Schools Turn to Audio Security

Schools Turn to Audio Security

Teaming up with video surveillance can boost safety

Schools Turn to Audio SecurityAn increased need for the safety of students and staff has caused school systems around the United States to examine their security equipment and protocols. In doing so, most schools are finding that they need to enhance their security efforts by leveraging the dynamic duo of video and audio surveillance. Nowadays, video surveillance is not enough, and many schools are realizing the key role audio plays in helping to keep their students, staff and campuses safe.

One school system in particular, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), decided to re-examine their security needs with its primary security integrator, NETCOM Technologies in Rockville, Md. to determine if any of their processes were either outdated or could be enhanced. In doing so, they identified a serious need to better secure the main entrances of all 128 elementary schools in the system while also maintaining parent and student traffic on the campuses.

To begin improving MCPS’s security, NETCOM first observed the technologies already in place. After discovering that some of the system’s existing technologies could be leveraged and combined with new technologies, a secure but cost-effective visitor control solution was designed that ultimately gave the schools, and its taxpayers, the best value for their money while still ensuring the main entrances of the elementary schools were effectively and efficiently secured.

Specifically, NETCOM used the existing CCTV and access control security technologies already in place to design a visitor control solution that would not only secure the egress doors to the schools and allow for selected visitor access through those doors, but also provide a user-friendly security option for the main office staff. In addition, NETCOM tapped into an existing investment of the schools’ and maximized the efficiencies of their IP megapixel surveillance camera technology by integrating a two-way audio monitoring product from Louroe Electronics, the AOP-SP-PB.

The intercom door station with pushbutton control is the main reason this visitor control solution works so seamlessly. When approaching the entrance of the facility, the push button is used by a school visitor. The button activates a pop-up window on the school security video screen in the school’s main office. That screen then provides a visual identification using an IQinVision, IP, megapixel camera running IQ Access and audio communication via the Louroe Two-Way Communication unit. Once the visitor is identified and determined to be acceptable and safe, the facility management/ security staff can then release the door lock that is being secured by a Maxxess netEdge unit, located inside the school near the exterior door.

With growing concern about school safety spreading across the nation, we will likely see more schools nationwide opting to strengthen their security. As professionals within this industry, we must continue to leverage security technologies and measurements already in use by our clients while at the same time work towards new developments in security to deliver value-added solutions that delight our customers.

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Security Today.

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