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."

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?