Cisco helps schools converge physical and network security tools

Cisco offering solutions to converge security, emergency management, IT

Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill., also made IP communications central to its campus safety and communication strategy. College officials deployed SchoolMessenger for Cisco Unified Communications, which supports onsite day-to-day operations and is integrated with an IP communications platform. In addition, they use SchoolMessenger's Application Service Provider (ASP) solution for additional offsite capacity. This solution is saving the school more than $300,000 over a three-year period compared to traditional security approaches.

"By using SchoolMessenger it took us just 16 minutes to alert 18,000 students that the school would be closed due to bad weather," said Jack Leifel, Moraine Valley Community College's chief information officer. "Our system then automated a report of who answered the phone, who received voice messages, and which calls did not go through."

Grant Joint Union High School District in Sacramento, Calif., won a grant under the U.S. Department of Justice's Securing Our Schools program to install an IP-based video surveillance system on school grounds. By utilizing Cisco's Video Surveillance Manager they are able to allow each school's administration staff and the Grant Police to easily view live and recorded video, as well as to search and transmit images from local and remote locations. As with Brigham Young, Brandeis and Moraine Valley, Cisco worked closely with the school to converge physical security tools with the network.

"The video IP cameras immediately changed our outlook on campus security, and we realized the extent to which we could communicate with faculty, police and students needed to be shared at the district level," said Joni Jones, senior network engineer at Grant Joint Union. "Now, across our district, authorized personnel are able to access and manage live and recorded video from virtually anywhere."

At the Campus Safety Conference in Long Beach, Calif., Cisco's Phylis Miquel, global education solutions manager, and Dean Zanone, public safety account manager and retired sergeant in the Seal Beach Police Department, will discuss the convergence trend at length and make recommendations for how IT can provide more value with services to overcome the limitations of physical safety systems.

"Campus and law enforcement officials understand that physical and network security tools must converge in order to provide the safest environment for students," said Miquel. "In a converged world, security surveillance footage can be relayed instantly to the relevant authorities allowing them to respond to threats as or before they happen, not hours later."