Integrators: Go to the head of the class

The education market gets technology assistance from solutions providers


"We had an incident just a few weeks ago when we had to initiate a lockdown to assure the students were safe," Mayfield said. Mayfield said he also has a 'mantrap' at the school entrance which isolates potential problems.

Some of the other concerns of the school district, which has deployed some 165 cameras and covers seven schools over 84 square miles, include bullying and cyber bullying as well as threats of intruders.

"One of our everyday concerns is intruders in the building; that's always top of mind," he said. The school has a networked video and access control system that allows for lockdowns and remote access and control. "We got our security in at the right time and we are glad to have it, because there's really no funding coming to schools right now," he continued. "We are looking to add a couple PTZ cameras to certain locations though," he added.

Upgrades of campus security are putting these facilities in touch with the latest technologies. When administrators at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration decided to upgrade their 50-year-old structure, they had two goals: preserve the history associated with the building and installing a technology infrastructure that complemented the college's philosophy or culture of innovation.

The college took an innovative approach in designing and securing the new James A. Haslam II Business Building, a $40 million, 174,000-square-foot facility. The building design incorporates numerous "huddle" areas for informal meetings and more than 40 meeting rooms for project work, many with LCD screens and high-definition video capabilities. With more than $6 million invested in audiovisual equipment alone, it was essential that the university implement a comprehensive security and access control system.
Setting up a system for reserving the rooms, while also ensuring student and building access security, was a significant challenge. And for that, Ramsey Valentine, director of technology for the College of Business, needed something more than a database system. Simplex-Grinnell was the integrator on the project.

"We needed a way for students to reserve rooms and get access without a phone call, without having to carry a second student ID card, and without having to manage another account, and do so while interfacing with multiple campus systems," explained Valentine. Above all, whatever scheduling system the college chose had to be convenient for everyone, using Internet access, existing student IDs, passwords and known campus ID cards.

Gallagher and its Cardax FT system was chosen as the access control platform because of its open architecture, application programming interface and the flexibility and accessibility of its software developer's kit.

The system manages access to particular rooms by authorized individuals during a given window of time. This is accomplished through touch-screen kiosks with integrated card reader technology. For example, students attending class at the business school can only access the designated classroom during the scheduled class time. Otherwise, the student will be allowed into the building, but only to access common areas.

The education vertical market has opportunities across the board. The systems integrator who can present an integrated solution, upgrade a legacy account without a high capital expense and consult on the best way to get a good return on investment for the user will land the job hands down.

North Union Local School-Integration is Essential

North Union Local School District in Richwood, Ohio, serves approximately 1,500 students in grades preschool through grade 12 on a campus comprised of one elementary school, a new middle school and high school.

North Union just built a new middle school and recently finished a new addition on its high school. Five years ago, a security system was installed in the new elementary school, but administrators were disappointed with its video quality and lack of features. The completion of the high school renovation prompted them to look for a new solution.