Education Market Focus: Making the Grade with Product and Services

Feb. 11, 2012
Emergency communications on campus

Combine a solid track record with a good product for a college campus’s needs and a security integrator is likely to be able to build layer upon layer of business.

That is the case with Entech Sales & Service, Fort Worth, Texas and their relationship with the Texas State campus in San Marcos. Entech did security, access control and video surveillance for the Bobcat Stadium.

"I was able to sell security for that facility in 2008,” said Troy Douglas, account executive. Entech focuses almost exclusively on commercial and other non-residential services.

Douglas worked with the security staff at the campus. Like many other schools, they have one person in charge of access and security and another in charge of the emergency notification system and network.

“We were awarded a project for Texas State University’s new parking garage,” Douglas continued. There were existing phones in the five-story facility which is near several classroom buildings and dorms. “They were having trouble with water getting into the other call phones,” Douglas said. “They wanted a new solution.”

He brought Talk-a-Phone, Chicago, to them for the first time. The garage was the school’s first experience with Talk-a-Phone emergency communications and audio communications devices and they were happy with the results. “That project was the launching point to get Talk-a-Phone on that campus,” Douglas said.

System wide and campus savvy

The college expanded the network to other locations around campus. Among the features being deployed are both wall-mounted stations and 35 free-standing towers. The units have the capability for wide-area emergency broadcasting that lets security call out through the units with either a recorded or a live message. This might include warnings of an impending storm, an emergency situation, or a need to vacate a part of campus.

Texas State San Marcos is home to about 35,000 students plus faculty and staff. The main campus covers 457 acres and there are over 5,000 additional acres in recreational, instructional, farm and ranchland. A hilly campus, it is home to 225 buildings. Some, like Old Main, are as old as the university—which was founded in 1903. Others are cutting-edge, fully wired facilities. Texas State is known as one of the best places in the world to study aquatic ecosystems and species.

The phones at Texas State are analog units. Although Entech offers monitoring services for many of their customers, the college has its own monitoring in place.

Texas A&M project

Texas State is not Entech’s only experience with the Talk-a-Phone line. They also did a Talk-a-Phone deployment on the San Antonio campus of Texas A&M. At A&M, the project included the typical outdoor tower-style emergency phone but consisted primarily of flush, wall-mounted phones. “We placed IP-phones in every classroom,” Douglas said.

The project was completed during the summer of 2011 so the phone system saw its first real use this past term. The San Antonio location is a satellite campus of Texas A&M.

The reaction to the installations at both schools’ campuses has been positive. A combination of a service-oriented integrator and a good product tends to keep customers happy. “When you show them the quality of the product, it gets spread on other parts of the campus,” Douglas said.