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Sony and Universal help Harton Technology College build an intelligent safety net around its students

The challenge

Harton Technology College is a highly successful 11-to-16 Department of Education and Skills (DfES) designated technology school with over 150 members of staff and 1,350 students drawn from a large area of South Shields.  In 1996, the management team made a considerable investment in new learning technology.  Since then, the College has received three Government Achievement Awards and has been recognised as one of the top 50 'most improved' specialist schools in the UK.

In 2002, the college was facing a number of critical security issues.  With 16 entrances distributed across various buildings, the college was becoming increasingly vulnerable to incidents of anti-social student behaviour, hoax fire alarms, vandalism and theft.  These incidents were costing the school a substantial amount of money each year.  However, the school's existing analogue CCTV cameras did not support responsive and efficient monitoring: they simply did not offer high quality images and recovering footage from the system was extremely time-consuming.

"Working with our local Crime Prevention Officers, we decided that we needed an advanced digital monitoring system that would help maintain a safe environment for our biggest assets, our students," explained Derek Bohill, Assistant Head Teacher at Harton Technology College.

Solution

Sony supplied the college with an advanced Network Video Monitoring solution.  Twenty-one Sony SNC-RZ30P Internet Protocol (IP) based cameras were installed in the school, covering the exterior and all entrance doors.  Later, six more cameras were installed on the second floor of the building.

The installation was managed by Universal Systems Solutions, a specialist UK provider of IT and Security solutions with many years of expertise in the education and public sector.  "Having worked with many schools in the past, we knew that Sony's equipment offered the best solution to the challenges Harton Technology College faced," said Kevin Bruce Sales Director, at Universal Systems Solutions. 

Sony SNC-RZ30P 
Twenty-one Sony SNC-RZ30P IP-based cameras were installed in the college

Benefits delivered

Sony's security solution enabled the College to install a powerful system quickly and with minimal complexity.  With the support of Universal Systems Solutions, the installation was completed within only 14 days and as a result of Sony's intelligent technology, the school began monitoring the building within minutes after the installation.

The school believes that the SNC-RZ30P is easy to maintain and use on a daily basis.  The College's managers only have to check the cameras once every morning - there is no need to monitor the system continuously.

"Sony's monitoring technology is child's play to use.  I can manage the whole system from my desk while I drink my morning coffee," explained Mr. Bohill.

In addition to ease of use, the Pan-Tilt 25x Zoom featured in the SNC-RZ30P cameras, provides the college with high quality images that offer exceptional clarity, which helps the school to identify suspicious incidents with pencil-sharp precision.

Why Sony - results

The Sony SNC-RZ30P cameras have helped the College establish a tight safety net around its students.  The management team can now watch the grounds at all times thanks to the day and night function of the camera, which can capture every single detail even under demanding lighting conditions.  The College can also control access to the system by limiting to relevant person only by password protection and IP security.

Today, with the help of Sony and Universal Systems Solutions, Harton Technology College is an even safer place to study and work.  The cameras have become a deterrent to any criminal or unwarranted behaviour within the school grounds, while anti-social behaviour, such as bullying, has been significantly reduced.

"Sony's monitoring technology is child's play to use. I can manage the whole system from my desk while I drink my morning coffee"



Recently, a student was bullied by her classmates in one of the school's corridors.  Knowing that the monitoring cameras were in use, she reported the incident to the school.  "Within minutes, we were able to track the students accused of bullying and resolve the situation immediately," said Mr. Bohill.

The return on investment from the system has been impressive.  "We have saved both time and money since using Sony's monitoring digital solution.  With the right technology in place, we can translate the money saved from repair costs into more teaching time for our students," claimed Ken Gibson, Head Teacher.

It is little surprise that Harton Technology College is becoming an example for local authorities and other schools in the area.  Following the installation, police officers and other school representatives have visited the College to find out more about this initiative.  One of the schools has already embraced digital monitoring technology in its own fight against school crime and as a result, has significantly reduced its repair costs from vandalism in only a short period of time.

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