How to effectively maintain university security

How to effectively maintain university security
Needless to say, security is key in a university environment where students and staff must be kept safe. Thanks to advances in security technologies, university operators can rely on them to detect threats and respond to incidents more effectively.
 
Maintaining the security and safety of students and staff at different facilities, from student dorms to classrooms, is a top priority for universities. This has gained more importance after various crimes committed at college campuses, the most recent of which include shootings at Jackson State University and Central Michigan University, both in March 2018.
 
It’s crimes like these that are prompting universities to spend more on security, which ranges from mobile credentials to biometrics identification by way of iris scan. According to a recent report by Market Research Future, the global school and campus security market is expected to reach approximately US$2.54 billion by the end of 2023, a 19.7 percent compound annual growth rate between 2017 and 2023.
 
Indeed, security technologies will play a key role in maintaining campus safety as they become more mature and advanced, according to a recent blog post by Synectics.
 
“Today’s open-platform surveillance systems facilitate multiple levels of integration and data management, offering universities more than just a way to monitor cameras,” it said. “Smarter integration of the latest evolution of surveillance systems enables these technologies to be monitored and controlled through one platform.”
 

Detection and response

 
Any successful prevention of crime begins with detection, and technology can play a role in this, according to the post. “RFID tags in ID badges for students, staff and visitors can be easily monitored to provide a complete, real-time overview of who is in specific buildings or has passed through campus zone markers, prompting verification alerts with live camera feed whenever human movement is detected without an associated ID,” it said. “Technologies such as thermal cameras, virtual perimeters and indeed integration with third-party persons-of-interest databases can also be used to rapidly detect human presence and identify access authorization or threats to present a clear, uncompromised view of who is on campus.”
 
Once something has taken place, quick response is also key and can be assisted by technology, the post said.
 
“When support is required, it is dispatched through the central system – with campus security teams, student aids or senior staff members able to receive push notifications based on the help required or incident detected. Taking this functionality further, it is feasible for every student and member of staff to have an app on their phone, activated by confirmation of their ID number,” it said. “If an unauthorized intruder is detected on campus, a wing of a building is closed for emergency maintenance, or a fire evacuation is ordered at a certain lecture hall, push notifications could supply the relevant people with live information and instructions on what to do next.”
 
The post added that the right help may not be an internal university resource or team member. “External agencies such as the police can also be brought into the loop via an open-architecture surveillance command and control platform, using features such as secure evidence sharing, integrated communications and task allocation,” it said. “These support efficient collaborative working, which is particularly beneficial in time-pressured scenarios.”
 
The article concluded by saying the openness of today’s security technology is what makes this all possible. “The ‘open’ nature of modern command and control solutions ‒ enabling seamless integration of analog technology alongside IP solutions ‒ ensures this process can be gradual, with changes implemented in phases to suit both budget and strategy,” it said. “Universities have a prime opportunity to pioneer the convergence of technologies and systems to usher in a safer, smarter future ‒ both in their own right and as part of broader Smart City strategies.”


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