Scoring Good Grades
School staff pleased with secure campus installation
- By David Tynan
- Jan 01, 2009
Driven to become a top-performing school district in
Alabama, the Fairfield City School System has created a culture of excellence in which
students can develop the skills and acquire the knowledge needed to meet the challenges
of living in an increasingly complex world. To this end, the Fairfield schools are
committed to delivering a challenging curriculum and providing a safe and orderly
Turning vision into reality, the Fairfield City School System has deployed an Avigilon
high-definition surveillance system at Fairfield High Preparatory School, ensuring
a safe and secure educational experience for its 2,700 students.
The school system installed 30 1-megapixel Avigilon HD IP cameras inside, four
3-megapixel HD IP cameras outside and five analog video encoders to integrate 18
legacy analog cameras into the HD surveillance system. The new system covers the
entire eight-acre campus including four buildings, staff and student parking lots,
and in between buildings.
Ease of use and image clarity, zooming, event-triggered monitoring and 24/7
remote monitoring have enabled Fairfield High to maintain a
safe, open environment. Fairfield High has saved 45 percent
in revenue as compared to other higher-end surveillance systems
and at least 10 to 12 percent over comparable serverbased
solutions—but with much greater performance. The
school was able to save additional costs by deploying analog
video encoders, which enabled the school to integrate existing
analog cameras into the HD surveillance system.
Student safety is important at the Fairfield City School System—
and a top priority for parents. In fact, parents can pay to
send their children to out-of-zone schools if they believe their
educational and safety needs are not being met.
“Fairfield City School System’s superintendent plugs both
the challenging curriculum and sophisticated surveillance
system at Fairfield High Preparatory School,” said Wayne
Green, CEO at BlackBelt Technologies, the integrator who helped deploy the Avigilon
HD surveillance system.
With the overall mission to upgrade the school system’s technology infrastructure—
from servers and storage to desktop systems and surveillance—Fairfield City
School System wanted to build a single platform for improved performance, manageability
and cost-effectiveness. Replacing the outdated surveillance system at
Fairfield High was a critical part of the school system’s upgrade initiative.
“We replaced the existing VCR-based analog surveillance system at Fairfield High
with the Avigilon HD surveillance system for improved image quality, enhanced functionality
and greater peace of mind,” Green said. “The Avigilon HD surveillance system
helps ensure students are safe and behaving responsibly.”
While Fairfield High hasn’t faced any security breaches since deploying the surveillance
system, the school now has the necessary measures in place in the event
of a problem.
A Campus-wide Solution
To maintain a single technology platform as cost-effectively as possible, the school
installed the control center network video management solution on its own hardware.
The surveillance system tracks people from the time they enter a building, through
the stairwells and hallways, until they reach their destination. With 2 terabytes of storage,
Fairfield High keeps 14 days of surveillance on site and has full backup capabilities
for 30 days.
“Fairfield City School System has been so impressed with the performance that
they plan to install the Avigilon HD surveillance system at all schools over the next
few months,” Green said.
Overall functionality was a key feature because administrators, not security professionals,
operate the school’s surveillance.
“They are educators, so when it comes to technology, all they want to do is point
and click,” Green said.
Users are particularly impressed with the image display controls, which make it
easy to digitally zoom and pan within an image. Also, the software is so user-friendly
that training took less than three hours.
The event-triggered recording functionality that comes with the surveillance system is
another key advantage, because it eliminates redundancy and reduces bandwidth and
storage requirements. Breakthrough performance in image quality also is important.
“Avigilon’s performance is truly head and shoulders above the competition,” Green
said. “Administrators at Fairfield schools have been impressed with picture clarity and
The analog video encoders have dramatically
enhanced the image quality of Fairfield High’s existing
analog cameras as well. High performance and costefficient
HD IP cameras, combined with the analog
video encoders, help organizations easily migrate to
Users can log into the surveillance system
remotely though the school system’s virtual private
network to view live and recorded surveillance
footage at any time.
“The principal does not attend all after-hours
events but can log into the system from home at any
time to see what is going on at the school,” Green
said. “The students know that the principal can
monitor the campus from home, providing added
motivation to behave responsibly whenever they are
With 24/7 surveillance, administrators can clock when staff and students enter
and leave the school, resulting in better punctuality and attendance. Administrators
can access the system from anywhere on the network at anytime, providing another
layer of security.
Combining Safety and Affordability
Cost is an important consideration for budget-driven public schools.
“The HD surveillance system delivers the performance the Fairfield City School
System wanted at the price they needed,” Green said. “To achieve the same performance,
other solutions would have required additional hardware to integrate into
the existing infrastructure. Because this solution is server-based, it was easily
installed on the school system’s own hardware. The analog video encoders further
reduce the overall investment by allowing the school to leverage existing analog
cameras for longer.”
The HD surveillance system helps Fairfield High Preparatory School maintain a
safe, open environment for both students and staff. The school community knows
that the cameras are monitoring campus activity at all times.
“It is clear to students that they are being watched,” Green
said. “With student awareness so high, potential issues can
be alleviated before they become serious.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.