Schools today are very different than they were many years ago. Once considered a safe haven for students, increasing cases of mass violence and suicides on campus are shattering the perception of safety within school walls. Frighteningly, we have seen an increase in on-campus violence at colleges and universities, and we have learned in recent years that no school or community is immune to violence. With nearly 40 cases of campus shootings in 2014 , it’s evident the state of safety measures in educational institutions needs to be re-evaluated. Could technology play an integral role in making schools safer?
To a certain extent, schools and colleges are already using technology to address safety issues. In fact, many of these institutions have the latest security cameras, audio-visual equipment, intercoms, etc. on site, yet many of these measures would have little to no impact in the face of a crises. Why? Because most of the data and communication systems in place at schools are difficult to control and time-consuming to master. In an emergency situation demanding prompt action, these systems fail because they take too much time. Let’s look at how the right AV solutions can change this.
How AV Integration Promotes a Safer Learning Environment
Chances are good that a complete technology overhaul might not be financially feasible in a K-12 environment. As integrators, it’s up to us to devise the right hardware and software solution---one that builds a robust security system on the institute’s existing data and communication network. Additionally, the systems we suggest to our clients should include the following features:
Ease of use. Time is the most important factor when it comes to averting a crisis. As such, our prime focus should be on providing solutions that are fast, easy-to-use, and which do not have complex operational requirements. User friendliness should enable any user to take immediate action, without having to waste time figuring out how a particular system works.
Full AV coverage. For a truly all-inclusive safety measure, every classroom should have AV installations – projectors, hardware, speakers, alert systems, etc. Educators use these products every day and are very familiar and comfortable with it, and in an emergency situation AV tools have the ability to immediately alert the teaching staff about a crisis in the building. Instant alert systems can be integrated with an IP camera system to provide both audio and visual feedback from one classroom to another, or an administrator’s office, as well as alerting emergency personal. Seamless communication can absolutely help to stop danger in its tracks from the outset.
Extra layer of security. Audio and video footage from classrooms will also allow officials to more effectively monitor classroom activity. When an alert is triggered from a classroom, the administrative can quickly assess the situation and determine the action deemed fit, such as calling the police, arranging medical assistance, or starting a lock down procedure. This type of monitoring can help keep both students and staff safer and more secure.
New Safety Solution for Schools
Recently, an AV security solution called SAFE (Security Alert for Education) has been laid out for schools across the U.S. This solution uses video cameras connected to the network to generate real-time information from the school site through a live feed, which can be sent in the form of alert notifications to authorities, such as the law enforcement officials or whomever district policy dictates.
Timely action is crucial in resolving small matters before they escalate into life-threatening incidents. To eliminate the danger that can be caused by a lapse from the start of an emergency to the dispatch of emergency protocol or personnel, AV Integration could be the solution. The time saved by AV integration solutions could be life-saving, and well worth the investment from our clients from K-12 and higher educational environments.
What do you think? Do you see this as something important for AV integrators to focus on as a solution for their customers in the education field? What do you see as barriers to adoption? We’d love to hear your thoughts.