Keeping an Eye on the Kids

Grambling State University is upgrading its security technology in order to continue attracting the nation’s best and brightest students, while easing parental concerns about safety.

Parents are now much more cautious when vetting potential schools for their children, and campus security is quickly becoming a key factor. To improve their appeal, colleges and universities are increasing their campus security staff and investing more in innovative security technologies.

Here’s how Grambling State University (GSU) is integrating its video and access control to achieve not only greater security, but also cost savings and operational efficiencies.

Management of Previous Video Equipment was Challenging
GSU’s first foray into campus security technology a few years ago included video surveillance. However, it involved an isolated deployment of cameras, which made centralized management of video virtually impossible. This also made the system more expensive than necessary.

Card readers were also used by GSU, but they operated behind a manual system that required the security staff to physically retrieve data directly from the readers. Additionally, this technology was not integrated with the campus video surveillance system. As a result, two expensive pieces of technology were unable to mesh with one another and deliver real time data.

The unfortunate reality is that GSU’s experience is very common among schools turning to technology to deal with the security issues. IT sales reps are increasingly under pressure to shorten their sales cycles by placing their emphasis on high-volume equipment sales instead of developing a comprehensive plan to address the long-tem needs of a university. Proposals sometimes include expensive, cutting-edge technology that may or may not address the entire problem.

However, experience is always a teacher, and the lesson was certainly learned by Winfred R. Jones, GSU’s associate vice president of IT. His initial experience gave him a solid vantage point for identifying the need to implement a more robust enterprise solution that could be deployed in a completely integrated and centrally managed format.

The key to it all is the advent of the IP network that integrates voice, video and data into a manageable platform. “We wanted a system that could allow us to take advantage of the latest technology and also provide us with a universal solution across the entire university,” says Jones.

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