Keeping Schools Safe and Secure

Keeping Schools Safe and Secure

Schools are using different security technologies to help operate campuses more efficiently and foster a safe learning environment.

Genetec Secures Grambling State University
Grambling State University (GSU) is located in northern Louisiana. This historical university boasts an enrollment of 5,200 students and 250 faculty members each year.

With five colleges, 19 residence halls, a dining hall, library, intramural center, bookstore and health center spread throughout GSU, constant video surveillance of all buildings is necessary to ensure student and faculty safety. The original smallscale IP-based system restricted GSU to implementations of 60 cameras each, without campus-wide unified monitoring capabilities. GSU soon realized that a more robust enterprise solution would better encompass their needs.

Winfred Jones, Associate VP of IT at GSU, was in charge of selecting the new system. Having the ability to eventually integrate the system with a network-based access control solution reassured Jones that his video surveillance investment would offer long-term flexibility, should the university's security needs expand beyond video surveillance.

The new residence halls have been equipped with more than 40 cameras each for increased student safety.

Today, GSU has more than 260 cameras functioning on the system which are positioned throughout the entire campus, an increase from the original 60 that they were limited to with their older system. In addition, GSU kept campus growth in mind, as they put in place expansion plans to increase the current installation to more than 500 cameras.

Besides GSU's security personnel, the residence management company has also been given access to the archive video recordings in case they need to conduct their own verifications or investigations within the dormitories. Eventually, Jones is planning on giving the university police the same capabilities as the residence management company.

All users at GSU find the system to be reliable, effective in emergency response time, efficient when accessing real-time data and enjoy all the benefits of pulling up information from many access points on demand. In addition, being able to offer their students a safe learning environment is an advantage they can now leverage when recruiting qualified staff and prospective freshmen.

HID Global Launches NFC Pilot at Arizona State University
In August 2011, the university launched a project to evaluate the benefits of moving its student housing keys onto NFC smartphones. Pilot participants accessed a campus residence hall and selected resident rooms using HID Global's credentials that were embedded into a variety of popular smartphones connected to all major networks.

Initial feedback from the Arizona State University (ASU) pilot project has been positive. Participants report that, while they have often left their rooms without their keys and campus IDs, they never forget their phones.

“When I first saw NFC technology used in other applications, I recognized the benefits it could bring to a university campus,” says Laura Ploughe, Director of Business Applications and Fiscal Control, University Business Services, at ASU.

The next logical application of NFC after payments will be authentication, including to physical access control systems.

As with any campus housing program, assigning rooms and distributing keys is traditionally a significant endeavor that takes many days and involves a large number of campus staff members and volunteers. There also is the matter of lost keys and associated costs. Moving access credentials to the phone seemed easier.

HID Global deployed readers and electric strikes on secured doors to ASU's residence hall. The electromechanical locks were deployed on selected resident room doors in the hall. The 27 students and five staff members participating in the pilot were given NFC smartphones with HID Global's technology.

The pilot project has proven that a ubiquitous device can converge secure identity credentials and physical access control.

The mobile access control model also streamlines credential distribution and retrieval by enabling remote credential management throughout its life cycle. It is easier to modify applications and security parameters via software downloads and firmware updates, which eliminates the risk of key or card copying. The networked access control system simplifies the task of temporarily issuing new keys and canceling them when they are lost or stolen.

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