Systems Integration Is a Reality, But Are You Ready?

In many cases, technology is no longer a barrier to interoperability. Now campus officials must develop partnerships with others in their communities to fully integrate their solutions.

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In the years I’ve been covering security and life safety technology, there has been lots of talk about systems integration and all of the benefits it could provide.  The potential uses for integrated systems are many.

For example, when a 9-1-1 button is pressed at a campus emergency call box, cameras strategically placed on or near it could activate and let responding personnel see the person making the call, as well as the situation requiring a response. Another example: video surveillance could be triggered when an unauthorized individual attempts to use an access control smart card to enter a dorm or pay for a meal in the cafeteria. Emergency notification solutions such as SMS texting, E-mail, digital displays, computer pop-ups and more could be integrated so that users can activate these systems via one user interface.

Although the potential for the integration of disparate systems is there and has been achieved by some vendors and campuses, the full-fledged move toward interoperability has encountered quite a few speed bumps along the way. The reality was and is that very often, these systems still don’t talk to each other, let alone interoperate. This reality, however, it slowly changing, and the March issue of Campus Safety magazine describes how organizations like yours can blend new technology with the legacy systems you already have on campus.

Are You Ready to Embrace Building Systems Integration? in our March issue, for example, provides an overview of how one hospital adopted a solution that integrated access, fire, HVAC, elevators, lighting and security systems. Achieving Safety and Academic Excellence describes how a K-12 school district in Nevada integrated its audio enhancement system with video surveillance technology and panic alarms to not only improve student safety in the classroom, but also help students stay engaged with their lessons.

College Campus IDs Aren’t Just for Access Control Anymore covers the demographics behind school-issued IDs and how the various uses are integrated. For example, publicly funded colleges use credentials more for printing, transportation and as a debit card both on- and off-campus than private schools. Small town colleges use credentials for library checkout.

The ROI of an Integrated System on Campus describes how you and your colleagues can realize the economic benefits of an interoperable security system on campus.

There is a lot of good, hard work being done out there by campuses and their vendor-partners, and much of the technology is ready for you to take advantage of it. I hope the articles I’ve just mentioned will encourage you to further explore your integration options.

That being said, technology isn’t always the barrier to interoperability. Now you must develop your personal and professional partnerships in your communities, if you haven’t done so already.

No longer can anyone on campus who is in a position of authority — campus police, security, IT, residential life, nursing, emergency management, facilities, risk management, architects, engineers, parking, department heads, campus health services or administrators — sit in their silos and make decisions on their own. Stakeholder buy-in is critical for your organization’s success. Obtaining buy-in from the greatest number of stakeholders enables the sharing of resources and realization of economies of scale.

Hopefully, as a campus executive or administrator, you are sitting in on the planning meetings for your organization, developing the personal and professional partnerships needed to realize true systems integration.

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Robin Hattersley Gray
Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach. Twitter: @RobinHattSmiles www.LinkedIn.com/In/RobinHattersleyGray
Contact Robin Hattersley Gray: rhattersley@ehpub.com
View More by Robin Hattersley Gray
Access Control, Campus Command Post, Emergency Management, Smart Cards, Systems Integration, Video Surveillance

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