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article imageSchools are looking to digital security solutions

By Tim Sandle     Aug 20, 2017 in Environment
Schools and colleges need to be safe environments where students can study and interact with each other safely. Such education institutions also need to be safe from break-ins or from dangerous events, like fires. There are several digital solutions.
To protect students and property, schools and colleges are examining new technologies as part of their overall digital transformation strategies. For example, the use of video recording provides a mechanism to deter crimes and record court-admissive evidence. This not only covers school property but it can also extend to the school bus. Such systems can also provide real-time alerts to incidents.
One provider of such technology is the company ACTi, which uses an advanced image processing algorithm to detect the movement of people or objects over a predetermined virtual line. The intelligent system can be used to detect people crossing over the fence or entering the restricted area. Once a person has been detected, a mobile notification and alarm can be sent immediately to a security team.
Other solutions that schools are considering are access controls that can be integrated with a surveillance system. This can be used to prevent identity fraud by providing video proof and entry log at the same time for verification. Such situations could arise, for example, if a teacher’s pass was stolen.
A school bus enters Marysville-Pilchuck High School to evacuate students in the aftermath of a shoot...
A school bus enters Marysville-Pilchuck High School to evacuate students in the aftermath of a shooting on the high school's campus on October 24, 2014 in Marysville, Washington
David Ryder, Getty Images/AFP
For serious incidences, some schools have invested in a central electronic remote locking system. Through this access control solutions can be linked to all doors within a building and locked at the touch of a button. One such system has been developed by the company Allegion.
Sophisticated security systems can also use time appropriate variations. For instance, parents of enrolled students can be issued with an ‘implied license’, in the form of a pass that can be recognized using a digital scanner. This would allow parents to come onto school premises at certain stated times. Outside of these times the system would assume that parents exceeding this would be trespassing.
Having gates that recognize vehicle number plates and which will only open for vehicles that have been preapproved is also an important addition. As well as license plate recognition, the vehicle and driver can also be video recorded. An example of this type of system is provided by the company Harling.
A police vehicle fronts Cajon High School in San Bernardino  California  on April 10  2017  as paren...
A police vehicle fronts Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California, on April 10, 2017, as parents of children from nearby North Park Elementary School wait to enter to pick up their children following a shooting
Frederic J. Brown, AFP
Contacting and communicating with students and staff is another area where schools are using computer technology. For example, storing important information (like phone numbers together with health information) in a way that allows appropriate access by authorized people. Such information needs to be accessible at any time. It also needs to be accessible remotely, should a serious event like a fire occur. While digital platforms can be set up to provide such information, care needs to be paid to cybersecurity concerns. Ensuring data is password protection, encrypted and backed-up are critical things for school information technology systems to have in place. Ideally cybersecurity should extend to educating students about online safety too.
These examples of digital security initiatives highlight ho schools and colleges can take advantage of new technologies. The optimal way to address what is available is through the establishment of a digital security policy.
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