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Avigilon's high definition solution transforms surveillance security system at Walsall Academy

Published on 5 Jan, 2011

 The Walsall Academy installed Avigilon HD cameras to achieve 24x7 coverage of the main entrances, parking lots, athletic fields, corridors, cloak rooms, and technology suites.
Walsall Academy installed Avigilon HD cameras and analogue video encoders to enhance the quality of coverage

The Walsall Academy installed Avigilon HD cameras to achieve 24x7 coverage of the main entrances, parking lots, athletic fields, corridors, cloak rooms, and technology suites. Walsall Academy also deployed Avigilon analogue video encoders to boost the performance of its existing analogue-based cameras, which are located throughout the interior of the school. This hybrid system is managed using Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise network video management software (NVMS). Walsall Academy also installed an Avigilon HD network video recorder to store up to 6 weeks of continuous surveillance video.

Benefits

Enhanced image quality and advanced functionality have improved overall security at the Academy, causing a ripple effect amongst students and contributing to good overall behaviour. Because of its user-friendly interface and ease-of-management, Walsall Academy has been able to train more users on the Avigilon HD Surveillance System to share the workload and achieve greater investigative success.Users can now search for details in a third of the time previously required and can quickly and easily export video to share with local law enforcement. By leveraging its fixed assets and improving the performance of its analogue cameras, the Academy has saved significant installation and maintenance costs, and was able to upgrade to HD surveillance for the same cost of adding analogue cameras.

Meeting national standards in education

The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED) was established in 2007 to ensure the highest standards in care and education for children, young people, and students of all ages across the United Kingdom. In recent years, student safety has become a top priority for OFSTED inspectors, who carry out hundreds of reports and regulatory visits each week.

"Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise software is not only highly effective, it is also very user friendly."



Walsall Academy's overall effectiveness has been graded outstanding, not only for excellence in academic achievement, but also because of its students' exemplary behaviour, due in large part to the Academy's ability to manage student behaviour firmly but fairly. "Having a reliable, high quality surveillance system to monitor hot spots across the campus has played a significant role in our ability to not only protect our high value areas - such as our technology and music suites - but also to ensure our students' safety, well-being, and good conduct," explained Adrian Bowater, Director of Finance at The Walsall Academy. "We are proud to have achieved such high standards in student behaviour."

Built in 2003, Walsall Academy in Bloxwich, West Midlands is a state-of-the-art facility that offers 1,150 secondary students the opportunity to specialise in science, technology, and performing arts, along with a wide range of academic and work-related courses. Walsall Academy instills a positive culture where high standards and traditional values of good behaviour, honesty and mutual respect are the hallmarks. Focussed on providing a calm and purposeful yet challenging learning environment, Walsall Academy recently upgraded its surveillance system to the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, leveraging its superior image clarity and advanced functionality to better protect its high value areas and safeguard staff and students.

Surveillance grows as needs evolve

A 189,000 square foot two-storey facility, Walsall Academy installed a basic analogue-based surveillance system when it was first built but found that the image quality and management features could not always meet their needs. "As we identify new areas that require coverage, our needs have naturally evolved - and will no doubt continue to do so over time," explained Bowater.

Limited by a fairly tight budget, the Academy was not in a position to replace its existing analogue system entirely, but wanted to improve its system performance and investigative success. To achieve his performance goals, Bowater chose to upgrade the Academy's software for better results and turned to the experts at Technical Services (Shropshire) Ltd., a local provider of surveillance system design, installation, and service, who recommended Avigilon.

"To make better use of our existing cameras, we chose to upgrade to the Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise network video management software (NVMS) platform to enhance system management and dramatically improve image quality, leading to more effective investigations and greater conflict resolution."

Avigilon protects Academy

Administrators now seamlessly manage the Academy's hybrid surveillance system using Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise NVMS with HD Stream Management and installed Avigilon HD cameras to monitor main entrances and parking lots for reliable license plate recognition, and to cover corridors, cloak rooms, and technology suites for greater image detail and facial recognition.

"By deploying the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we were able to expand our coverage and improve image quality for the same cost as adding more analogue cameras."

Walsall Academy also installed Avigilon analogue video encoders to boost the performance of its existing analogue-based cameras which are located throughout the interior of the school, and an Avigilon HD network video recorder (NVR) to store up to 6 weeks of continuous surveillance video - a big improvement over its previous system, which could only store seven days of footage.

"We now have fuller coverage of the facility so we can track who is onsite to ensure the upmost security at any time of the day or night," said Bowater. The Avigilon HD Surveillance System operates 24x7 and is monitored live by administrators during the day and remotely by key staff if necessary.

An early success boosts behaviour

"The surveillance system is critical to our ability to track students' behaviour and reduce horseplay and petty theft," explained Bowater. With the Academy's previous system, particularly in high traffic areas, Bowater was not always be able to identify a student involved in a misdeed. "Now, when we add new cameras, we find that the problems move to other areas that aren't currently being monitored - a mark of the system's success in helping to reduce student misbehavior in key areas." As budget permits, the Academy will expand the system to cover all hot spots.

Saving time and closing cases

With advanced features to improve performance and manageability, Avigilon Control Centre not only saves the Academy time, it also dramatically improves investigative success. "Leveraging Avigilon Control Centre's advanced search capabilities, we can find specific footage in a third of the time, significantly expediting investigations," added Bowater. The school can also quickly and easily export video and photos to give to local police officers who have occasionally relied on the Academy's surveillance system in their own investigations.


Advanced features improve manageability and effectiveness

According to Bowater, "Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise offers great flexibility to dramatically improve our ability to research difficult situations, significantly boosting our overall investigative success." Without a full-time security staff, school administrators manage the surveillance system, so ease-of-use was another top priority. "Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise software is not only highly effective, it is also very user friendly," said Bowater.

"Leveraging Avigilon Control Centre's advanced search capabilities, we can find specific footage in a third of the time, significantly expediting investigations."



"The school's previous analogue-based surveillance system was simply not as intuitive, requiring a certain level of expertise to manage it." With support and training from Avigilon's partner BFI OPTiLAS Ltd., school administrators were quickly up and running on the Avigilon HD Surveillance System - and achieving remarkable results. "Previously, we only had two technical staff members who could work the old analogue-based system but with Avigilon Control Centre Enterprise, we were quickly and easily able to expand the team to share the load," he added.

HD surveillance at the cost of analogue

Like most educational institutions around the world, Walsall Academy must find innovative solutions to advance the educational experience while working within fairly tight budgets. With this in mind, the Academy chose the Avigilon HD Surveillance System because it leverages the school's fixed assets while significantly improving overall system performance. "Because our analogue cameras are not that old, we did not feel the need to replace them entirely, but at the same time, we didn't want to run two separate systems," said Bowater. By installing Avigilon analogue video encoders, Walsall Academy can actually achieve better results with its analogue cameras without the expense of having to remove them and install cabling for all new cameras. "By deploying the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we were able to expand our coverage and improve image quality for the same cost as adding more analogue cameras."

A ripple effect makes the difference

A key tool in the Academy's plan to maintain excellent student behaviour, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System has helped Walsall Academy create a safe and enjoyable environment for students and staff. "With the Avigilon HD Surveillance System in place, our students know that we can achieve better quality footage if incidents do occur, which has caused a ripple effect across the student body to improve overall conduct," concluded Bowater. "You can almost feel the difference."

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