Campus Security 101

June 8, 2020
Focus on these three security technology categories to get the attention of higher-ed administrators
This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention @SecBusinessMag on Twitter and Security Business magazine on LinkedIn.

At some point, students and teachers will return to campuses – it may not be tomorrow or next month, but the in-person future of higher education is inevitable. In the meantime, empty facilities and outdated access control systems could use a little extra attention (and innovation) in some key areas.

By speaking the end-user’s language and focusing on their specific pain points, integrators are better prepared to provide customized solutions, and in turn are more likely to close a deal. Higher-ed campuses are specialized environments that should not be approached the same way as other vertical markets; thus, here are three key areas to focus on:

1. Campus Lockdown Support

Higher-ed campuses need integrated platforms that manage access control and security operations, offering the security and functionality expected from high-end systems with the ease-of-use found in entry-level packages. End-to-end security and access control solutions that tie into existing infrastructures without major disruptions mean that campuses will never be left vulnerable.

Beyond the access control backbone, security integrators must consider how the campus will handle lockdowns and related procedures. Modern access control systems with lockdown capabilities enable threat levels to be activated from any reader on a campus using a card or code with varying urgencies for insider and outsider threats. In the event of a full-scale emergency, complete lockdown features can include inputs, panic buttons, access cards, PINs, and web client commands from any device, allowing personnel to stay on-the-move.

A security management platform with lockdown options gives security operators and dispatchers across an entire campus the ability to receive information in text or graphic formats in real time. Operators can control doors based on schedules, manual commands or emergency conditions, and audit trails can enable forensic reporting of events after an incident.

Beyond standard lockdown procedures, integrators should choose an access control solution that seamlessly integrates with active shooter systems, as well as Blue Button systems, to alert the campus in the event of an emergency. Other key features to look for are the ability to close and secure doors and areas remotely, to verify the identity of service personnel and control access, and to limit access to those who belong in the building.

2. Wireless Locks 

When dealing with an environment as complex as a higher-ed campus, it is crucial to understand how locking mechanisms fit into, and work with, the overarching access control environment.

Campuses require as little downtime as possible; therefore, whether an integrator is delpoying a complete access management system or simply locking down one door, taking an access path out of commission should be for as short a time as possible.

Wireless lock systems are one way to speed up an install and cause less disruption for both students and staff. Since they can be implemented into doors easier and faster than their wired counterparts, wireless locks mean a shorter installation time. The right wireless lock integration can enable integrators to add physical access control to historical buildings and facilities. For growing schools and universities, the flexibility of wireless locks means the system can grow as the campus expands.

The ease of installation, paired with scalability potential, provides integrators with the ability to complete more projects in less time, and also sets them up for project wins should a campus need more installations in future.

All that said, it is important to weigh the advantages of wireless options compared to wired while in the planning phase for a building in construction.

3. Video Surveillance and Analytics

Integrators working with doorway mechanisms should be cognizant of how video surveillance can be tied to access control measures, such as doorways that trigger recording from a nearby video camera.

Video surveillance does not always equal video intelligence, but it should. Video technology paired with data analytics can redefine campus security, accelerating investigations, attaining situational awareness and deriving operational intelligence.

The right video technology and data can solve the typical challenges associated with video searchability, enabling campuses to rapidly gather real-time intelligence from the unstructured video data that is produced by a single camera or a global network of cameras. Analytics is the cornerstone of video search, and can enable both security and intelligence applications from a single video management system (VMS).

When choosing a VMS, integrators need to look for video management software that features forensic search, case management, and operational intelligence – providing end-users with the proper tools to gather intelligence from video, speed up searches and easily develop cases.

Real-time search functionality can enable campuses to find evidence in seconds, can integrate with existing access control systems, and can be managed on-premises or via the cloud. The cloud is beginning to make its way into higher-ed environments, providing an opportunity for integrators to create RMR.

By combining a VMS with analytics, surveillance becomes intelligence. Integrators should recommend a system that automatically sends an email or text when a perimeter has been breached – triggering a call to action which allows emergency searches by face, license plates, color, speed, direction, age, and more. When all analytics are integrated into a VMS, no separate hardware or software is needed.

Beyond Security

Security is important, but it is equally as important to show how these solutions can be used for multiple purposes to get the most out of the money a university is investing.

For example, by collecting real-time data – such as the number of students in each classroom, the student movement on campus, and class availability – a campus can track students’ flow, their strengths in each class and their general interests. That data can then be provided back to the students themselves, who can then decide which classes to attend based on their own real-time strengths and class availability.

Other real-time insights can include heat map analytics, people counting, and a customized dashboard that provides campuses with the exact data that it requires, meaning each higher-ed campus can leverage analytics in a manner that works best for its students.

Video and data intelligence can provide a fresh, forward-thinking learning environment, keeping students and staff safe today, ensuring the success of students tomorrow, and adapting to the technology innovations over the years to come. By presenting security as a proactive tool in addition to a reactive way to respond to events on campus, integrators can show that the value of their proposed solutions reach far beyond safety measures. These valuable business insights will enable end-users to have better success when it comes to getting boardroom buy-in.

Mark Allen is General Manager of Premises for Identiv. Request more info about the company at  

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Jan. 10, 2011