A free webinar presented by school bus video solutions provider Safety Vision discussed the part that bus video plays in a unified district security system.
Monica Marcos, the company’s marketing and sales specialist, began the Wednesday live presentation by stating that “schools should start thinking about security the way governments and businesses do.” She reviewed the differences between proprietary and open architecture video systems.
Proprietary software is owned by the developer and leased to end users, so it isn’t as adaptable. School district users cannot modify it or add new functionalities. Additionally, employees must learn and train on multiple applications, since camera systems in school buildings differ from ones that placed on board school buses.
In contrast, open architecture software is designed to make adding, swapping and upgrading features easy. By using it, multiple video technology systems can be connected. Unifying bus and building systems also helps districts respond faster and more intelligently to security threats.
“Right now, nationwide, campuses are looking to do everything they can to enhance security,” Marcos noted. “Let’s make school buses a part of that conversation.”
Once systems have been unified, Marcos explained that “Video Analytics” work to monitor video feeds, evaluate the footage and alert the district only when needed. With “Facial Recognition” and “Auto License Plate Recognition,” notifications are sent when cameras catch individuals named on a restricted list, such as sex offenders, who are following a school bus or attempting to enter a school campus. Gun Shot Detection uses microphones and infrared cameras to immediately notify law enforcement of incidents, and can even lock doors.
Clint Bryer, Safety Vision’s school bus sales manager, shared that even more detailed reporting is possible with connected video systems. For example, district officials can sort video to display only students in blue shirts or students walking in a certain direction, with all other students disappearing from the playback.
Since the “Video Analytics” scans and alerts upon noticing things like a suspicious bag or even a child left on a bus, one attendee asked if the Safety Vision system could replace current solutions like illegal passing cameras or child reminder alerts. Bryer responded that an open-architecture system like the one advocated by Safety Vision does not replace systems, but instead it allows for the integration of many systems. That means an easier, more streamlined operation of those systems—no matter what a district uses for child reminders, stop arm cameras or similar systems.
“Know more, watch less, and work smarter,” Marcos advised.
She added that unifying systems through an open architecture system has the added benefit of making the user experience simple, self-explanatory and consistent for district employees.
Unified security platforms also allow information to be more quickly shared with local law enforcement, for faster response times. For example, districts can enable police to pull bus video remotely via cellular data connections.
As with any technological decision, the total cost of ownership and long-term planning should be considered. Since “collaboration is key,” the transportation, administration, IT and security departments must be involved, Marcos advised.
Several attendees asked about ordering and funding the open architecture systems. Bryer shared that Safety Vision works with districts and dealers to have the technology factory-installed on buses, but that the district must request this capability from the dealer. Additionally, districts looking to switch from their existing proprietary system to an open system do not have to change the hardware, just the software.
Safety Vision also offers trade-in options, payment plans and funding in partnership with educationgrants.com.
A recorded version of the live webinar is available for 24/7 viewing.