Why Your Campus Needs a Network-Based Public Address System

Switching these legacy systems from analog to network-based provides better protection while also saving money.

There are very few technologies that touch multiple generations when it comes to school safety. Although advances in technology have allowed for significant improvements, intercoms and Public Address (PA) systems have been used in schools for decades.

While the continually evolving threat landscape has influenced how and for what these systems are used, nearly all grandparents, parents and children who have or currently attend public or private schools have experienced the use of these systems in one way or another.

“It has a proven track record and it’s reliable. PA systems have been used in schools since the late fifties, sixties for public address, and those systems, people are familiar with the operation. They’re used every day for morning announcements, afternoon announcements — all sorts of information is conveyed to the student body,” says Peter Jova, president of Telecor, a communications provider. “They also operate the bell schedules, so people are used to it. It’s also familiar to have the principal’s voice come through every day. So if there’s an emergency, that’s perfect — the students will follow those instructions far more likely than if it’s a stranger’s voice or something else.”

At the Campus Safety Conference (CSC) at EDspaces, editor-in-chief Robin Hattersley had the opportunity to speak to Jova about the relevance of intercoms and PA systems in schools today, their strengths and limitations, and how switching these legacy systems from analog to network-based is both cost-saving and necessary to optimize campus safety.

“The old legacy systems, if you wanted to change bell schedules, you had to do it from the school site. Principals had to do it on a regular basis. With the new technology, all of this can be done remotely. The district office can make all those changes. You can have one person changing all of your school’s bell schedules across the network, also troubleshooting the new system,” Jova said. “Technology has [also] brought about a feature where the system actually notifies and can send you an email or a text message of what system is down — even down to [which device]. Those features are not available on legacy, and that’s a huge benefit.”

Jova also spoke about supplementing PA systems with signage and strobe lights, and the benefits and limitations of integrating personal devices into PA systems, among other things. Check out the full video interview.

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