Campus security consistently ranks as a major priority for educational institutions, with modern schools and colleges investing heavily in smart technology systems and trained security staff in order to reliably protect students from physical threats. However, some facilities face budgetary constraints that can make upgrading security systems difficult.
Generally speaking, community colleges in the US are more likely to experience funding difficulties than comparable 4-year institutions, with some reports suggesting a $8,800 per student shortfall when compared to traditional organizations. Though this lack of funding can make improving security systems difficult, there are ways to develop cost-effective solutions.
By investing in technologies designed to integrate with existing devices rather than several segregated systems, school administrators and security teams can develop smart security systems designed to make more efficient use of available resources. This short article will explore how colleges are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to strengthen campus security.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things is a term used to describe a network of internet-connected hardware devices fitted with sensors and smart software. IoT devices are designed to communicate and share data with one another over a secure internet connection, allowing teams to create unique interconnected security systems that can be both automated and accessed remotely.
IoT security and building management systems will typically be connected to a cloud-based management platform to remove the need for physical wired connections between devices, and to enable remote access for admins to view and adjust devices from anywhere with a secure internet connection. Integrating IoT sensors with existing security systems can add advanced functionality without requiring teams to entirely remove and replace infrastructure.
Real-time incident management
One of the primary benefits to the installation and operation of IoT security systems is the ability for relatively inexpensive sensors to transform how existing hardware functions. By developing a cloud-based security management system, teams can deploy a range of IoT environmental sensors able to provide real-time alerts in response to suspected incidents.
For example, IoT motion sensors can be installed and connected to existing access control readers to add advanced functionality without replacing expensive hardware. Systems can be programmed to record detailed access logs, send real-time alerts to security staff and instruct the operation of installed access systems in response to predetermined guidelines.
Rules may be set instructing nearby video security cameras to begin recording if invalid credentials are presented to a proximity card reader, with on-site alarms programmed to sound if unwarranted force is detected by IoT pressure sensors. Essentially, IoT sensor systems can be used to upgrade legacy hardware without needing to replace full systems.
Smart video security integrations
By integrating IoT sensors with installed video security cameras, campus security teams can better focus their attention on unfolding incidents with support from real-time alerts. Sensors supported by AI-informed software solutions can be used to automatically detect anomalous events like crowds forming in unexpected locations and instructed to notify teams remotely.
On-site security personnel can then access live camera feeds via a cloud-based dashboard to investigate the situation in more detail. Developing such a solution enables staff to focus their patrols only in areas of interest without requiring teams to constantly monitor live feeds.
Provided that existing IP video security cameras are ONVIF compliant and compatible with proposed IoT sensors, developing such a system can improve video security processes and allow for possible future integrations by building on existing physical security infrastructure.
Automated security responses
IoT and cloud-based campus security systems can also help smaller physical security teams respond to ongoing incidents through the creation of automated incident responses. Remote alerts will provide teams with real-time updates regarding unfolding events, whilst active IoT devices can be programmed to enact automatic lockdowns to improve event response times.
Responses to common threats such as break-ins, vandalism and fires can all be configured with IoT devices used to activate relevant systems. For example, if IoT noise sensors detect sounds consistent with glass breaking, nearby school security door locks will immediately engage and security staff will be notified, with further options to trigger cameras and alarms.
Unique automated responses can be programmed to address different events. For instance, if IoT temperature sensors detect a possible fire, sprinkler systems will activate and relevant authorities will be contacted, whilst suspected vandalism might trigger alarms to sound and video security cameras to begin recording to provide teams with evidence of the incident.
Modern educational facilities must commit to upgrading and improving existing security systems to ensure that staff and students are protected from novel threats. However, developing and implementing entirely new school security systems can be both expensive and time-consuming, presenting significant difficulties for schools with limited resources.
By investing in IoT security systems and intelligent integrations, school administrators and security teams can improve existing systems without needing to entirely replace installed hardware. Well-designed IoT integrations can add advanced functionality to legacy systems, including automated responses and remote access controls, improving school security for staff and students whilst also acting to lessen the workload shouldered by security teams.