Streamlining Todays Campuses

Streamlining Today's Campuses

Evolving technology is keeping campuses more secure

As K-12 and higher education campuses work diligently to advance security measures in the wake of increased risk across the nation, more administrations are searching for ways to make smart capital investments. With the rising focus on software- and cloud-based solutions, it is easier than ever to achieve integration between security-specific systems and database management systems for a streamlined approach. Students are constantly on the move from one building to another, and today’s open campuses have many scattered points of entry, making access control technology crucial for protecting not only the students but the staff and school’s assets as well.

Card readers and alarm systems provide the valuable access control data required to keep intruders out and safeguard a campus, while administrators manage dining hall or dorm access and classroom schedules from completely different systems. With today’s evolving technology, modern campuses are using security and IT functionality to address more than just security, allowing more streamlined data management and information to be gleaned from all systems to aid administrators in determining how that data is best used. Here are a few ways this can be done.

Energy. When access control systems are integrated with other technology, the simple act of swiping a card can communicate to the building management system to turn on lights in a specific area of a building. The same type of integrated system can also record when the last person leaves a building and turn down the temperature or lighting once the building is no longer in use. Not only does this contribute to gathering data on building usage for management purposes, but using access control data for energy efficiency can also lead to a significant reduction in energy use and costs.

Event management. Comprehensively monitoring every conference or activity that takes place on a college campus can be difficult, leading administrators to try and find new ways of granting and restricting access to buildings and classrooms. One new way security officials are avoiding problems with access control is by integrating event management systems with access control solutions.

Access control technology that already exists to secure facilities can also be used to make building scheduling easier. One single reservation system can be used to allow students to reserve a meeting space or classroom quickly and easily without having to be physically let in the room. For example, a student’s ID card can be used both as a method of identification as well as a tool to access a dining hall, dorm room or classroom at a specific time, such as for a late class or study sessions after hours. Campuses are turning toward allowing students to reserve labs or room space with their student ID cards from a single reservation system, which automatically grants or restricts access based on time of day. This saves significant time for building managers by avoiding having to grant or restrict access manually.

Additionally, this data can allow for the doors to be automatically unlocked for an event and relocked afterward, such as when a professor holds a late study session for students in a specific class. With just a bit of information, administrators managing a building can create “rules” for an entire list of students that will grant them access to a classroom or lecture hall for a specific time period.

Analytics. Data gathered from disparate systems, such as access points, building management systems and human resources software platforms, can be combined into a single platform to give officials a more comprehensive view of the campus landscape. Today’s higher education facilities are exploring additional ways to mine this data from disparate systems to provide insight into how students are using a particular building, classroom or area of the university. This data can help analyze traffic flow patterns that can streamline better campus- wide planning and operations.

Officials also look toward these analytics to help pinpoint problems before they arise, which can help thwart potential threats to the safety and security of faculty and students.

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Campus Security Today.

About the Author

Mitchell Kane is the president of Vanderbilt Technologies.

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