Avigilon, a designer and manufacturer of high-definition (HD) and megapixel video surveillance systems, announced that Walsall Academy in the United Kingdom has deployed the Avigilon HD surveillance system to safeguard its 1,150 secondary students and protect high-value areas such as its state-of-the-art technology and music suites. Walsall Academy selected the Avigilon HD surveillance system for its ability to significantly improve the performance of its existing analog-based system and extend coverage across campus to create a calm and purposeful environment.

A 189,000 square foot, two-story facility, Walsall Academy installed a basic analog-based surveillance system when it was first built in 2003, but found that the image quality and management features could not always meet its needs. “As we identify new areas that require coverage, our needs have naturally evolved —and will no doubt continue to do so over time,” explained Adrian Bowater, director of finance at Walsall Academy.

Limited by a fairly tight budget, the Academy was not in a position to replace its existing analog system entirely and install cabling for all new cameras, but wanted to improve its system performance and investigative success. To achieve his performance goals, Bowater chose to upgrade the Academy’s software for better results and turned to the experts at Technical Services (Shropshire) Ltd., a local provider of surveillance system design, installation, and service, which recommended Avigilon.

The Academy installed Avigilon HD cameras to monitor main entrances, parking lots and corridors, cloak rooms and technology suites; and also installed Avigilon analog video encoders to boost the performance of its existing analog-based cameras which are located throughout the interior of the school. An Avigilon HD network video recorder (NVR) stores up to six weeks of continuous surveillance video — an improvement over its previous system, which could only store seven days of footage. The Avigilon HD Surveillance System operates 24/7 and is monitored live by administrators during the day and remotely by key users if necessary.

“The surveillance system is critical to our ability to track students’ behavior, reduce horseplay and petty theft, and has had a significant impact on student behavior across campus,” said Bowater. “Now, when we add new cameras, we find that the problems move to other areas that aren’t currently being monitored — a mark of the system’s success in helping to reduce student misbehavior in key areas.” As budget permits, the Academy will expand the system to cover all hot spots.

“Student safety has become a top priority for England’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED), which carries out hundreds of school inspections each week,” said Alexander Fernandes, president and CEO of Avigilon. “The Avigilon HD Surveillance System gives Walsall Academy a reliable and highly effective way to monitor activity and ensure students’ safety, well-being and good behavior — helping the school achieve excellent results not only with OFSTED, but with students and parents alike.”

Administrators manage the hybrid surveillance system using Avigilon Control Center Enterprise network video management software. Without a full-time security staff, school administrators manage the surveillance system, so ease-of-use was another top priority. “The school’s previous analog-based surveillance system was simply not as intuitive, requiring a certain level of expertise to manage it,” said Bowater. “Previously, we only had two technical staff members who could work the old analog-based system but with Avigilon Control Center, we were quickly and easily able to expand the team to share the load,” he added.

Enhanced image quality and advanced functionality have improved overall security at the Academy, causing a ripple effect among students and contributing to good overall behavior. Users can now search for details in one-third of the time previously required, and can quickly and easily export video to share with local law enforcement. By leveraging its fixed assets and improving the performance of its analog cameras, the Academy has saved significant installation and maintenance costs, and was able to upgrade to high-definition surveillance for the same cost as adding analog cameras.