Top 4 priorities for K-12 schools and campuses investing in video security solutions

Gratiela Dumitrica, August 30 2021
4 mins

A recent Ava Security survey revealed that more than four out of five (82%) schools and colleges in both the US and Northern Europe see a potential role for video security systems in supporting a safe return to in-person teaching in school buildings and across campuses following the pandemic. 

Many schools and colleges have already adapted their video security systems. For example, half of those in charge had already improved their physical security systems to help manage social distancing. Interestingly, 41% had already deployed their video security for reporting on class or lecture hall occupancy levels and people density levels in student union facilities, dining, and other leisure areas where students tend to congregate.

Schools, colleges, and campuses have been enthusiastic adopters of new smart video analytics inside existing and next-generation video security cameras to ensure staff and students alike remain safe. These institutions can now ensure social distancing mandates and mask-wearing with intelligent video security solutions. Our study discovered various priorities that will likely drive the education sector’s decision-making process to upgrade and improve video surveillance. 

Read on to discover more about these priorities and why they could offer you a different perspective on how to keep students and staff protected and your facilities secure.

1. Better integrations with existing systems

While video surveillance was not a necessity for many schools or colleges, the pandemic has been a catalyst for many of them to improve and upgrade existing physical security systems. And this is where an open and flexible video security solution can be a game-changer in the budget-constrained education sector. 

Third-party integrations allow IT and security managers to select the best-suited vendors for their requirements without being locked in, from security cameras and access control systems to communication tools. 

A solution such as Ava Cloud Video Security integrates with ONVIF-compliant security cameras from a wide range of manufacturers, as well as other manufacturer-specific protocols. But the integration ecosystem doesn’t end here. It includes a variety of access control systems for education stakeholders to choose from. They can increase school and campus security by limiting access to facilities based on policies and rules. Additionally, IT teams can create custom integrations with communication tools to send automatic notifications to superintendents, administrators, and other officers.

ava aware app timeline

2. Video analytics demand drives upgrades

Physical security with extensive video analytics capabilities is another top priority for security administrators and school resource officers. There is no shortage of network school security cameras that monitor buildings, parking lots, playgrounds, and other common areas. Issues like intrusions, vandalism, fighting, bullying, or vehicle accidents are common for many campuses. But security officers need actionable intelligence to prevent and respond to incidents before they escalate. The COVID-19 pandemic has also created the need for increased situational awareness. Without a real-time understanding of the environment, it is challenging to enforce preventative measures to control and mitigate the risk of transmission.

System and security operators need to assess and detect anomalies and improve traffic patterns or the campus layout. Some of the features that enable these objectives are people counting, density heatmaps in common areas, audio analytics to recognize specific sounds, like gunshots, screaming, loud noises, and object and anomaly detection. 

Ava’s cloud video security solution can be the answer to these upgrade demands. Users can add configurable maps of the entire campus to gain situational awareness and insights. Each map includes camera views, alarm views, and the ability to track people and objects as they move around.

What’s more, the Ava Aware Cloud video management system (VMS) is also available as Android and iOS apps, allowing superintendents to monitor the school facilities on the go. It also sends instant notifications to assure stakeholders and parents that students thrive in a safe learning environment.

3. Supporting better post-event decision making

Speed is critical. Within the confines of a school or a campus, the consequences of slow incident response time can be devastating. School security teams need to be able to review incidents within minutes instead of hours and days. The longer it takes for security personnel to gather, understand, and analyze the details of an incident, the greater the threat becomes. Responding to an active shooter, theft, intrusion, or assault requires an immediate action that isn’t usually available through existing technology.

While the amount of video footage can be overwhelming, with the help of machine learning-enabled similarity, appearance, and event searching, investigators can resolve incidents and find people and objects of interest quickly and accurately. 

Watch how users can perform fast searching using Aware Cloud's Smart Search capability below.

Aware Cloud's Smart Search in action

4. Enhanced cyber security features and compliance

Just as IT, Operations, and Security staff have had to run IT systems remotely during the pandemic, the teaching staff has had to teach via Zoom and other collaborative learning platforms. So much time spent relying on a secure internet connection has inevitably led to an increased focus on cyber security to protect access to data and e-learning resources. In March 2021, the University of Hertfordshire in England experienced a major cyber attack that shut down critical online learning apps, including Zoom, for the students enrolled. 

83% of school and university decision-makers questioned in our report thought it likely and very likely that they would need to focus more on cyber security for all devices and applications that are networked, as one impact of the pandemic, including video security equipment. Additionally, 71% of directors and managers running video security systems in schools and colleges will prioritize improving the video monitoring system’s resilience and backup systems. 

Ava Cloud Video Security has cyber security features baked into the design of every product component. Each Ava Camera and Ava Cloud Connector is provisioned with unique keys and certificates during manufacturing. The cameras and the Cloud Connectors connect to the Aware Cloud VMS via a TLS connection to ensure all data is encrypted in transit. 

All recordings and metadata are encrypted at rest in both the cloud and the camera. The encryption key is unique to each deployment, meaning that any theft of cameras cannot lead to leakage of your stored recordings. Finally, it’s easy to ensure secure access to video management data and footage through two-factor authentication and single sign-on. This means that the administrators are the only ones who can control who has access to live and recorded videos on rules-based access only.

Want to learn more about video security for the education sector?


Report: Education Sector Video Security Trends 2021

A market study that covers education institutions' priorities and which features are important for schools and colleges when considering a VSaaS provider.
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