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Tech trends make universities smarter

Tech trends make universities smarter
Students nowadays are more tech savvy than ever. As a result, it only seems right that universities are adopting the latest and most advanced in technologies and security.

There is no doubt about it, this generation of students expect digital solutions. When it comes to security, this translates into things like smart cards and mobile apps. Mechanical, analog systems are seen as old and even inconvenient: Why use a physical key when one smart card can open your dorm room, be used to buy food and check out books at the library?

“The modernization of systems across campuses are resulting in the repurposing of technologies. For example, smart cards, which once might only have been used as an access control solution, can now be used to attain campus services such as the library or dining commons,” said James Marcella, Director of Industry Associations at Axis Communications.

Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader for North American Building Solutions at Johnson Controls, pointed to several trending technologies being adopted by university campuses. “In response to recent tragic active shooter incidents, gunshot detection solutions are being integrated with systems like video and access control to support emergency preparedness response in the event of an active shooter. Drones continue to be an increasing area of technology enabling the ability to provide security to remote areas, provide additional coverage and detect and disarm unauthorized drones.”
Julie Brown, 
Institutional Market Leader,
North American Building Solutions, 
Johnson Controls

All of these trends, however, point to the explosion of data generated by surveillance cameras and other security software on a daily basis, said Brandon Reich, Business Leader for Video Surveillance at Pivot3. “Not only are schools collecting massive amounts of information, but the data obtained is more important than ever before. Modern organizations can no longer tolerate video loss, system downtime or the inability to access live or recorded video. Data loss can lead to major liabilities, and therefore more significance is placed on server and storage infrastructure.”

IoT, big data and cloud

The terms IoT, big data and cloud have spread like wildfire over the last few years, and for good reason. “The IoT and big data trends have benefited campus security systems by increasing interconnectivity and interoperability like never before,” said Steve Birkmeier, VP of Sales and Business Development at Arteco. “The more detail and pieces of information available about a certain event, the quicker the resolution, and the ability for devices to connect via the cloud makes the sharing of this relevant data swift and seamless.”

Terry Schulenburg, Business Development Manager for Education at Genetec, noted, “IoT will continue to grow over the next 20 years. There are so many applications for college campuses that can provide extra security, and extra freedom.”

Schulenburg pointed out how currently many campuses are tracking important equipment and as well as inventory management using IoT technologies. One example is how a specific university hospital delivery research wing is providing matching wristbands to new mothers and their babies. If the bands are separated by too far of a distance, alarms go off, cameras activate and doors quickly lock down, he explained.
Brandon Reich,
Business Leader, Video Surveillance, 

Despite how widespread IoT is now, James Somerville-Smith, EMEA Programs Leader for Security and Fire at Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, pointed out that IoT is still in its infancy in security. “However, we expect that this will rapidly become more prevalent as both communication between devices becomes more synchronized, and analysis software is better able to make sense of the potential mass of data this communication generates.”

Somerville-Smith continued, “What’s more, the IoT will lead to greater and more sophisticated penetration of sensors in infrastructure and equipment, providing better health checks to identify potential failures before they occur and minimize downtime. As advanced machine learning develops, systems will be able to carry out the initial analysis of developing security situations themselves and monitor developing patterns, freeing up time to allow operators to deal with more complex problems.”

The cloud is also being considered for its benefits in managing campus security. “Today, if a campus wants to add cameras or doors to their system, they need the appropriate infrastructure to support that. They already have hi-speed internet access on campus. The cloud offers great flexibility to add security devices to their systems, without adding the additional burden of infrastructure costs. The same goes for evidence management and sharing,” Schulenburg said.
James Somerville-Smith,
EMEA Programs Leader, Security and Fire,
Honeywell Home and Building Technologies

Keeping standards open

Open standards have become increasingly important. One reason for this is due to the fact that systems are becoming increasingly complex.

Thomas Schulz, Marketing and Communications Director for Digital and Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY EMEA, used access control as an example. “Ideally facility managers would like access points locked by escutcheons, cylinders, handles or complete security locks to work in tandem with multiple critical security and user functions, including video surveillance, burglar alarms, fire alarms, swipe-card payment systems in the canteen or for the photocopying service, and smart-card entry to restricted areas such as the library or computer rooms. This is only possible if your systems have compatibility and open standards at their core.”

Open solutions can also help address tight budgets. “University campuses should evaluate open solutions that enable them to leverage existing security investments while enhancing capabilities as budgets allow. But it is important that these solutions communicate with other devices and systems to achieve streamlined data and system management,” Birkmeier said.


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