Located about 90 minutes from London, Loughborough University served as the training headquarters for athletes from Great Britain and Japan in the weeks leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games. In an effort to provide enhanced safety and security for the athletes, as well as its students and visitors, the school recently enlisted the help of Reliance High Tech, a local systems integrator, which used VidSys’ physical security information management (PSIM) software to tie the campuses’ disparate systems – such as fire, CCTV and access control - together into one, easily manageable platform.
According to VidSys Vice President of EMEA Operations Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Loughborough University also wanted a system that could provide additional value to school in its normal, day-to-day operations beyond the hosting of world-class athletes. He explained that the school wanted the capability, at some point, to integrate IT-related systems, including phone and RFID systems, into the platform.
"A university is best described, in my opinion, as a small city," Chalmers-Stevens said. "Most universities evolve over time. They start off as a campus, they expand, they include numerous types of operational risks that they are responsible for, such as the safety and security of the staff and members of the public that are on the facilities, but also the residents of the facilities, all which pose different challenges during different parts of the day."
While hosting Olympic athletes wasn’t the sole catalyst for the installation, Chalmers-Stevens said that it did factor into the project’s timeframe.
"They needed a system that was very flexible to respond to that primary objective, which is to keep the students safe and secure while they’re at the university and to keep members of the public and visitors safe," he said. "But also they had one eye on the fact that they knew they had Team (Great Britain) and Team Japan arriving in advance of the Olympics. They needed to make sure they had a platform that provided the level of security that was appropriate for the increased risk that may be presented to the university as a result of having the Olympians on site during that period of time. Ultimately, however, the vision (for the project) was ahead of the Olympics."
The university also liked the web architecture of the VidSys platform with its ability "to distribute content to any person, anywhere at any time," he says, which will enable them in the future "to think about areas such as mobile (devices)." This is also the first time that the school has been able to aggregate data from all of these siloed systems and look at how they can improve their overall security posture, which is one the challenges the university wanted to address with the system.
"The second part was to look at long term process and procedure management," Chalmers-Stevens added. "How do you make sure that your security officers are compliant to the processes and procedures that you have as a corporation or as an institution, such as how to respond to different types of alarms? The other part is the freedom to make a decision in the future for any technologies they may wish to implement to have an architecture that allows them to not be sort of pinned-in."
The company successfully completed the first phase of the project, which included the integration of a number of different systems and that the school is now looking to expand the use of the platform post-Olympics.