State-Of-The-Art Centralized Security Platform Redefines Campus Safety

NYC-based School of the Visual Arts partners with an integrator and manufacturer to bolster the protection of students, faculty, staff and campus physical assets.

Safety has always been a priority for New York City’s School of Visual Arts (SVA). In addition to ensuring the personal safety of all members of its community, it is critical for the college to secure computer equipment, specialized technology and other high value academic and administrative assets. Further, given its diffuse campus, large commuter-student population and commitment to civic responsibility, SVA’s security interests extend beyond its own buildings. Occasionally, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has asked SVA to provide video footage for ongoing investigations that are unrelated to campus activities. These security needs require reliable access to information on college community members and visitors, as well as robust surveillance capabilities.

SVA already had standalone video surveillance and door access systems on campus, but administrators were interested in upgrading their overall security system and simplifying the management of security operations college-wide.

“We needed a centralized system,” says Cosmin Tomescu, SVA’s chief information officer. “We were looking for a solution that would easily integrate with the majority of the equipment already in place. The objectives were to minimize the impact on our security office and reduce the cost of re-cabling every location.”

Campus at a Glance

For more than six decades, the School of Visual Arts (SVA) has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals. It is comprised of more than 6,000 students at its New York City campus, 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, 1,100 faculty and 700 staff members. SVA’s classrooms, facilities and offices occupy 15 buildings in Manhattan, and the school’s security staff totals 93 members.

SVA Selects an Integrator for the Job
In May 2014, the SVA administrators contacted Idesco Corp. to initiate the upgrade. A provider of security solutions and SVA’s security partner since 2011, Idesco has worked with other high-profile New York City campuses, including New York University and Pace University, and has installed and integrated numerous security, such as access control, video surveillance, ID badging, biometrics, turnstiles and visitor management.

By working with a security integrator they trusted, SVA administrators could rest easy knowing that the right security professionals were on their team and could advise them properly to improve security throughout the campus. It’s crucial for schools to have a trusted security advisor on board that can work closely with their IT and security departments to upgrade their current security system effectively. 

Silos Prevented Legacy System Optimization
SVA administrators asked Idesco to find ways that the college could do more with its existing systems, which included an access control system with more than 400 proximity card readers for door access, along with standalone wireless door locks.

“Proximity card readers provide ease of use, strong security, valuable access control information for security investigations and a high degree of control for the academic and administrative departments that maintain the spaces,” Tomescu says. “And wireless door locks with built-in proximity card readers allow for rapid deployment of security to areas lacking existing infrastructure nearby.”

Check out our slideshow of SVA’s new security systems!

SVA also maintains more than 700 surveillance cameras in outdoor and/or public areas such as sidewalks, building perimeters, entrance lobbies, common areas, stairways, hallways, classrooms, basements and roofs. Tomescu believes that HD megapixel cameras offer the best option for recognition during live streams and footage review. The school also uses infrared cameras to monitor high-traffic areas with fluctuating light conditions, such as lobbies and building exteriors.

Although these legacy access and video solutions were a step in the right direction, Idesco was called in so the solutions could be optimized.

“We analyzed and reviewed SVA’s security platform and found that their solution did not allow them to use their system to its fullest capacity,” says Michael Troiani, service manager at Idesco. “Basically, their campus was comprised of isolated silos of information that did not interact. Unconnected, this data’s full value is not fully maximized. Our objective was to connect data silos, create software connections that mitigate risk, secure all buildings and protect people and property.”

SVA reviewed all options, selected a new security platform and asked Idesco for help to implement the system that they wanted.

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