Enhancing Security

Tennessee academy emphasizes critical thinking

Located in Maryville, Tenn., the Clayton Bradley Academy first opened its doors as a yearround K-6 school in July of 2013. Now, in its second year, the school has expanded to Pre-K through 9th grade. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculums through 1-to-1 technology initiatives, critical thinking is emphasized via project- based learning. The school also builds educational partnerships with businesses, nonprofits and area colleges to foster true learning communities as well as provide a sustainable technology and learning environment.

These initiatives have quickly placed Clayton Bradley at the forefront of instructional technology, as well as operations and facilities technologies. Since opening, Clayton Bradley has become a model school, demonstrating successful technology implementation plans for other schools and districts both inside and outside of the classroom.

Operational and facilities technologies have become just as important as instructional technology, which includes the campus safety and security systems. Originally, Clayton Bradley implemented a basic, IP-camera system that included keyfob access control to all doors and classrooms for teachers and administrators. Selected by the building contractor, the security system was proprietary which limited the ability to update, upgrade and expand.

While the camera quality was suitable, the ability to use motion detection as well as configure the DVR as an adaptive device was lacking. Furthermore, as a proprietary system, any further expansion could only include the original camera brand, not open upgrades to competitive comparisons.

Because of these limitations, Clayton Bradley decided to replace the surveillance system with one that would be more flexible, scalable, adaptive to future needs and overall, more intuitive. Primary requirements for the new system focused on enhanced motion detection features, higher-quality camera resolution, configurable alert systems and connectivity with access control, along with communication with first responders and local law enforcement, and remote access from mobile devices or web browsers.

As part of their research, Clayton Bradley was introduced to IP camera systems from AVer Information, a company that also develops IP security and surveillance solutions designed specifically for school and campus environments. Indoor and outdoor IP cameras, combined with enhanced features that include a variety of motion detection configurations triggering alerts, frame rate boost, regional triggers and storage saving options were very attractive to Clayton Bradley.

“Their solution during our due diligence ranked high in flexibility with the features and quality we were looking for,” said Tom Sudman, CEO of Digital AV and consultant to Pat Bradley, director for Clayton Bradley Academy. “Not only that, but AVer is actively working on improvements to make their solution even smarter.”

Remote access through the web or mobile devices and the ability to link first responders helped Clayton Bradley make the decision to move forward with implementation.

AVer’s features and functions were developed with the unique needs of school facilities in mind, and their pricing and service also were designed to be education-centric, with programs and support available only to education.

“There is a great quality to cost ratio with AVer that other brands do not offer,” Sudman said. “Their school-specific pricing has allowed us to maximize our budget and surveillance coverage, without sacrificing quality or necessary features.”

As Clayton Bradley continues to evolve their security systems, they will be working to integrate the Aver system as a component of a comprehensive security and surveillance dashboard. Combining visual data from the surveillance system with other data elements will better enable Clayton Bradley to confirm or deny the level of any given event while keeping law enforcement and first responders involved in the entire process. Since the school itself is a source of technology transfer and education for other schools, this is another way Clayton Bradley can contribute to enhancing the safety and security for themselves as well as become a model for other school security initiatives.

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

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