Integrators: Go to the head of the class

The education market gets technology assistance from solutions providers

No matter the grade level, there's a need for comprehensive security solutions to be delivered to the education market. Problem is, sorting through all the variables with this particular vertical, like a diverse set of needs among its end users as well as the need to deal with legacy equipment and in some cases aging infrastructures.

Right now some of the current issues in this vertical market are funding or lack thereof. There are some grants and other monies out there but it takes diligent effort and dedicated resources to uncover and keep up with these contributions. As such, the specifications can be all over the board and run the gamut from two to four-door access control and intrusion detectors and sensors to intercoms and integrated IP networked solutions. For the most part schools want to make do with a small number of megapixel cameras, or use analog more extensively, again depending on their budget. They usually don't have resources for active monitoring, but depend on alerts, event management and other notifications to view incidents in action or after the fact, recording mostly to DVRs and some NVRs. Retrofitting legacy equipment and providing upgraded security without forklift upgrades is also on the curriculum for these end users, but they often don't have a lot of money to spend given the current state of the market.

Yes, there are opportunities across the board

The landscape for the lower grade levels (even preschools which seem to like Web cams) kindergarten through high school (K-12) versus universities and upper education also varies greatly. At the lower grade levels users may have a core offering of access control and intercoms with a fine-focus on perimeter and intrusion detection. Some cameras are being installed for main points of entry and exit, but again for the lower grades these may be sparser than university settings and depend on the budget of the end-user.

Especially in urban and inner city settings, high schools are turning to metal detection. Active monitoring of security cameras watches the comings and goings of students more extensively. Card access and intrusion detection is also in place especially for computer labs or other rooms with equipment or instruments. Depending again on the school and its geographic location and if it's in the inner city, security guards or police may be in place.

Communication is also critical to this user. Intercoms, some IP and other means of communicating to and from classrooms and with teachers, is increasingly deployed. Audiovisual systems and even theatres and soundstages are part of the solutions integrators may provide.

On college campuses and universities, users are driving the use of IP technology. They not only use it as a proactive tool but for managing the vast campus landscape in many different ways. Cards (proximity, magnetic stripe and some smart-types) that combine access control with spending and debits are also more commonplace and merge physical security with logical data management.

Community merges with campus

The larger university also has an on-campus population and a good mix of bars and other areas where large crowds may congregate or hold rallies. If the community is inset or nearby this educational facility, this further presents challenges of crowd control and requires proactive measures to prevent riots and planning for the possibility of terrorist activities.

Conduit Networks of Temecula, Calif., was the integrator on a recent HD megapixel network camera installation at two Redlands Unified School District High Schools, where the company deployed more than 100 IQEye cameras from IQinVision to improve safety and deter possible incidents.

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