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Sight and Sound: Strengthen Your Campus’ Video Surveillance with Audio Monitoring

By deploying audio alongside a video system, security managers enable a faster intervention and greater prevention of campus violence.

Sight and Sound: Strengthen Your Campus’ Video Surveillance with Audio Monitoring

(Photo: gonin, Adobe Stock)

The views expressed by guest contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.


Every day, schools must grapple with safety and security incidents, including bullying, hate speech, fights, drug use, and more. According to the most recent School Survey on Crime and Safety, 9% of students reported being called hate-related words at school, 22% reported being bullied, and 71% of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents.

Between 2009 and 2019, this survey, a publication of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, observed a slightly decreasing trend in these safety and security incidents. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, that trend changed. From 2020-2021, most incidents of hate speech, bullying, and violence shifted online. In 2022, as many K-12 and university organizations across the nation are back in session — and under more stress than ever — the importance of proactive safety and security measures is immeasurable.

“I have observed an increase in bullying over the last few years,” said psychiatrist Leela R. Magavi, MD. “Children, adolescents, and adults of all ages have shared that they are experiencing a higher frequency and severity of bullying in disparate settings including online, school, work, and even home.”

When it comes to innovative safety and security solutions that ensure on-campus personnel are best equipped to address current and future challenges, audio monitoring devices have grown in popularity as the technology has evolved in recent years. Now outfitted with artificial intelligence (AI) and built to easily integrate into existing video surveillance systems, audio monitoring devices are a vital addition to traditional campus security systems.

Finding a Security Solution That Fits

Now that many campuses are preparing their security systems to address post-COVID-19 safety and security concerns, it is crucial that security managers revisit traditional systems, which typically rely on surveillance cameras and access control technologies (e.g. metal detectors and card readers). Reimagining these systems’ infrastructure to include industry-leading technologies, like audio monitoring, not only ensures staff and students are protected by an end-to-end safety and security solution, it also future-proofs these systems to provide that protection for years to come.

While it’s true that access control keeps unauthorized personnel off campus, perpetrators of the most concerning on-campus crimes, such as burglary, vehicle theft, and forcible sex offenses, are committed by those who already have access to campus. On top of this, even though the best in surveillance camera technologies are often able to capture these events on tape and even alert security personnel on campus of ongoing events, without the insights that audio monitoring devices provide, personnel don’t have enough information to respond to events effectively.

In order to implement an end-to-end safety and security solution on educational campuses, it’s critical that security managers integrate audio technology into their systems.

An End-to-End Solution

There are several audio monitoring technologies available to security managers on educational campuses, each of which addresses different needs unique to different security environments.

In classrooms, for example, where some of the worst occurrences of violence happen, two-way (talk/listen) speaker microphones serve a dual purpose: (1) as an intercom system, which security personnel and administrators alike can use to administer information, and (2) in tandem with various modes of audio/video transmission systems (e.g. DVR, IP camera, encoder).

In hallways, cafeterias, and other large common areas, installing audio monitoring kits, optimized using AI and designed to analyze audio data, allows security personnel to detect incidences of aggression or raised voices, verbal abuse, etc., covering potential video camera blind spots and alerting security personnel to potentially dangerous situations long before they escalate.

At main entrances, high-quality, push-button, two-way IP network intercoms simplify visitor management by helping administrators verify the identity of guests prior to their entering campus. These wide dynamic range audio devices deliver broad frequency response and are capable of picking up low- and high-frequency audibles, guaranteeing situational awareness and peace of mind.

For every safety and security need, there is an audio device built to address it. Whether it’s aggression and gunshot detection software for situational awareness, two-way speaker microphones for visitor management, or active speakers for outdoor or open-area announcements, there is a device out there for every campus.

Long-Term Benefits

On top of addressing immediate issues related to post-COVID-19 stressors, as well as a historically recent trend in gun violence, integrating audio solutions into educational campus safety and security systems offers a number of key, long-lasting benefits that will more than prove audio’s ROI potential:

  • Audio can be used as a verification system to help identify real threats and provide first responders with the most information related to the incident as possible.
  • Audio gives security personnel and administrators the ability to communicate with students, visitors, and staff in real-time, making audio a valuable port of entry standard, as well as a natural addition to public spaces of all sizes — from classrooms to parking lots.
  • By deploying audio alongside a video system, security managers enable a faster intervention and greater prevention of campus violence.

Richard Brent is the CEO of Louroe Electronics.

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