A New Component to Education Security at ISC West 2014

Starting my day off with an ASSA ABLOY-style breakfast, I piled scrambled eggs and bacon on my plate and filled my glass with orange juice, ready to nourish my stomach as well as my mind. When I entered the meeting room, it was basically standing room only, but I found a chair and settled in for the experience.

As the speaker from ASSA ABLOY began, one of the main focuses was on education security, which is near and dear to my heart, having been a teacher for three years before entering the security industry. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a new type of collaboration is beginning to take place to enhance this type of security: working with students to help achieve safety and security within an educational environment.

Bringing to life a case study that looks at the evolution from physical keys to cards to smart phones for access control, guest speaker Laura Ploughe, director of business applications and university business services at Arizona State University, demonstrated how students can become major collaborators to enhance campus security.

Based on the fact that most students always have their smart phones with them, just as we do, it made sense to Ploughe to use these devices for security. It's just too easy to lose or forget a physical key or card, and replacing these items tapped into the university's budget. Student engagement was leveraged, along with HID SE technology, ASSA ABLOY Sargent integrated locks and Blackberry, iOS and Android technology, and a NFC pilot program was created on this university campus.

Communicating the project's goal, to establish convenient and reliable security by using smart phones, Ploughe was inspired by the fact that young minds are extremely brilliant because students were trying to reverse engineer the devices instead of leveraging the technology to enable the phones to be used as credentials.

"Never underestimate the power of a young person's mind," Ploughe said, laughing, as the crowd joined in with smirks and giggles.

This pilot program was a huge success with:

  • 90% of students wanting to use their smart phones as credentials;
  • 86% of observers wanting to use the same technology; and
  • 80% of students reporting that using their smart phones is "cooler" than cards.

Taking this positive data, Ploughe then created a financial strategy to make this pilot program a reality on Arizona State University's campus.

By leveraging student involvement, not only was overall security enhanced, but students were able to experience it hands-on, while giving their input. With students taking such a strong ownership of security, it would make sense for all campuses to use this strategy when creating their safety and security plans.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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