Can technology improve school or office building security?The intelligent use of technology can help solve a lot of problems, including major concerns like keeping educational or commercial buildings safe. When families send their children to school, or when someone leaves for work, the expectation is that they will be safe at all times. The truth is, most educational and commercial buildings are not prepared for some emergencies. Fortunately, the appropriate fixes can be made quickly and effectively, with the right technology in place. Technology can provide strong deterrence, surveillance and rapid response in the event that someone attempts to trespass, or an emergency occurs. And with the assistance of an A/V integration expert, technological solutions will be properly thought out before implementation, ensuring their reliability.
How can technology enhance building safety for a school or office?Technology is just a word. In this context, it means a lot of things. What decision makers should think of when they think “technology” are “solutions.” Solutions are developed and deployed to solve a problem, and when tackling building security, there are several problems to overcome. As such, the building will require several solutions, packaged together so that those solutions work together effectively. If that sounds like a real challenge, it is. That’s why it’s best handled by an expert team that has experience selecting, installing and evaluating security products. Specifically, what solutions can technology provide to a building? There are several, including:
1. Access control systems – Plenty of buildings are already designed with access control systems, but they tend to be outdated or are not monitored properly. Further, the vast majority of schools have no access control system in place to start with. This means that anyone can walk into the building from any unlocked entrance.
Access control systems automatically lock all building entrances as soon as the door is shut. This happens remotely and requires no input from a user, so it is extremely reliable. Access is only permitted into the building if the person has the appropriate credentials. Credentials can be customized to only allow access to certain parts of the building as well.
Access control systems can also be scaled up so that parts of the building can be blocked off with additional check points. Every classroom or office can also be attached to the access system so that in the event someone gains unauthorized access into the building, everyone will remain safe behind a locked door.
2. Improved surveillance systems – At-a-glance surveillance systems can alert personnel to a potential threat long before the perp has a chance to enter the building. Although surveillance systems are nothing new, most schools and offices rely on older cameras and surveillance software to spot potential threats.
New surveillance models offer enhanced image quality, face recognition software and better monitoring software for faster threat recognition. This is especially useful for onsite security personnel, who can monitor surveillance feeds with a mobile device, so they can keep an eye on things as they make their rounds.
When tied to proximity alarms, strategically placed at potential points of egress, security personnel can view surveillance feeds the moment they detect someone.
A smart use of surveillance equipment is to use it in tandem with access control systems. If someone attempts to enter the building without a credential, a surveillance camera can provide a direct feed to the entrance point to security personnel.
Imagine this scenario: A visitor enters the building using the main entrance. Before they can get inside the building, they are ushered into a room where they must stop and identify themselves before they can be buzzed in. There is a surveillance camera trained on this entrance, and the camera is monitored by a security expert. This expert determines whether the visitor is allowed entry. If there are any warning signs, the person never gets into the building. This allows people inside the building to identify the visitor without approaching them directly.
3. Security and panic alarms – Deterrence is clearly essential, but in the event that an emergency develops, an immediate response may save lives and possibly neutralize the event before it has a chance to become a catastrophe.
Security and panic alarms are the important components in this solution, as they alert the entire building to a potential emergency instantly. The building’s security alarms can be tied to the fire alarm system, so hardware installation is kept to a minimum. These alarms can be activated automatically or manually. For instance, if someone forces a locked entrance door open, the alarm is immediately tripped. Alternatively, if building personnel detect a threat on surveillance, they can hit a panic button to place the building into emergency mode.
Panic buttons are extra useful in that they can activate other security systems. Once the button is hit, doors can be instantly locked at important points of entry. A panic button can also send out a call to local law enforcement, accelerating their response.
4. Security monitoring services – Building security for entire commercial or educational campuses is harder to achieve with patrolling security personnel. The cost is often prohibitive to maintain an entire security force, and it’s difficult to keep tabs on several facilities at once.
This is where partnering with a monitoring service can help control costs and facility security. Security technology experts are often capable of providing ongoing monitoring as a service, ensuring that all systems are watched at all times. And because security monitoring services are usually maintained offsite, monitoring personnel can alert law enforcement without being encumbered.The microscope is now aimed schools and businesses to keep their students, patrons and employees safe. It’s a difficult task, as decision makers have to anticipate threats from any direction and at any time. Fortunately, security technology never takes a break, providing vigilance at all times. As such, it should be the foundation of any security plan.