Remote Video Security for School Campuses and Education Facilities
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an enormous number of schools across the country—and the world—to shut down. In-person classes have already been canceled for the remainder of the school year in many areas, and administrators are currently contemplating whether or not operations can return to normal in the fall.
Along with those ongoing questions, campuses face a range of challenges related to video surveillance and maintaining visibility into their sites. In this article, we will explore some of those related issues and how schools can use remote monitoring technology and other modern security camera features to overcome them.
Specifically, some of the challenges and use cases for video surveillance include:
- Lack of Visibility and Remote Access: Operating with limited or no offsite visibility, including gaps in coverage and no clear view of key areas
- Multi-Site Management: Ensuring property, assets, customers, and personnel are protected across multiple sites or locations
- New Protocol Compliance: Complying with social distancing requirements and mitigating the spread of COVID-19
- Heightened Incidents & Incident Management: Confronting the risk of increased crime, and gathering evidence and escalating incidents in real-time
- Limited On-Site Personnel: Operating with reduced staff
- Limited Network Bandwidth: Mitigating problems related to network constraints and concerns over bandwidth consumption
While confronting these challenges, certain school security system features can offer significant advantages and help facilitate a more seamless deployment. Jump to each section below to learn more about school surveillance with remote access.
1. Lack of Visibility and Remote Access
With normal operations disrupted, many schools are now facing a situation in which they have limited or no visibility of their physical premises. For some, this blind spot may be total while others are finding limited gaps in their video camera coverage and no clear view of key areas.
The obvious solution to this new challenge is remote monitoring. A modern video camera security system for schools offers you the ability to monitor surveillance feeds through a mobile app or web-based browser platform. In most cases, remote monitoring can be done either in real-time or when reviewing archived footage. Such capabilities make it easy to maintain visibility of all of your sites—even in unprecedented times.
Beyond simply monitoring camera feeds, remote management offers even more control from afar. With a centralized management system—including features like map view and floor plans—administrators can easily gain visibility across multiple locations through a single platform. This can allow superintendents, IT personnel, or anyone within the organization with access to ensure that the system is operating properly even while the campus is shut down.
2. Multi-Site Management
Even an individual school takes up a lot of space. And the scope and scale of operations only become more challenging across multiple sites—or an entire district. Along with remote monitoring, other school video monitoring and surveillance system capabilities can be very beneficial to covering more ground when you have fewer boots on the ground. That way, it will be less of a headache to ensure that property, assets, and personnel are protected across multiple sites or locations in any environment.
Unlike complex and outdated analog systems, modern IP hybrid-cloud security cameras are essentially ready to go right out of the box. They don’t require extensive planning, IT strategizing, logistical staging, or electrical wiring to set up. Installation is a breeze, and this makes it simple to customize your configuration and camera array to any physical setting.
Expansion and Scalability
To comply with work from home mandates and social distancing requirements, you may be limiting onsite personnel. One way to fill the gap is by adding extra cameras to an existing system. With plug-and-play devices that are easy to install, easy to deploy, and easy to scale, this can be done in no time with minimal disruption and on-site labor.
3. New Protocol Compliance
In the era of coronavirus, schools must comply with a range of new state restrictions, local ordinances, and federal guidelines for protecting public health. School surveillance with remote access can play a role in this both as a way to monitor locations with less personnel and by helping to ensure policies are being followed as (hopefully) more people will begin to return to campus in the months to come.
Social distancing measures now limit the number of people allowed in facilities at any one time, and even most essential organizations have set 6 feet as the minimum distance that people must maintain between one another. A surveillance system with motion-based notifications can alert staff when people are detected in-frame, so they can easily assess the scene and ensure protocol compliance.
Heatmaps can be used to identify high-traffic areas and provide a high-level view of social distancing compliance. Site managers can view real-time heatmaps to see where people are gathering, for example, and ensure that crowds aren’t exceeding established capacity limits.
People and Vehicle Analytics
More advanced capabilities — including people and vehicle analytics — can offer even deeper insight into how sites are being used. By knowing how many cars or people are in any one place, you can gain a high-level and real-time understanding of protocol compliance.
4. Heightened Incidents & Incident Management
While security personnel may be handling fewer incidents of physical violence and other in-person incidents on campus, empty facilities present a different type of challenge. Shuttered buildings can be enticing to criminals and this means that you need to maintain vigilance against these threats. Whether theft, vandalism, or another type of incident, response time can be key to minimizing the impact and stopping an act in progress.
A remote access school security system with proactive alerts can notify users the moment an incident begins occurring in-frame during a certain time period. This can be an efficient way to protect vulnerable areas, like entryways or easily-accessible windows, while reducing costs to hire an around-the-clock security team. By setting up motion alerts or tamper alerts, for example, you can rest assured that you will get a message as soon as something out of the ordinary happens even if nobody is on guard.
Live Video Sharing
While many traditional CCTV systems that rely on centralized NVRs and DVRs require users to be on-site to retrieve footage, modern solutions offer remote access and live video sharing features. It can be as easy as sending a SMS text message with a live link to team members or even law enforcement if the threat warrants it. In situations where rapid response time is critical, this can make all the difference.
5. Limited On-Site Personnel
Social distancing is the new normal, so most schools need to find ways to maintain security even while their campus is largely vacant. While some security personnel may be essential, everyone will be looking to limit the number of people who are physically present. Video surveillance can help fill the gap, allowing you to know what is happening on-site even after you reduce the number of people at any location.
Offsite Access to Live Video Feeds
When staffing levels are a concern, a campus security system can be used to remotely monitor locations and maintain vigilance of any site in real-time. An effective new school security system should be able to provide secure remote access to live and historical video footage from a designated viewing station, computer, or mobile device.
6. Limited Network Bandwidth
Bandwidth is always at a premium and organizations need a predictable and efficient video surveillance solution that doesn’t monopolize available resources. This could become even more of a concern now as teams have to increasingly rely on video conferencing and other tech solutions to maintain operations in other areas. Fortunately, modern security camera solutions can offer advanced capabilities even when faced with network constraints and concerns about bandwidth consumption.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
Cloud-connected IP cameras have forever changed video surveillance for a campus security system, and hybrid cloud options can take it to the next level. Continuous cloud uploads can be a drain on bandwidth and resources, but a blend of onboard storage and thumbnail uploads offer the redundancy and other benefits of maintaining everything offsite while not consuming vast amounts of bandwidth.
Onboard Device Storage
Onboard device storage allows you to initially capture and store large video files locally. This means you don’t need a constant connection for uploads and instead only access live, full-size live streams when requested by authorized users. This configuration ensures that resources are used efficiently and your network won’t be overrun—while at the same time guaranteeing that no coverage gaps occur as a result of camera or network downtime.