Creating a safe learning environment

March 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The rising tide of violence and crime at South African schools, colleges and other centres of learning can be stemmed while substantially lowering administration costs and effort, by judiciously harnessing the newest security technology.

That is the view of John Loftus, managing director of Reditron, who points out that the latest generations of network-enabled security technology afford both private and public education providers the ability to secure any number of premises, even widely dispersed ones, through a single and cost effective system.

Loftus cites the example of the Albany School Authority (ASA) in the United States, which has many facilities that fall under its control, including schools, administration buildings and stadia. Needing to fall in line with federal and social requirements pertaining to security and access control, the ASA has now installed a system that can be tailored to fit its present needs, with the ability to expand as and when required.

"The goal was to secure and monitor all facilities by using access control, digital CCTV and time and attendance (T&A), and to be able to monitor and administer each site from a central location," Loftus says. "All the schools are connected via a network and are able to connect to the central database. The objective was to minimise paperwork and man-hours needed to track the movement of students and staff members between the various schools."

The Impro Technologies solution chosen for the project enabled the ASA to have a system that could be scaled and implemented in stages - a crucial consideration given the size and cost of the eventual application. Each facility was set up as an individual site, all pointing back to the central database. Each site administrator was able to customise their site to suit their particular needs, but at the same time enjoy access to student information recorded at other sites (if authorisation was given).

"The benefit," Loftus says, "is that students and staff using ASA facilities now have a safer and more controlled environment in which to work and train. In addition, the automated T&A process reduces the time spent on administration, while individuals with ill intent are now well aware of the cameras and security features in place, and are far more reluctant to attempt any wrongdoing for fear of persecution.

"The flexibility inherent in the latest technology is such that no school or campus is too large or too small to be equipped with an effective and affordable security solution. Whether the customer is a government department with hundreds or thousands of facilities under its aegis, or a small private college operating from a single campus, a safer and more secure learning environment is well within reach."

For more information contact John Loftus, Reditron, 011 887 1546.


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