Florida State Adds to its Blue Light Trail
Florida State University (FSU) takes pride in its intellectually stimulating, yet warm and caring environment for students and faculty. Safety of students and guests is paramount on the school’s 15 campuses to maintain that environment, and one of the major public safety initiatives on FSU’s campuses is the Blue Light Trail, which now consists of more than 400 strategically placed blue light towers equipped with emergency phones.
The blue light emergency phone towers give passers-by a sense of security by providing a reliable two-way communications link with the FSU Police with a push of a button. The technology is not new, but has proven to be invaluable on more than one occasion. The number of blue light emergency phones keeps growing as the safety needs of the campus grow, and university officials have chosen to standardize on Talk-a-Phone units.
FSU had a variety of blue light emergency phones installed on campuses from other manufacturers, and having multiple vendors on-site enabled officials to thoroughly test the blue light emergency phones before standardizing.
The towers on the Blue Light Trail are painted in FSU school colors garnet with gold lettering on all four sides to reinforce the identity of the campus. They are ultra-bright all-LED Blue Lights, featuring 209 lumens peak rating and prismatic pattern to enhance visibility at greater distances. All-LED construction of the unit significantly increases its life span.
Thunderstorms and lightning are also a major concern for school safety officals. Located in Tallahassee, Fla., FSU’s 15 campuses are in the heart of a thunderstorm-riddled region, leading the nation in an average lightning density per square foot. Needless to say, having a reliable emergency communications link is significant from both a legal and a public relations perspective.
In the interest of safety for all facility, staff, students and visitors, a comprehensive Emergency Phone Program was developed at FSU. As part of this program, a full-time employee was hired whose responsibility was to test and repair the blue light emergency phones in case of lightning outages. “While all phones are fitted with the same external surge protection, the Talk-A-Phone units are repairable when a surge is sufficient to get through the protection device,” says Colleen Thomas of FSU’s Office of Telecommunications.
Salisbury University Transitions to IP-Based Surveillance
Salisbury University in Maryland has installed approximately 200 Axis Communications network cameras in a new surveillance system on its 182-acre campus in Maryland, home to more than 8,000 students. OnSSI’s video management software delivers instant access to real-time or archived video from any of the cameras.
“We were looking for a complete system comprised of technologies that work well together and that will take us beyond what’s available today,” says Tony Stancil, Associate Director for Information Technology at Salisbury University.
The university’s expanding system will have a total of 300 network cameras by the summer of 2011. “We are in the infancy of this system,” adds Lt. Brian Waller of the Salisbury University Police Department. “Our abilities with the system will increase exponentially over time.”
Previously, the campus had several separate, non-networked video systems. When surveillance video helped to solve a $30,000 burglary, it provided the impetus to upgrade to a campus-wide, networked system. Originally, 78 cameras were installed in a pedestrian tunnel and parking garage, and more cameras have been added around the campus, all connected to the university’s IP network. Currently, there are close to 200 network cameras in all, a number that is still increasing.
The IP-based system is running on four servers with an external RAID storage array providing 3 terabytes of storage for each server, which translates into about 20 days of storage. The system is monitored in the campus police dispatch center, with security officers also monitoring cameras in the parking garage.
The university currently uses NetDVMS IP-based video surveillance management software from OnSSI.
The university has standardized on three Axis network camera models: AXIS P3344 Fixed Dome Network Camera, an indoor/outdoor, HDTV fixed mini-dome with remote focus and zoom; AXIS P3343 Fixed Dome Network Camera with remote focus and zoom; and the outdoor-ready AXIS Q6032-E Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Dome Network Camera.
“There are multiple ways to do playback and to search for archived images,” Lt. Waller says. “There are a lot of tools in the toolbox. It has layers of bells and whistles, but it is also an intuitive system.”
Reykjavik University Moves to Multi-Technology Card
Reykjavik University (RU) in Iceland, had been using proximity technology to secure its buildings for many years. When it came time to build a larger, more modern facility, RU officials wanted as “key-free” an environment as possible — one that would increase student, faculty and staff convenience and security, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and provide the flexibility to support future needs.
To realize this vision, the university needed a true, multi-application smart card that could be used for cashless vending, canteen transactions, on-demand printing, photo ID production, library access, locker use and more, and that could also give the wider community controlled access to public services such as its buses, museum and swimming pools. The University began moving from proximity solutions to HID iCLASS multi-technology cards, easing the transition by using cards and readers that support both technologies.
Cards are quickly and easily printed on-site for staff and every incoming student, and are now providing approximately 4,000 students with access to all university classrooms, labs, study areas and other buildings as well as the its intranet.
Fairfax County Schools Upgrades Consoles, Video Wall
The Security Operations Center Office for the Safety and Security department at Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools was recently tasked to move into a new facility and rebuild its console to make use of the latest technology standards.
“Fairfax County is the country’s 13th-largest school district and we have two of our own safety and security departments — one doing safety risk management, one doing security,” explains Jack Guglielmo, Security Technology Specialist. “In our section, Security Services, one of many functions is to centrally monitor intrusion and fire alarms for about 230 different facilities. And we do that from a central console in our security operations center.”
A key component of the new system is Middle Atlantic Products’ VisionFrame video wall that is used to mount a large, 42 x 47-inch display monitor.
“We’ve created a window to the outside world from our command-and-control console to the rest of the school district,” Guglielmo says. “We’re looking at several things from this system, including a school bus GPS system that lets us know where everyone of our 1,000 buses is. We can also monitor videos on expulsion hearings or judicial processes in our school system that are supplemented with ‘panic buttons’ in the room so we can see what’s going on at any point.”
Georgia College Secures Doors at New Housing Complex
Georgia Gwinnett College has chosen a networked locking system from Salto for its new student housing complex. Operational Security Systems Inc. provided and installed the lock system for five interconnected buildings with 214 residence suites.
At each of 11 perimeter sliding glass doors entering the complex, Salto Hot Spot readers are installed providing the read/write interface point for the system database. At each suite entrance, a Wire-Free reader/lock assembly is installed to provide access control and audit trail functions at each assigned suite.
The system consists of a data-on-card access control program which enables the college to benefit from a combination of online and offline locks networked to a principal computer. The locks do not need wiring or a Wi-Fi infrastructure, since the communication link is an intelligent key that acts as a two-way data transporter.
Florida State Adds to its Blue Light Trail