Campus security is a multi-faceted challenge for school leaders. It requires collaboration with many stakeholders to keep students, teachers and everyone on a campus safe. To be sure, security technology has an important role to play to improve safety for school districts and campuses with multiple buildings and facilities. But, for it to be effective, the application and management of the technology requires a broad consensus among key players.
One of the common challenges is to get everyone on the same page including campus security managers, administrators, and faculty, as well as emergency responders and vendors. In an environment where everyone has responsibility for student safety, collaboration is essential to success. It is not uncommon to use paper floor plans, fire escape plans, and drawings to identify where video surveillance cameras, access control systems, intrusion detection, fire alarms and other elements of an electronic security system are in use on campus. A visual map of how security technologies work together and the status of those assets is vital to understanding the campus security posture.
Unfortunately, paper floor plans are rarely updated, making security planning even more challenging. This is where digital system design and planning tools come in.
What is digital system design and planning? It means using mobile devices such as tablets and laptops to share electronic floor plans. A security planner can capture a floor plan on the tablet, drag-and-drop devices on a floor plan, capture and relate pictures, and gather detailed maintenance information — all in one place. This “As-Built” information can be securely shared with other stakeholders. It’s a visual, digital floor plan that can always be kept up-to-date and accessed from the field or in the office.
There are three main ways digital system design and planning improve collaboration — and security:
- Ability to Communicate and Collaborate on Plans with Authorities — Imagine that all stakeholders responsible for campus security no matter where they are located were looking at the same digital floor plan for an elementary campus. With a digital system design and management solution, information is captured during planning and can be shared securely anytime with key personnel and authorities. As personnel change, the information is up-to-date and readily accessible. Digital floor plans can be readily accessed by first responders or other authorities as required — and the information is always up to date.
Maintaining the Life Cycle of Electronic Security Systems — Security systems are only as reliable as they are up-to-date and maintained. This can be a real challenge for budget-constrained school districts and universities. When hundreds or thousands of cameras, access control and other components of a system for a campus or school district are involved, the security team and integrators need to be able to manage the full lifecycle of systems to maintain high up-time and reliability. A digital system design and planning tool keeps all of the information on every element of the system in one place for easy access to streamline maintenance and reduce truck rolls.
- Time, Efficiency, and Cost Savings — With limited funds available, schools must make the most of every dollar allocated for security. In today’s world, labor can be the greatest contributor to overall costs. Also, without the proper tools for data collection and active collaboration, the security planning process can be prolonged for months. Because the digital security plan is now visual in nature with associated pictures, notes and specifications and even automated budget estimates, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently. Both time and financial savings can be captured while increasing security effectiveness.
As we look to improve campus security, there is an opportunity for easy-to-use technology tools that help share information more effectively. With our near ubiquitous use of mobile tablets, high resolution cameras and advanced security solutions that we have on the market to help — It could be the missing piece that makes a real difference in keeping a school campus safe and everyone on the same digital page. — Christopher Hugman, PE, CEO of System Surveyor. Visit www.systemsurveyor.com for more information.