Following several high-profile incidents alleging abuse of special needs students (including some non-communicative students), and the activism of a number of parent groups in the state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 507, requiring districts to install audio and video surveillance equipment into select special education classrooms when requested.

The law requires the installation of cameras and recorders in classrooms meeting certain criteria—if and when a parent, school board member, or school staff requests them from the 2016-2017 school year forward. Surveillance must cover all areas in a classroom, with the exception of bathrooms and changing areas, and recorded footage must be retained for a minimum of six months. Many Texas school districts have begun the work of bringing relevant educational spaces into compliance with the law, including the Edna Independent School District.The IDIS solution crafted by PSX meets Edna ISD’s SB 507 compliance requirements

Super Fisheye-powered surveillance

Carefully considering Edna ISD’s requirements for a highest-quality surveillance solution, capable of audio recording and coverage in compliance with the law, along with their need for a fiscally responsible solution that minimised total cost of ownership, while maximising value, PSX recommended the IDIS Total Solution’s DirectIP line. The IDIS Total Solution has a selection of affordable, highest-quality options for school districts, easily scaled to meet any classroom size, configuration, or budget.

The IDIS solution crafted by PSX meets Edna ISD’s SB 507 compliance requirements with a custom configuration of IDIS cameras and recorders for multiple classrooms and sites. At the heart of the solution is the IDIS DirectIP Super Fisheye Camera, which features breakthrough IDIS technology recognised by the industry for solving common concerns found with many other fisheye models.The IDIS Super Fisheye offers unparalleled client, camera, and mobile dewarping for a clearer picture

Smart UX controls

The IDIS Super Fisheye offers unparalleled client, camera, and mobile dewarping for a clearer picture and strongest possible assessment and documentation of incidents. It also features the company’s award-winning IDIS Smart UX Controls (named a 2016 ‘New Product of the Year’ by Security Products magazine), which allow for agile real-time pointing and zooming in a simplified and smooth manner previously unheard of in the industry. Other IDIS benefits, including two-way communication and the powerful recording and storage technology the company is known for, make the solution an ideal one for Edna ISD’s needs.

Significantly, SB 507 was not accompanied by additional funding for implementation. It required school districts to cover the cost of surveillance purchases and installation from existing funds, donations, or other alternate funding strategies. This expands the requirement for school districts such as Edna ISD, beyond the simple purchase and installation of new surveillance solutions, to include the identification of surveillance solutions able to provide maximum quality with a low total cost of ownership and to be as responsive as possible to the law, student needs, and existing budgetary requirements.The IDIS Total Solution has proven a strong fit for school districts

Cost-effective deployment

Offerings that feature combinations of technical and cost-effective benefits have proven a strong fit for school districts, including Edna ISD, looking to meet SB 507 requirements without sacrificing quality for cost, something that is important to institutions such as public schools, charged with both optimal execution of their core educational mission and careful stewardship of public funds.

The IDIS Total Solution, differentiated by its ease of installation and use as well as its lack of licensing and maintenance fees, has proven a strong fit for school districts, including Edna ISD. Alan Morris, Vice President of Sales for PSX, Inc., stated, “While SB 507 compliance has proven a challenge for some school districts, Edna ISD has shown an uncompromising commitment to its special needs students through the selection of technology that provides easy real-time review of classroom behavior and provides the best, clearest evidence possible should an incident occur.

Secure learning environment

"In Edna ISD, the safety of our students, teachers, and staff is a key part of our educational mission. When those in our schools, and the families that love them, know their environment is safe and secure, the educational mission can thrive. We have embraced the SB 507 requirements as yet another tool in ensuring an ideal learning environment for all, providing additional support and protection for our special needs population.

“We were committed to doing this with only the best technology the industry had to offer, while also remaining responsible to our taxpayers throughout the process. The IDIS combination of a fully scalable solution of next-generation technology with a lower total cost of ownership than typically seen in the industry made it the right choice for our needs."

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

In case you missed it

What is the impact of lighting on video performance?
What is the impact of lighting on video performance?

Dark video images contain little or no information about the subject being surveilled. Absence of light can make it difficult to see a face, or to distinguish the color of clothing or of an automobile. Adding light to a scene is one solution, but there are also new technologies that empower modern video cameras to see better in any light. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what impact does lighting have on the performance of video systems?

Alarm.com adapts during pandemic to enable partners to ‘succeed remotely’
Alarm.com adapts during pandemic to enable partners to ‘succeed remotely’

As a cloud-based platform for service providers in the security, smart home and smart business markets, Alarm.com has adapted quickly to changing conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. In the recent dynamic environment, Alarm.com has kept focus on supporting their service provider partners so they can keep local communities protected. “We moved quickly to establish work-from-home protocols to protect our employees and minimise impact on our partners,” says Anne Ferguson, VP of Marketing at Alarm.com. The Customer Operations and Reseller Education (CORE) team has operated without interruption to provide support to partners. Sales teams are utilising webinars and training resources to inform and educate partners about the latest products, tools, and solutions. Alarm.com’s partner tools are essential for remote installations and support of partner accounts. Helping customers remain connected Adapting to challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Alarm.com is further investing in solutions that help customers remain connected and engaged. The company has created a resource hub called “Succeeding Remotely” that provides tools, tips and news links that partners can use to adapt their business operations. From adjusting sales and installation techniques to maintaining cellular upgrades, Alarm.com is helping partners stay connected to customers remotely, keep their teams trained, and address rapidly evolving customer concerns without rolling trucks.The company has created a resource hub called “Succeeding Remotely “Additionally, after seeing all that our partners are doing to support their local communities in need, we were compelled to highlight those efforts with ongoing videos called Good Connections, which we’re sharing with our partner community to spark more ideas and ways to help,” says Ferguson. “Though our partners have experienced varying degrees of disruption to their business, we’re inspired by their adaptability, ingenuity and resilience,” says Ferguson. “Along with establishing proper safeguards for operating in homes and businesses, our partners are leveraging our support resources more heavily, while our entire staff has worked tirelessly to deliver new, timely resources.” Do-It-Together solutions Alarm.com partners are successfully employing Do-It-Together (DIT) solutions, focusing on 3G-to-LTE upgrades, and pivoting to new verticals like commercial and wellness. Many are also streamlining their business operations and taking advantage of virtual training opportunities to enhance their technicians’ skills and knowledge, says Ferguson. Do-It-Together installs involve depending on customers to perform part or all of the installation process. Partners can send customers fully configured kits with mounting instructions, or technicians may guide customers on a remote video call. Alarm.com’s tools, training and products help partners modify remote installation options depending on each customer’s needs. End users can validate the Alarm.com Smart Gateway with their central station that sensors they have mounted were done correctly using the Alarm.com mobile app Alarm.com Smart Gateway For example, the Alarm.com Smart Gateway can be pre-configured with indoor and outdoor cameras for easy customer installation and to reduce the likelihood of future service calls. Also, end users can validate with their central station that sensors they have mounted were done correctly using the Alarm.com mobile app. “DIT is helping our partners continue onboarding customers and avoid backlogs,” says Ferguson. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the resiliency and level of future investment that our residential and commercial partners have shown in the face of adversity,” adds Ferguson. For example, a significant number of business customers have used the slow period to install systems that are typically too disruptive to put in during normal business hours. Similarly, service providers are adopting new technologies or business models, such as cloud-based access control. “They’re often saying to us, ‘I’m going to take this opportunity to make changes to improve our business,’ and have been working closely with us on training and business consulting to support their efforts,“ she says. Shift to the cloud Ferguson sees a growing preference for cloud-managed surveillance and access systems over ones that have historically been run on-premise. The technology itself is attractive, but especially driving change is the enhancement to the daily lives of service providers and customers, which have been strained during this time. “The foundational benefit of our cloud-based solution is the hassle-free, seamless customer experience it delivers,” says Ferguson. “We make this possible by taking ownership of the servers, software maintenance, firmware updates, health monitoring, and more. With cloud technology, these aspects become invisible to the customer and take a lot off their plate, which is more important than ever.” End users can take advantage of Smart Tip video tutorials to help with DIT installations, or they can use the Alarm.com Wellcam to connect with loved ones anywhere.End users can take advantage of Smart Tip video tutorials to help with DIT installations Partners can attend training workshops focused on remote installation tactics, while driving consumer interest in new offerings through Alarm.com’s Customer Connections platform. The goal is to make it simple for partners to stay connected to their customers to maximise lifetime account value. “We are well-positioned to endure the pandemic because of the strength of our partners in their markets along with our investments in technology, hardware and our team,” says Ferguson. “As restrictions slowly lift, there is cautious optimism that the residential, commercial, property management, plumbing/HVAC, builder and other verticals will recover quickly. We believe that as more partners adopt the DIT model and add commercial and wellness RMR, they will find increasing opportunities to deploy security, automation, video, video analytics, access and more throughout their customer base.”

COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems
COVID-19 worries boost prospects of touchless biometric systems

Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favour are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. Touchless biometric systems in demand The trend has translated into a sharp decline in purchase of touch modality and a sharp increase in the demand for touchless systems, says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Biometrics solutions are being affected unequally, depending on whether they involve touch sensing, he says. Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads “Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Zarrabi. “From our company’s experience, we see it as a huge catalyst for touchless suppliers. We have projects being accelerated for touchless demand and have closed a number of large contracts very fast. I’m sure it’s true for anyone who is supplying touchless solutions.” Biometric systems are also seeing the addition of thermal sensors to measure body temperature in addition to the other sensors driving the system. Fingerscans and hybrid face systems TBS offers 2D and 3D systems, including both fingerscans and hybrid face/iris systems to provide touchless identification at access control points. Contactless and hygienic, the 2D Eye system is a hybrid system that combines the convenience of facial technology with the higher security of iris recognition. The system recognises the face and then detects the iris from the face image and zeros in to scan the iris. The user experiences the system as any other face recognition system. The facial aspect quickens the process, and the iris scan heightens accuracy. TBS also offers the 2D Eye Thermo system that combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module. TBS's 2D Eye Thermo system combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module Another TBS system is a 3D Touchless Fingerscan system that provides accuracy and tolerance, anti-spoofing, and is resilient to water, oil, dust and dirt. The 2D+ Multispectral for fingerprints combines 2D sensing with “multispectral” subsurface identification, which is resilient to contaminants and can read fingerprints that are oily, wet, dry or damaged – or even through a latex glove. In addition, the 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue. The system fills the market gap for consent-based true on-the-fly systems, says Zarrabi. The system captures properties of the hand and has applications in the COVID environment, he says. The higher accuracy and security ratings are suitable for critical infrastructure applications, and there is no contact; the system is fully hygienic. Integration with access control systems Integration of TBS biometrics with a variety of third-party access control systems is easy. A “middleware” subsystem is connected to the network. Readers are connected to the subsystem and also to the corporate access control system. An interface with the TBS subsystem coordinates with the access control system. For example, a thermal camera used as part of the biometric reader can override the green light of the access control system if a high temperature (suggesting COVID-19 infection, for example) is detected. The enrollment process is convenient and flexible and can occur at an enrollment station or at an administration desk. Remote enrollment can also be accomplished using images from a CCTV camera. All templates are encrypted. Remotely enrolled employees can have access to any location they need within minutes. The 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue Although there are other touchless technologies available, they cannot effectively replace biometrics, says Zarrabi. For example, a centrally managed system that uses a Bluetooth signal from a smart phone could provide convenience, is “touchless,” and could suffice for some sites. However, the system only confirms the presence and “identity” of a smart phone – not the person who should be carrying it. “There has been a lot of curiosity about touchless, but this change is strong, and there is fear of a possible second wave of COVID-19 or a return in two or three years,” says Zarrabi. “We really are seeing customers seriously shifting to touchless.”