It’s a sad fact that our nation’s higher-education campuses must contend with the threat of crime and violence every day. From petty theft to the possibility of terrorism, today’s schools have to be prepared for almost anything.
Related: 5 Special Considerations for VARS During the Education Buying Season
Across the country, high-profile security events such as active shooters, sexual assaults, and murders are prompting schools of all sizes to carefully assess their physical security technologies and protocol. As colleges and universities look to upgrade or enhance their security solutions, many officials are open to incorporating new technologies and best practices to heighten security and incident response.
This presents an opportunity for value-added resellers to meet this important need and help better safeguard our schools.
Here, we count down four of the biggest physical security trends in higher education right now:
1. Centrally monitored systems
Considering the increase of physical security on higher-education campuses, it’s no wonder that officials want a more unified way to manage all these platforms. As a school’s security solution grows, it can become too time-consuming and inefficient to monitor multiple disparate systems.
That’s why centrally monitored security systems are in demand. Seeking a “command-and-control” approach, officials are looking for solutions that integrate their various security devices and systems. This includes physical security information management solutions that tie together video surveillance and access control, as well as software-as-a-service platforms that provide a wide range of functionality, such as video monitoring, mass notification, and visitor management.
2. Greater mobile functionality
Today’s centralized solutions also enable schools to use mobile IP devices as mobile extensions of their command-and-control platforms. Special IP phones or tablets, located in lecture halls, dorms, classrooms, and offices, can act as security consoles, allowing staff members, instructors, and other authorized individuals to perform key security tasks, including:
- Broadcast emergency notification to security personnel, local police, or the entire campus
- Initiate lockdown of a room, building, or campus
- Approve or deny visitors
- Send a silent panic message to security officials
During an emergency event, these capabilities can help keep students and faculty calm, speed response, save lives, and minimize injuries.
3. Virtualized servers
A growing number of campuses are realizing cost savings by doing away with their physical servers used for surveillance, access control, and other security tasks. Moving to a virtual environment—which many schools already use for administrative and educational applications—reduces the amount of physical space and power required for security functions. And considering the fact that some vendors’ servers can support tens of thousands of IP surveillance cameras, most colleges and universities should be well covered.
4. Tie-in with other IP-enabled technologies
Many colleges and universities are embracing the Internet of Things revolution and incorporating IP-enabled systems throughout their campuses. These include resource management, HVAC, and lighting.
Now that these types of systems are able to make use of a campus’s IT infrastructure, they have become cheaper to deploy. Better still, these IP-enabled systems can easily be added to a school’s central command-and-control platform, which puts even more data and functionality right at your customer’s fingertips.
Are these trends already playing out in your own local education market? If not, what are some of the most popular systems in your area?