Laurel School District is home to more than 3,200 students and five school facilities. It is the public school district for the city of Laurel, Mississippi, an area known for oak-lined streets and turn-of-the-century architecture. Located in Southeast Mississippi, the city was founded after significant growth in the timber industry. It eventually became a large milling town, but a new industry formed in 1942 when oil was found. Today, more than 150 companies provide regional service for oil and gas drillers in the Laurel area.
School security challenge
Laurel School District previously installed analogue cameras to help monitor activity and enhance security across its district facilities. As the analogue cameras began reaching end of life, the school turned to local integrator All Safe Technologies to assist in the migration of its video camera network to an IP-based solution.
"We were interested in moving to IP because we have more options with image clarity and functionality," said Jeff Davis, Technology Coordinator, Laurel School District. "Another driver was a renovation of one of our schools, which was built in the 1920s. We decided to install analogue devices in that school, and since it was designed as a closed-concept building with lots of corners and hidden spots, the cost of pulling and installing cable was quite high. This propelled us to look at an IP solution that could leverage our network infrastructure."
The school sought out new camera technology for another important reason: Its analogue system failed to see an incident at one of the schools because it did not have visibility into a particular corner of the facility. As a result, the school district was especially interested in MOBOTIX technologies because hemispheric technology would enable it to gain wider areas of view, while reducing camera counts.
"We quickly realised that one MOBOTIX camera could replace four traditional cameras, which led to significant cost savings,"
Immediate reduction in hardware investments
"We quickly realised that one MOBOTIX camera could replace four traditional cameras, which led to significant cost savings," Davis said. "Furthermore, the video quality is far more exceptional, and we can see in four different directions with the Q25. There was no contest when we compared MOBOTIX against other cameras."
Because of the immediate reduction in hardware investments, getting approval for the new system from school administrators was an easy task, Davis said. Administrators applauded the immediate and long-term cost savings as well as the enhanced image quality delivered by MOBOTIX. School officials also were focused on being proactive — adding cameras before a security breach could occur — rather than being reactive, and were willing to support the project 100 percent because of this mission.
The initial installation consisted of adding 18 Q25 cameras to cover high-traffic areas such as building entrances and exits, reception areas, main foyers, halls and gyms. There is an additional high-traffic area at one of the district’s high schools: Students walk from the parking lot at the school, across the street to the field house where sports activities take place. One Q25 helps school administrators monitor traffic in this area, which sees hundreds of students walking to and from each day. It also is useful during sporting events such as football games, which are very popular in the area.
"This project demonstrates that it is possible for schools of any size to leverage the capabilities of a MOBOTIX video surveillance system "
The MOBOTIX camera network, which is managed through MxEasy software, delivers excellent imagery while using significantly less network bandwidth and storage than comparable devices. MxEasy allows administrators to control up to 16 cameras through an intuitive interface. In fact, the software’s inherent simplicity was a key requirement for the school. It only takes a few minutes to find footage, and users can easily view four different video scenes on one monitor. Additionally, all of the camera settings, including zoom, brightness, volume, microphone sensitivity and storage requirements, can be controlled through this powerful software package.
Improving student safety and behaviour
The primary goal of Laurel School District’s new surveillance solution is to improve the safety of students and staff, but it has also helped correct student behaviour. Recently, there was an incident of theft, resulting in students pointing fingers at each other. Recorded video footage was pulled from the MOBOTIX system and showed exactly what occurred, enabling officials to ensure the correct student was held accountable.
In addition to the MOBOTIX camera network, the school also has installed a MOBOTIX T25, an IP video door station with an integrated 5 megapixel hemispheric camera, to help control access at one of its schools. Officials also plan to add more devices in the near future. Right now, the T25 is used to monitor access to the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program to ensure only authorized individuals and parents gain access. Now, the school district plans to add additional T25s, starting at its elementary school.
Another benefit of the school’s T25 is the mobile capabilities delivered by the MOBOTIX App. Security officers can leverage their mobile devices to open the door for visitors, see live video of those trying to gain access and access alarm information.
"The installation at Laurel School District is a great example of the cost efficiencies derived from the MOBOTIX approach to surveillance, which highlights the benefits of on-board storage, hemispheric technology, mobile capabilities and ease-of-use," said Tommy James, Security Consultant, All Safe Technologies. "This project demonstrates that it is possible for schools of any size to leverage the capabilities of a MOBOTIX video surveillance system while meeting budget requirements. Additionally, the system provides the school district with the foundation that can grow as it grows."