The Importance of IP Video Surveillance in Schools
by Ken Shafton | Jul 27, 2018
For the quality of the educational experience as well as the safety of the students, it's important that schools view safety as the highest priority. Administrators need to closely examine the security options available to them in the video surveillance marketplace. They should begin with a thorough look at what network-based video technology can do in the community's local educational facilities, compared to traditional analog systems.
Today, the industry is in the middle of a paradigm shift as it slowly gravitates from analog video systems to digital Internet protocol (IP). The use of IP-based video is now the default way to go, and nowhere else in society has this new flavor of video surveillance as well received.
Frank Kondor, Managing PartneratOmni Data LLC, West Haven, Connecticut, said his company is only putting in place IP Video for businesses and schools, and that the latest software offering shot detection, facial recognition and laser sensor activations are driving the sale of IP further.
"About 80 percent of every DVR [digital video recorder] we sell are IP camera," Kondor said.
Use of Network-Based Video
In the beginning, security companies installed and serviced analog cameras in educational facilities as well as in commercial, industrial and retail markets. For the most part, those analog devices served the industry well, but since the introduction of IP Video and network infrastructures, the number of IP video installations has taken off and is now the only solution being proposed, installed and implemented.
In schools, colleges and universities, IP cameras allow officials to better track and identify suspicious individuals as they enter and leave facilities. IP cameras allow administrators to monitor parking lots, sidewalks and critical entrances with greater clarity and efficiency.
When real-time observation is not feasible, IP video allows images to be recorded on an assortment of digital media for later review. Network video offers the advantage of capturing real-time events as they happen and storing them on a computer hard drive. And because of megapixel imagers, IP video has the ability to record images in near-to-life resolution and speed.
Because of their digital nature, images from an IP camera also can be easily exported for law enforcement use without degrading image quality. A watermark within the digital framework of each image verifies its authenticity. This is especially important when video images are extracted as evidence to use in a court of law.
Megapixel IP cameras also allow schools to do more with fewer employees, which is important to cash-strapped institutions. Through the use of live and recorded video, the number of security personnel can often be reduced and replaced with IP video cameras. Instead of a school full of security officers, many educational facilities can effectively function with a handful.
Adding Cameras to an Existing Infrastructure
Another advantage to using IP cameras is the relative ease with which they can be added to an existing local area network (LAN). Most educational facilities have a LAN installed throughout the buildings. This eliminates the need to install coaxial and power cables from one end of each building to the other, which must be done when installing analog cameras. Not only does this save time, but it also saves money because installers do not have to contend with the same amount of metallic cable.
"In this environment, where cost is a significant driver, being able to use the existing infrastructure allows us to reduce the installation cost to the customer," Kondorsaid. "And not only is the wire (Category 5e) cheaper when it comes time to install a network, but it's easier to pull. And it makes it easier and faster to expand when needed. In addition, IP technology makes it possible to record multiple facilities on the enterprise level and to do so using megapixel-type cameras."
Not only do IP cameras use Category 5e or 6 cable, which is generally cheaper than coaxial, but sometimes the choice can be between installing a $700-megapixel camera with a 6-foot extension cord to a network's wall outlet to get a robust, high-resolution picture or paying an installer $500 to run new coaxial cable the entire distance of a school for analog. IP video also allows for rapid deployment where there is an existing network, something educational facilities may need as security requirements change.
"An environment like that of a school is constantly changing and so will their need for covert and overt camera placement," Kondorsaid. "An IP video strategy allows for much easier camera movement."
Balancing the Need for IP Video
Opponents of IP-based video cameras maintain that such a pie-in-the-sky approach to video surveillance is not worth the cost. Ask some information technology (IT) managers, and they may say attaching IP cameras to a school's network isn't practical because the cameras require a lot of bandwidth.
While it is true that not every school requires megapixel quality video, those that use one say you can't have too much resolution when it comes to proving your case in court.
"The most compelling reason to use IP is the simplest one: don't send 12 hours of an empty stairwell at 3 MB per second. Use the camera as a gate-keeper so only interesting video is sent," Kondorsaid.
In this case, when a camera is first installed, it will send a complete image of the stairwell. After that, only those pixels that have changed are sent to the head-end.
Although digital high-resolution cameras may not be ideal for every application, they are a potent new tool in the security expert's bag of tricks.
At Omni Data LLC,we take the security of your school very seriously.
Not only are we experts in video surveillance security cameras, but we can partner with you to develop an integrated vandalism and theft prevention solution to protect your school from theft, damage and destruction. Contact us today to learn how we can help you safeguard your school.
Omni Data is a boutique network solutions company that specializes in physical access security and network infrastructures. For nearly 20 years, Omni has been working closely with clients to develop and manage their networks to be a seamless system that works trouble free and securely.
Omni Data LLC
West Haven, Connecticut
T: 203-387-6664 | W: www.myomnidata.com