Smart technologies for safe learning

One of the main goals of any educational facility is to provide a safe environment for students to learn. It is important to foster a safe learning environment to enable teachers, parents, students, and staff to feel confidant that they are secure within the facilities at all times.

Security solutions being implemented today provide more intelligence than ever before. Providing accurate intelligence about potential ongoing incidents, they enable increased proactivity and the ability to take action without human interaction.

These smart technologies play a large role in keeping schools safe, while also having the added benefit of providing information quickly and easily that can be used for investigations, or even to make better decisions within the school as to how to use resources. In this post, I will outline the top 10 smart technologies schools are using today to foster a safe learning environment.

Smart cameras

Camera technology has evolved to embrace analytics to visualize threats before they become incidents. Built-in intelligence allows surveillance cameras to make assessments beyond simple motion detection, including loitering, object classification, crossline detection, thermal imaging, and smoking or vape detection, alerting officers when these occur.

Furthermore, sound detection analytics can generate an immediate alert in reaction to the sound of breaking glass, aggression, or a gunshot. In addition, nearby PTZ cameras can be turned towards the area of the noise – giving security officers and law enforcement as much time and information as possible to respond to the threat.

Smart access control

Network-based access control solutions installed at school entrances provide clear two-way audio communication and high-resolution visual validation of school visitors, no matter where school resources are located.

Access control technology can also be used to reduce theft, vandalism, and accidents in key locations inside the school. In server and utility rooms where vital infrastructure is housed, in school laboratories containing expensive equipment and dangerous chemicals, in computer rooms, media centers, and even front offices or secure vestibules, access control brings obvious benefits.

Access can be permission based, but it can also be scheduled – which is particularly useful for managing after school activities, for example by granting scheduled access to coaches and teams who may be using the gymnasium in the evening. These smart access technologies are easily programmable from anywhere on the school network which allows schedules to be managed for holidays, as well as changed for events like school plays or when the facilities are used for the public such as during local and national elections.

Smart visitor management

Visitor management is a very important part of keeping schools secure. With the use of intelligent IP intercoms, school administrators can grant visitor access remotely from the front office or even from home via their smartphone.

With the ability to program multiple buttons to call different areas, the main entrance can allow a call to the secretary from one button, while another calls the daycare or after school program. These are easily programmable and open technology which allows for them to connect in numerous ways to fit the individual requirements including using the existing SIP phone system, the VMS, or even the cloud.

With the ability to connect these to the VMS as well as the access control system, each entry can provide a log of who entered the school via access control credentials as well as a visual log of who used the card, or who was granted access as a guest.

Intelligent audio solutions

Network audio solutions can be an effective complement to an integrated security solution. For example, if a camera detects an intruder on school grounds at night it can trigger a pre-recorded message or alert a remote security resource to issue a verbal warning, thus potentially deterring theft, or vandalism, or simply making important announcements to give some order to student movements. Network speakers also allow for school resources to broadcast important messages from anywhere via their smartphone – either broadly to the entire school, playground, and parking lot, or to an individual classroom or zone.

Smart wearables

Body worn solutions document events and capture valuable evidence. They’re also an effective way to deter bad behavior and positively influence the actions of camera wearers, such as school guards, and the public alike.

Body worn cameras protect school officers and security guards against unruly students or intruders by deterring aggression and abuse. Not only do they safeguard workers, but they also provide a sense of secure and more pleasant environment for officers, teachers, and students.

These devices can be used by staff in student housing, as well as by school security staff at events such as sporting events or concerts on the premises. The video can be easily accessed via the existing VMS promoting a holistic approach to the campus’ security.

Smart visual aids

Deterring intruders, improving operational efficiency, can also be achieved with intelligent network-based strobe sirens, and schools can benefit from the power of light and sound to warn and notify multiple needs on a school premises.

With strobe lighting and siren alarms, school administrators can signal if a class is about to start, or in an emergency situation, to signal a lockdown or climate change. If located at a parking area with a boom gate, the strobe siren can signal if access is granted or denied. Additionally, these alarms can be connected to a camera with perimeter protection or license plate recognition (LPR) analytics, or to a network speaker for an increased level of deterrence.

Smart parking solutions

Keeping people and property safe is a priority for parking services. Smart parking solutions give you powerful ways to take control of security from every angle.

Automated violation detection lets you address parking in restricted areas. Vehicle access control enables you to manage who comes and goes. Advanced surveillance deters theft and vandalism, empowers quick response, and saves clear evidence for post-incident investigation. With integrated audio, you can even use pre-recorded or live messaging to alert drivers of violations, warn against criminal activity or unwanted behavior.

By using smart cameras to protect the parking lot, installing license plate recognition (LPR) analytics can allow for data to be saved with the corresponding plate numbers, as well as whitelisting and blacklisting certain plates to prevent unauthorized access of the parking lot and notify that a specific vehicle is on the premises.

Adding an IP radar to the LPR solution can also provide speed detection which will notify security of an infraction along with the license plate and through the use of a strobe siren or IP speaker can also warn the driver they are driving too fast.

Proactive detection and deterrence

Most edge-based analytics today can help to mitigate incidents reducing the overall cost of school operations, while also many times have the added benefit of being free. Some common issues on school property can include graffiti, defacing monuments or statues, arson, general damage, or vandalism of athletic fields.

Often, this type of mischief happens after school hours when there is no staff on site to witness the act. Many school campuses have the added complication of not being entirely fenced. While this welcoming design feature allows people to use school grounds as a shortcut home, to walk their pets, or to use the basketball nets, it does make it more difficult to prevent damage or vandalism from happening.

By using tools like object classification and loitering analytics in the cameras and adding an audio device, security can take a more proactive approach to protecting the campus from unwanted and costly behavior. The cameras can wait until someone has spent too much time on the property to just be walking through, then automatically play a message asking the person to move along. If the message is not heeded, a secondary alarm can then trigger notification to campus security or a guard service.

Forensic search

Forensic search offerings are designed to accelerate forensic investigations. They give you complete control allowing you to efficiently search for objects, people, attributes, movement, incidents, and more in a scene. Plus, it’s possible to securely recover and share video evidence.

Intelligent forensic search offerings help speed up an investigation and ensure you find the evidence needed, even if only basic information is known. It allows you to continually change the search criteria, even while a search is in progress, using various metadata terms, search criteria, and attributes.

When an incident does take place, forensic search tools make it simple to find an incident based on parameters such as if it was a person, what color clothing the person was wearing, the type of vehicle involved and what color it was. Beyond speeding up a post incident investigation, this can also help both with an ongoing incident to quickly assess the situation.

Analytics for building intelligence

Smart cameras can provide intelligence for use cases beyond security. People counting and occupancy solutions can provide a reliable way to count people and understand foot traffic in different areas, providing real-time occupancy levels and data on the number of people present in certain areas at specific times.

This information helps to understand traffic flow and occupancy trends so you can improve how spaces are used such as common areas, areas where students congregate, or rooms that are being blocked off for students to use for different tasks but may not be being utilized. It can also be necessary to make sure that defined areas are not overly occupied. With reliable counting of people in both directions simultaneously, security can be notified of a certain occupancy threshold and take the appropriate actions.

Making schools safer and more efficient

We all want our children to enjoy their school life, and we also want to know that schools represent a safe and secure environment. Smart surveillance and security solutions and analytics deliver on these goals, allowing school administrators and staff to focus on delivering an inspiring environment for learning, without compromising on student safety.

More information about Axis solutions for education can be found here.

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