The Importance of Flexibility When Locking Down a Campus

Openpath leverages the cloud to help campuses manage access, as well as quickly lockdown during an emergency.

The ability of a school, university or healthcare facility to lockdown is critical, yet doing so quickly and in a flexible fashion can be a challenge. In this interview with Campus Safety magazine, Openpath’s James Segil and Alex Kazerani describe the benefits of the Openpath system, what makes it different and the importance of flexibility during a lockdown.

Campus Safety: What is Openpath, and why is it different?

James Segil: Openpath is an access control solution that leverages the cloud — all our software’s hosted in the cloud — and the mobile phone to give you a better experience, an easier and more convenient way to lock and open doors and manage an access system for a building, a campus, a business, a school, a hospital, really whatever organization you have.

CS: What are some of the challenges you’ve seen with other access control and lockdown systems?

Alex Kazerani: Other systems are deployed on site, on premise and we wanted to build a system that is cloud based. The benefit of this system is that you can control all your facilities, all your locations, with a single pane of glass. That means that if a user has credentials, whether it’s mobile, fob or badges, now you can give them permission to access one site or all of your sites, and you can control their schedules from one single dashboard.

CS: How is Openpath different?

JS: Access control systems have been around for a while, and they’ve approached lockdown as a problem with a very simplistic way of thinking… a single plan that basically locks all the doors. We’ve noticed that, in the situations where you need lockdown, there’s a lot more complexity involved. So we built a really flexible engine that allows you to configure multiple plans based on the lockdown requirements that your building, your campus or your business needs. You can set up a plan that unlocks, for example, all the gates so that first responders can quickly come in and access the property while locking down all the doors in a building. You can set up a plan that secures a zone in a building while leaving everything else unlocked or secures one building of a campus and leaves the others alone. These multiple plans can easily be enabled by security professionals, they can be overridden by first responders, and they can be enabled by basically a panic button or any mobile access solution that you have. So we really put flexibility into the lockdown value proposition, which didn’t exist before.

AK: Another great thing about our lockdown is, once you create a plan, you’re given an API key, so you can trigger the APIs via your mobile phone, via buttons under your desk or a panic button on a wall, or via gunshot detectors that you can locate anywhere in the building. So the system can be as automated as you like and you can control exactly as many entries in a way that you want them to perform during a lockdown event.

JS:  Openpath’s system is also built on open standards. This means you can integrate it with all the other security systems that you have on your campus or on your building. So we integrate with your video management and surveillance system, we integrate with your alarm system, we integrate with your visitor and student management systems. So entering users, getting students and administrators into the system, is a sync with another third-party directory service. Integrating with video management or security alert systems, messaging systems, mustering systems, all that is super easy to do because we built the system to be flexible and open.

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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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