Campus Security - A New Plan
I had the recent pleasure to take part in an information exchange with a large university in the Southeast US. The folks from the University were IT-centric in experience as opposed to the typical security-focused end user. Mainly, they were driven to the discussion by their vehement dis-satisfaction with the currently installed product. Of course they had needs as they were passed on by their customers, the actual users of the system. These would include the typical security based needs, like recover stolen property, video as evidence in an assault or other violent crime, and parking garage security.
In addition, these folks were also thinking about the typical means by which funding for a project like this might be had. Namely, a mediocre budget approved by committees mostly removed from the actual project.
With the help of a pretty knowledgeable team of experts, the discussions quickly took on a new life. Consider first, E-Learning. All the rage in some higher education circles, and especially those who have been doing distance, and online courses for some number of years. But the typical “brick and mortar” university would have a hard time justifying purchasing a camera system solely for the purpose of E-Learning, when it’s not their primary focus. However, what if, while the university was entertaining the idea of a new IP video security system, they also pooled budgetary dollars from general education to add a camera (and audio equipment) for many of the lower level lecture halls. These cameras, and audio could simply be added into the IP Video System. As a regular process after the class the Professor’s Assistant could export the video as a standard AVI clip (able to be played on any AVI player, like MS Media Player, or Quicktime). This video could be then uploaded to a central repository, like products offered by EMC, and made available for students of they miss a lecture.
Also thinking outside the box, many educational institutions have book stores and Student union buildings, which have Point of Sales (POS) registers, or ATM machines. Why not marry the transactional data (from POS and ATMs) to the video? Indeed, many retail facilities like Target, Home Dept and Walmart have been doing this for years. Why? To combat internal theft (AKA shrinkage) and give a more likely chance to give video evidence in the case of a robbery or other altercation at the register. What about training for new employees? Again, budgetary dollars for a system that was initially just a perimeter protection becomes pooled by other interested departments.
Of course, the typical campus wouldn't be alone in needing wireless cameras transmitted across campus lakes, parking lots (to save the campus from costly trench-digging), and building wireless bridges from building to building. For events, mobile video units could be set up for large festival and sporting events. Video Systems can be set up on towable trailers to drive to a site, turn it on and leave it to transmit video back to the central head end. These pieces can be realized with the Verint line of products.
Finally, when a university considers how it might obtain more budgetary dollars for immediate solutions to their Security and Surveillance needs, they should consider working with larger organizations to help lobby state and local legislators. Some of these larger organizations, like CDW and EMC, are already vendors of the university and already have the connections to the lawmakers.
By the end of the discussions, the university folks had some great usage ideas to take to the committees to build credibility for the new projects. These are the exciting parts of what I do, because by educating the university as to what CAN be done, it increases the likelihood a proven product will be chosen and the students, faculty and families around the university will be protected…
Just food for thought…
- Security Caffeine