The topic of campus security has been a pressing one and never has it been more relevant than today, as shootings have tragically become part of the college experience. School administrators, parents and students grapple with loss of life and what to do in the wake of this senseless violence. Manufacturers and dealers are at the forefront of this issue as technology along with education and policing measures look to put an end to this disturbing national homicidal trend. SD&I interviewed these experts on questions posed regarding the issue of campus security and safety. Be sure to check out SecurityInfoWatch.com for more from these integrators, in a casual ‘podcast’ recording you’ll find online.
What are the top challenges facing security integrators when they are working in the campus setting? What do they need to know to effectively approach this market?
Giannini: The first challenge is to identify the system’s infrastructure already installed to determine what existing elements can be leveraged. You then must consider whether integration of existing or new systems will provide any additional value to the customer and design solutions that “future-proof” the investment against technology obsolescence.
Kamcheff: Reaching the decision makers as there is no standard within the market for physical security decisions in a school building, district or campus. Finding that person can be a challenge to even the most seasoned sales person. Another challenge is getting the right equipment for the job. From a manufacturer’s perspective we see a lot of desire to increase security but school administrators are unsure how to go about doing so. Lastly, depending on whether the facility is public or private budget can have a big impact on where funding comes from.
Padilla: Keeping a perception of an inviting, safe and secure environment where people can exchange ideas freely. While at the same time making sure there is an understanding into the different functions and needs for each facility/building on a campus. Each location may have a different mission and therefore have different requirements.
Runnels: A big project, like a campus setting, is a competitive opportunity.Being able to offer services and benefits and value to the customer that provide the customer with a comfort that the solution they offer provides a robust and long lasting solution to their needs.
Stadheim: Leveraging existing infrastructure on campus with any new technology installed. In addition to the hardware, understanding the manpower and training the campus. Staying up to date on all of the new technology available and offering their customers the most functionality for the budget they have available.
Walker: In a typical university, there are multiple departments that have an interest in the security systems on campus. Getting them to agree on what they want to accomplish with the systems is the biggest challenge.
Wren: Schools are generally open-access environments, where students, staff and parents need to come and go between buildings and classrooms regularly. This requires making security somewhat transparent to keep the focus within the campus on learning. Another challenge with schools is budget limitations and time restrictions. It may take schools months to evaluate their options, access funding and schedule. Finally, each school has its own, unique security challenges. Integrators must be prepared to work closely with school administrators, security professionals and school IT departments to customize solutions that work specifically for that school.