Scoring Good Grades

School staff pleased with secure campus installation

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 learning environment.

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.

Delivering Safety
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 Replacing the outdated surveillance system at Fairfield High was a critical part of the school system’s upgrade initiative.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.

Breakthrough Surveillance
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 zoom definition.”

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 HD surveillance.

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 on campus.”

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.

  • Understanding Access Control Understanding Access Control

    In this episode, Jason Bohrer, the executive director of the Secure Technology Alliance, discusses the access control vertical and technology from the Alliance’s point of view. The Secure Technology Alliance is the digital security industry’s premier association. It exists as a neutral forum that brings together leading providers and adopters of end-to-end security solutions designed to protect privacy and digital assets in a variety of vertical markets. Now, with new areas such as IoT, the Alliance uses its proven processes to provide technology providers and adopters with the insights they need to build security in at the point of development and implementation.

Digital Edition

  • Security Today Magazine - November December 2021

    November / December 2021


    • Navigating System Integration
    • Protecting Premises and People
    • Cashing in Your VMS System
    • Encryption and Compliance
    • Security Breach at 38,000 Feet

    View This Issue

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety