Guest Column | February 27, 2014

How To Focus IP Video Surveillance On The Needs Of Education, Courts

IP Video Surveillance School

By Steve Surfaro, Security Industry Liaison, Axis Communications

Features and functions of video surveillance systems vary, depending on the application. Below is information on K-12 education, university and higher education, and courthouse and remote arraignment applications.

Video surveillance for K-12 applications

Video surveillance in K-12 is focused primarily on safety, security, and loss prevention. Most deployments include IP cameras in public spaces like halls, assembly areas, outdoor playgrounds, classrooms equipped with high-value assets, and high value storage. IT integrators have a great opportunity to leverage their expertise in sharing existing infrastructure yet keeping the system virtually separated from school-specific solutions like learning management, public assembly simulcast, voice over IP (VoIP), and Internet access.

Since the video surveillance system is used primarily as a forensic investigation tool and real time situation awareness in crisis management, the IT integrator is able to focus skills on modeling network usage with these scenarios.

Specific solutions required for K-12 — like lockdown and escape path access control — are integration opportunities with video surveillance.  Lockdown may be initiated from authorized users on mobile devices equipped with special applications and using the video surveillance system as visual confirmation. Nearby cameras on the video surveillance system can be automatically accessed in the event of emergency messaging from mobile devices.

There are specific features on IP cameras like corridor format, wide dynamic range (WDR), and technology to enhance images in low-light conditions that enhance K-12 surveillance. Corridor format orients the image in a portrait format, adding more pixels to K-12 hall surveillance applications.

Video surveillance for University and higher education applications

Video surveillance for universities is designed around the safety, physical and cyber security, loss prevention, and physical access control of students, faculty, and staff.  Most deployments include IP cameras in public spaces like halls, assembly areas, outdoor green spaces, classrooms equipped with high-value assets, and high value storage.

The video surveillance system is used in all four categories of real-time observation, forensic investigation, automatic recognition (like vehicle license plate capture), and real time situation awareness in crisis management. IT integrators skills are put to use on modeling network usage with all scenarios.

Since the university is equipped with a data center supporting the larger student, faculty, and staff population, the IT integrator can use video surveillance to comply with standards like PCI-DSS and improving cyber resilience.

Since electronic access control is a critical function protecting high-risk areas like student dormitories and laboratories, there is an opportunity for video surveillance interface for improved alarm event management. Emergency call boxes and emergency messaging from mobile devices can automatically activate nearby cameras on the video surveillance system using location-based services.

As in K-12 applications, the corridor format feature applies more pixels to a video scene and WDR and light finder features render more usable images in difficult lighting.

Automated recognition built right into the IP cameras can perform enhanced functions like vehicle license plate capture and report potential vehicles of interest to campus law enforcement.  A people-counting application built into an IP video surveillance camera in public assembly areas can reduce potential safety risks due to high occupancy.

Courthouses and remote arraignment applications

Video surveillance for federal, state, and local courthouses is designed to balance public access, separation of individuals involved in the judicial process, and criminals. IP cameras are deployed at entrance areas, public spaces like lobbies and cafeterias, court rooms, judicial staff chambers, arraignment facilities, holding areas, and interview rooms.

IP cameras may be used to help speed court hearings, depositions, and remote arraignment.  This application of IP cameras by the skilled IT integrator represents a significant opportunity to leverage the video surveillance system for multiple uses and recover system costs. With the potential presence of dignitaries, government officials, and high profile individuals in courthouses, the ability of the IP video surveillance system to scale is critical and aligned well with the IT integrator’s expertise. Depending on the profile of multiple court cases, the IP video surveillance system may also be used for televising court cases and verification of intimidating conduct within the courtroom itself.

Most often the security of courthouses centers on the use of metal detectors, and other methods of entry screening of visitors and their possessions before entering the building. The IP video surveillance system is a key tool used in recording all entries and deliveries.

More information is available on Axis Communications’ solutions for industries, as well as technologies such as Lightfinder.