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Schools turn to access control because it provides the overall structure to deter problems
Schools are beefing up their security, with access control their go-to technology

Schools are back in session after the winter break, but security is a 24/7 matter any time of year. K-12 and upper education are on high alert, dealing with increased incidents of violence, crime and vandalism. Access control is often the chosen technology of this vertical market, pairing well with CCTV, emergency communications and lockdown. Integrators and dealers who understand the nuances of this market can easily become preferred solution providers.

Gabriel Schonzeit, chief executive officer (CEO) of IDSecurityOnline.com, New York City, says schools are “absolutely” beefing up their security, with access control their go-to technology. IDSecurityOnline.com provides photo ID badge systems, software and supplies to industries including corporate, education, government, healthcare, retail and events.

School safety starts with a solid identification card program,” Schonzeit says. “Issuing secure ID cards to students, teachers, employees and visitors is critical to identifying who should be in the premises and who should not. We have seen a lot of schools upgrading their ID card system to add data to the cards and personalise technology with RFID cards.”

Multi-function cards and credentials

Schools also turn to access control because it provides the overall structure to deter problems. “Having a card access system will help the school know whether the doors are locked or not, and keep track of who enters the building. It also protects other assets such as IT rooms, labs or libraries. Another great benefit is that it adds practicality to students’ lives. One card can be used to gain access to classrooms but also pay for lunch, checkout a book, or use an IT room,” he says.

And there’s plenty for schools to choose from, depending on their needs and determined after a thorough security assessment. For example, schools with a limited number of students may go with basic ID cards, which makes perfect sense, he says.

School safety starts with a solid identification card program,” Schonzeit says

RFID and proximity cards are a great choice where crowd control is an issue. Colleges and universities select this type of technology because it streamlines the flow of students into the campus, thus avoiding long lines when a card has to be swiped or shown to a security guard. Students can use their ID card to pay for food, books and other on-campus purchases. A cashless system helps reduce lines and wait times while allowing users to track expenses.”

According to Schonzeit, one of the greatest evolutions in security over the last few years is that actions can now be taken anywhere, anytime. For example, many security systems allow you to keep an eye on what happens at your premises in real time from any mobile device.

“When an authorised person tries to force a door, emails are instantly sent to the security administrator. In case of a verified breach, access control systems can respond to different threat levels to automatically lock down buildings and turn control over to a pre-determined system procedure. It can be as easy as pushing a lockdown button on an app to maintain a locked system until the action is reversed.”

Providing the end user a solid plan for lockdowns and to make sure school security specifications are enforced is a great way for the dealer or integrator to add value to the specification and expand their scope of services.

“The security system will keep students safe only if the plan is enforced efficiently. Many schools invest in photo ID systems but fail to make sure that students actually wear their badge at all times. Lanyards and badge holders should always be part of an ID system. Enforcement of any security is critical to its effectiveness.”

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Author profile

Deborah O'Mara Owner, DLO Communications

Deborah L. O’Mara, SourceSecurity.com's dealer/integrator correspondent, is a veteran of the security marketplace, having extensive experience in security, fire alarm technology and integrated systems.

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