The security of schools, colleges and universities and the safety of staff and students is one of the most important aspects of educational life. However, it is nearly impossible to deliver the necessary proactive approach within a limited budget.

This short guide provides an overview of the key issues facing educational organisations as well as a look at how innovative technology can help reduce cost, improve security and provide flexibility for progressive adoption of CCTV.

Protecting property, staff and students

Schools, colleges and universities share a number of common security issues. Balancing the requirements of accessibility with control and monitoring is challenging. Academic institutions primary desire is to spend resources on education and avoid administrative costs. As such, there is a requirement to gain as much value from CAPEX and to also simplify processes around security and facility management.

Education has benefited from ICT and although most campuses now have extensive data connectivity, the demand on these networks is growing and the additional burden of CCTV poses the potential for forcing expensive upgrades. In addition, campuses tend to have minimal facilities management teams which are often rolled into the ICT function. This means that CCTV needs to be simple and extremely reliable.

Finally, campuses are typically not setup for a centralised security control room. The common practice of distributed sites, schools and departments means that a single security desk is impractical. Accessibility to CCTV, for example to validate a visitor prior to entry, needs to be flexible enough to meet campus environments that are quickly evolving. This means the ability to integrate with intercom, door entry, barriers and card readers at a local level is often a vital requirement.

What are the common security problems faced by academic institutions that MOBOTIX can help solve?

We need to cover wider areas like recreation rooms, cafeterias or lecture halls but don’t want to use dozens of cameras.

MOBOTIX is the industry pioneer in high resolution hemispheric video which allows fewer cameras covering a wider area. The use of these fish-eye lenses and digital processing also solves the problems associated with legacy Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras through the use of a high resolution lens that captures an entire 360 degree scene which can be viewed, zoomed and studied in real time. However, this digital PTZ does not disrupt the on-going recording of the location. This allows a single hemispheric camera to cover large areas or even an entire room from a single ceiling vantage point without any break in coverage. MOBOTIX cameras are all over 3 megapixels in quality which means a single unit can provide enough detail to identify individuals with certainty.

We want to be able to act quickly when we see an issue captured by the CCTV. For example, asking students loitering in certain areas to move along to lessons or warn vandals that we can see their actions.

MOBOTIX cameras are unusually innovative in that they include built-in bi-direction audio capability to allow both local announcements and centralised messages to be played to any speaker connected to individual cameras. Each camera can also be linked to entry phones to allow visitors to communicate with facilities or reception staff who can remotely open doors. In some instances, campuses can setup contact points to help students and staff raise the alarm in the event of health or safety issue. Bi-directional audio can be seamlessly linked to existing intercoms, fire alarms and other audio systems without requiring complex third party equipment.

Our school has a limited budget for CCTV and wants to avoid the cost and complexity of building a dedicated CCTV control room – what are our alternatives?

MOBOTIX includes MxControlCenter, a licence free video management software, for recording and managing an unlimited number of clients, cameras and storage devices. Campuses can setup cameras to record video continuously, on schedule, on alarm and/or on motion detection. The software offers multiple search functions for recorded events with support for mobile devices. The inclusion of such powerful software allows even the smallest schools to benefit from simple to manage CCTV security. The software can be deployed on any Windows PC and with the right settings; any MxControlCenter can link to any camera allowing campuses to setup flexible monitoring and access control processes even out of hours for night watch staff using handheld smart devices.

We want to cover external areas such as playing fields, car parks and our external perimeter but extending traditional fixed network connectivity out to these sites is prohibitively expensive.

MOBOTIX CCTV cameras are IP65 rated which means they will work in every type of weather condition, temperature and humidity. In addition, each camera uses only 5w of power and includes built in support for mobile connectivity and internal storage. The MOBOTIX cameras can also be used over a wireless network. This means that with just the addition of power, campuses can extend CCTV coverage to a location without a fixed network. Instead, CCTV accessibility is delivered via low cost 802.11n based wireless networks or even 3G/4G where applicable. In addition, cameras can record video using internal flash memory and just send very low bitrate preview images over Wi-Fi to monitoring stations. The internal storage means that over a weeks’ worth of high resolution images are stored internally for later viewing in the event of a network link outage.

Our campus network is already pretty stressed; how can we upgrade to high resolution CCTV without an expensive network upgrade?

MOBOTIX use of distributed technology, built in storage and a highly efficient MxPEG video encoder means that the amount of traffic across the network is dramatically reduced. For example, in video motion recording, recordings will be made only when movement occurs in certain areas. An intelligent distributed CCTV solution will send images only when it needs to record them to its storage device. In contrast a traditional ’dumb‘ centralised system will be constantly sending images to the central location so that the software can make the decision to store it or disregard it. This means that with non-MOBOTIX CCTV there is always a network overhead, even when there is no movement. Schools that instead choose MOBOTIX can use its distributed technology to avoid having to upgrade the underlying network and instead setup quality and frame rates based on network availability.

Net-Ctrl and MOBOTIX

Net-Ctrl will be demonstrating the MOBOTIX solution on stand C73 at BETT 2015 along with a range of other great solutions. Net-Ctrl has been a MOBOTIX partner for a number of years. We house our own internal sales, support and installation teams to help you through your project.

We would be more than happy to discuss any potential projects you may have and outline the different options available to you from the MOBOTIX portfolio. Net-Ctrl also has the facility to loan cameras to schools to put them through their paces.

For more information on the MOBOTIX security portfolio please email [email protected].

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