compromised, as would the ability to build real-time crime maps and deploy data analytics which make predictive policing and more effective crowd management possible. Cloud-based technologies Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation that is needed to overcome the limitations of traditional security systems. Using these, smart cities can develop a fully open systems architecture that delivers interoperation with both local and other remote open systems. The intelligence of cloud systems can not only continue to allow for greater insights as technology develops over time, but it can do so with minimal additional infrastructure investment. Smart surveillance in the real world Mexico City has a population of almost 9 million people, but if you include the whole metropolitan area, this number rises sharply to over 21 million in total, making it one of the largest cities on the planet. Seven years ago, the city first introduced its Safe City initiative, and ever since has been developing newer and smarter ways to keep its citizens safe. In particular, its cloud-based security initiative is making a huge impact. Over the past three years, Mexico City has installed 58,000 new video surveillance cameras throughout the city, in public spaces and on transport, all of which are connected to the City’s C5 (Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Citizen Contact) facility. Smart Cities operations The solution enables officers as well as the general public to upload videos via a mobile app to share information quickly, fixed, body-worn and vehicle cameras can also be integrated to provide exceptional insight into the city’s operations. The cloud-based platform can easily be upgraded to include the latest technology innovations such as license plate reading, behavioral analysis software, video analytics and facial recognition software, which will all continue to bring down crime rates and boost response times to incidents. The right cloud approach Making the shift to cloud-based systems enables smart cities to eliminate dependence on fiber-optic connectivity and take advantage of a variety of Internet and wireless connectivity options that can significantly reduce application and communication infrastructure costs. Smart cities need to be effective in years to come, not just in the present day, or else officials have missed one of the key aspects of a truly smart city. System designers must build technology foundations now that can be easily adapted in the future to support new infrastructure as it becomes available. Open system architecture An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations For example, this could include opting for a true cloud application that can support cloud-managed local devices and automate their management. An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations and deliver additional value-add services to citizens as greater capabilities become possible in the years to come. The advances today in cloud and IoT technologies are rapid, and city officials and authorities have more options now to develop their smart cities than ever before and crucially, to use these innovations to improve public safety. New safety features Though implementing these cloud-based systems now requires investment, as new safety features are designed, there will be lower costs and challenges associated with introducing these because the basic infrastructure will already exist. Whether that’s gunshot detection or enabling the sharing of video infrastructure and data across multiple agencies in real time, smart video surveillance on cloud-based systems can bring a wealth of the new opportunities.

Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?
Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?

As an industry, we often speak in buzzwords. In addition to being catchy and easy to remember, these new and trendy industry terms can also reflect the state of the security market’s technology. In short, the latest buzzwords provide a kind of shorthand description of where the industry is - and where it’s going. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new buzzword(s) rose to prominence in the security industry in 2020? (And how do they reflect industry trends?)

Biometrics Provides Industries With Security, Access Control And Data Protection
Biometrics Provides Industries With Security, Access Control And Data Protection

Several major players vigorously employ biometric recognition technologies around the globe. Governments use biometrics to control immigration, security, and create national databases of biometric profiles. Being one of the most striking examples, the Indian Aadhaar includes face photos, iris, and fingerprints of about 1.2 billion people. Financial institutions, on their part, make use of biometrics to protect transactions by confirming a client's identity, as well as develop and provide services without clients visiting the office. Besides, biometric technology ensures security and optimizes passenger traffic at transport facilities and collects data about customers, and investigates theft and other incidents in retail stores. Widespread use of biometrics Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is an active user of biometric technology Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is another active user of biometric technology. Industries choose biometric systems, as these systems are impossible to trick in terms of security, access control, and data protection. Being in demand in business, these three tasks are also relevant for the industry. However, the use of biometrics at industrial sites is discussed unfairly seldom. Therefore, it is the face identification that is the most convenient there, as workers often use gloves, or their hands may be contaminated, and the palm pattern is distorted by heavy labor. All these features make it difficult to recognize people by fingerprints or veins and significantly reduce identification reliability. Therefore, industries seek facial recognition solutions. Thus, let us demonstrate the application of face recognition technology at different enterprises, regardless of the area. Facial recognition use in incident management Facial biometric products are known to automate and improve the efficiency of security services by enriching any VMS system. These systems provide an opportunity of instantly informing the operator about recognized or unrecognized people, and their list membership, as well as save all the detected images for further security incident investigation. Furthermore, some sophisticated facial biometric systems even provide an opportunity to build a map of the movements of specific people around a site. Besides, it is relevant not only for conducting investigations but also in countering the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Identifying and tracking COVID-19 positive cases Therefore, if an employee or visitor with a positive COVID-19 test enters a facility, the system will help to track his/her movement and identify his/her specific location. It will also help to take the necessary measures for spot sanitary processing. Thus, the introduction of biometric facial recognition at the industrial enterprise can improve and speed up the incidents’ response and investigations without spending hours watching the video archive. Access control system to secure physical assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets, cut personnel costs, and keep employees safe. Facial recognition systems may enrich access control systems of any company by providing more security. As biometric characteristics, by which the system assesses the compliance of a person with the available profiles in the database, cannot be faked or passed. The human factor is also reduced to zero, due to the fact that while identity documents can be changed, the inspector can make a mistake or treat his/her task carelessly, be in collusion with an intruder, the biometric system simply compares a person in front of the camera with the biometric profiles database. Biometric facial identification software For example, RecFaces product Id-Gate, a specialized software product for reliable access control to the site, checks the access rights by using biometric facial identification alone or in conjunction with traditional IDs (electronic passes, access keys, etc.), which means that there is almost a zero probability of passing to the site by someone else's ID. The access control system’s functionality allows one to strictly account the number and time of all the facility’s visitors and also track their movement. When unauthorized access is attempted or a person from the stop list is detected, Id-Gate sends an automatic notification to the access control system and operator. Enhanced data and information security Even despite the division of access to different industrial enterprise areas, the security service needs to provide independent information system security. Employees with the same facility access rights may have different access rights to data. However, in that case, a personal password is not enough, as an employee may forget it, write it down and leave it as a reminder, tell a colleague to do something for him/her during the vacation, or just enter it at another person’s presence. Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure Password-free biometric authentication Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure. Such systems usually provide an option of two-step verification when successful password entry is additionally confirmed by biometric recognition. Hence, it is particularly relevant due to the current lockdown in many countries. To sum up, the application of biometric technologies solves several issues of the industry, such as: Optimizes and partially automates the work of the security service, as it provides reliable identification and verification of visitors/employees, reduces the amount of time spent on finding a person on video and making a map of his/her movements, without spending hours on watching video archive in case of investigation. Provides a high level of reliability and protection from unauthorized access to the enterprise and the information system. Provides a two-step verification of the user/visitor (including password and biometric data) and almost eliminates the risk of substitution of user data/ID.