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CCTV systems in educational institutions

There is a growing tendency in the world to fit out educational institutions with such security equipment as access control and closed-circuit television systems. This measure is focused on a requirement to provide safety and security to the students during their stay in the educational establishments in accordance with the Primary and Secondary Education and Training Act, as well as in line with other regulatory documents. 

There are various ways to address the challenge of ensuring employee and student safety. It is possible to arrange a guard post with a security guard who will observe the happenings. This outdated method is familiar to all of us from the childhood, when we were met at the school entrance by a doorman or a security guard. On the other hand, one can employ state-of-the-art technical aids – CCTV and access control systems which get more widespread use every day, although they are still not used in all of the daycare centers, schools, vocational training establishments, and higher education institutions.

Unfortunately, people and technical aids cannot substitute one another. And it is not advisable to opt only for one or the other method of organizing security and ensuring safety. A security guard, doorman, or any other person who observes the situation and provides security to the people will not be able to monitor all the happenings without additional measures and tools. It is a sure thing that sooner or later he or she will miss an infringement or will not be able to prevent an unfortunate accident. On the other hand, there is a CCTV system. In case of proper installation of cameras and good choice of features, the video surveillance system will be able to monitor and record all events and make a notification about the events happening, but it is the user who can and must react to them. A CCTV system cannot become a self-sufficient security guard or defender, but it can be a highly effective tool which, on the condition of the competent work of its operator, is able to ensure maximum safety and solve several other tasks crucial for daycare centers, schools, vocational training establishments, and higher education institutions.

So, primarily, the CCTV system will help to ensure safety of the students and employees and integrity of the property.

The standard capability of any video surveillance system is displaying real-time video and recording it to the archive. Real-time viewing allows to organize 24-hour “here and now” visual surveillance of the premises, and the recording function enables the users to view and investigate the events that have already happened. 

But bringing safety and security to the completely new level will require more than just installing the cameras and choosing the standard monitoring software. Imagine, for example, that there are 100 video cameras in one of the buildings of a university. The data from these cameras is displayed on a number of monitors, and it would be very difficult for a security guard not to miss an important event: some of those he or she will notice and react appropriately (just because his glance fell on the right monitor), but some will be certainly missed.

In respect to building a really helpful and efficient video security system, it is indispensable to add such technical aids as video analysis software features (intelligent modules). Each of them can independently detect the occurrence of an event using the video stream coming from the installed cameras and immediately send an appropriate notification to the system operator (a security guard, a doorman, a safety officer, or a policeman). Subsequently, the operator must react accordingly, resolving the situation and preventing any undesirable consequences.

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Software solution developers offer dozens of different video analysis modules. It is possible to use all of them in CCTV systems of educational establishments, but it is not always viable. We have selected several intelligent modules that could be of most help in the educational institutions and will definitely justify the investment.

Video analysis module

Purpose

Operating principle

Smoke and fire detection

To avoid victims, loss of property and disasters caused by fires.

Immediately commence fire extinguishing.

Investigate causes of fire or smoke.

The module detects presence of fire or smoke in the frame, sends an immediate notification to the system operator: displays an alarm on the monitor, sends an SMS or an e-mail message.

The module can be integrated with fire alarm and firefighting systems, which will allow to automatically announce the evacuation of students and employees and start extinguishing of fires.

Abandoned object detection

To prevent terrorist attacks.

To minimize threats to life and health of students and employees.

The module informs the CCTV operator about the presence of an abandoned stationary object in the frame (unattended bag, box etc). Using the recordings, it is possible to find out who left the object, and clarify all the details and circumstances.

It is possible to set areas to be monitored and limit the size of the objects.

Tracking

To prevent access of any unauthorized persons to labs, offices, lecture halls containing expensive equipment outside of the academic hours and thus prevent property theft.

The Tracking module alerts the operator when someone enters the protected area. 

It is possible to draw a virtual area or a line in the frame the crossing of that will trigger the system to send a notification to the operator. One can also set the allowed duration of stay in the area upon expiration of which the module will send a notification.

Interactive search and cross-camera tracking

Reconstruct an accident, find the perpetrators, investigate disorderly conduct, theft or fight.

The interactive search allows finding the persons who appeared in the field of view of a camera during a curtain period of time using their distinguishing features (clothes’ colors). This tool much reduces the time required to find a wanted person in the video archive recorded by the system.

Cross-camera tracking permits to build a trajectory of movement of a person on the protected territory, which significantly facilitates and accelerates the process of reconstruction of happenings and assists in exposing the infringements. 

Loud sound detection

To ensure prompt response to emergencies: screams, sound of a window breaking, popping sound, shot fired, squeaking of car brakes.

The module allows to set the sound level that will trigger sending the notification to the operator.

The applicability of the module is justified by the fact that it is not practical to playback the sound from all the cameras in the course of transmitting video to the surveillance monitors. At that, failure to monitor sound can lead the operator to miss the information important for ensuring safety.

Crowd monitoring

To prevent mass unrest and public disturbance.

The module allows to set threshold quantity of people congregating at the exceedance of which the system will attract the operator’s attention by generating the alarm signal and sending the notification to his/her cell phone. Upon having a look and evaluating the situation, the operator will be able to coordinate further actions and take measures for unrest prevention as necessary.

Face detection module

To arrange monitoring of people entering the premises of an educational establishment.

The module finds all faces in the camera field of view and saves them to the system’s database, precisely indicating the time of attendance.

Face recognition module

To organize 100% controlled access of people to the territory or to the individual buildings.

The module permits to create a database of people’s data and photos as well as to set up rights to access specific buildings and areas. If an unauthorized person is recognized in the frame, the operator will receive the notification immediately.

Additionally, the video surveillance system can be integrated with the access control system (for example, with video door phone), which will allow to set up automatic door opening and granting of access to the premises to the appropriately authorized persons.

Vehicle license plate recognition module

To organize fully controlled, incl. automatic, access of vehicles to the territory of an educational establishment.

The module allows to generate reports with the numbers of vehicles entering and exiting the premises, with time indication. Additionally, it is possible to create a database with license plate numbers, models, and owner data of vehicles, which will allow the operator to promptly identify the incoming autos.

If the system is equipped with a rising arm barrier, it is possible to arrange an automatic access of authorized vehicles to the protected territory.

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Application of video analysis modules in the CCTV system makes it really “smart” and useful. Relieving the operator from routine staring at the security monitors, the software with the intelligent modules lets him/her to concentrate on something really important that may require human intervention.

The CCTV software solution developers provide their users with yet another useful tool - remote access to the system from their mobile devices. It is a mobile application for iOS, Android or Windows Phone, which allows to view real time video stream from the system cameras or recordings from the archive on the screen of a tablet PC or a smartphone. This tool will be useful for security staff and managers of an educational establishment as well as for the parents of the schoolchildren or daycare center kids who want to be sure that their loved ones are fine. The flexible settings allow to adjust the access rights and viewing permissions as required, so that the parents see exactly what they need to.

Eocortex software can help to enhance a surveillance system with the above-mentioned intelligent modules and remote access functions. Its developers have implemented a variety of traditional machine vision algorithms as well as neural network technology, creating an efficient, fast and precise video surveillance software tool.

The efficient operation of a CCTV system depends not only upon its wide functionality, but also upon its user-friendliness and ease of use. In many cases the operators of a CCTV system are not highly-qualified IT engineers. They are security officers, doormen, guards, for whom the profound knowledge of computers and networks is not a core competence. But they are those who need to understand how to operate a video surveillance system and video analysis modules, and they require the system to be convenient and simple to use. 

The creators of Eocortex software have managed to combine rich intelligent analysis functionality and user-friendly interface. This fact is noted not only by the end users of the systems, but by the recognized experts of the industry as well. For example, Eocortex software was independently tested by Benchmark, the distinguished British magazine, and was described as an easy-to-install and set up tool.

The efficiency of the intelligent video surveillance systems implemented in the educational establishments is confirmed by the numerous users – representatives of daycare centers, schools, vocational educational institutions, and universities.

Such confirmation can be provided, for instance, by the representatives of the Perm National Research Polytechnic University that uses 300 Axis и Hikvision IP camera video surveillance systemcontrolled bythe Eocortex software. The cameras are installed in the academic buildings, in the campus, and in the University dormitories. Alongside with the solving of safety and security issues, the system also helps in arranging the teaching and learning activities: it allows to monitor the process of holding the examinations and admission tests, as well as of defense of the theses.

A video surveillance system consisting of 100 Evidence IP cameras and Eocortex software with added interactive search and face detection modules is in use in School No. 25 of Tyumen City, Russia. The video cameras are installed at the entrance to the school, in the classrooms, corridors, and in the school yard to monitor the happenings and to provide safety and security to the school’s employees, students, and property. The interactive search module allows the security officers to investigate disputes by watching the videoclips archived by the system. The Face Detection module is used to monitor those who enter the school, and to promptly trace employees and students, as well as to investigate complicated happenings.

The British John Smeaton Community College installed 87 IP cameras in the classrooms and corridors, playgrounds, courtyard, and on the parking lot. Eocortex software chosen for the project helps to solve such very important tasks as ensuring safety and security of the college employees and students.

Providing safety and security to the students and employees is of paramount importance in the process of creating an infrastructure of educational establishments, and is also required by law. It is imperative not only to choose the right security tools, but to learn to use them in the efficient manner. Installing the CCTV systems and adding the intelligent modules will help to take safety of daycare centers, schools, vocational educational institutions, and universities to the higher level. Having said that, it must be understood that no system exists nowadays that could replace a human. But it can help to make his or her job many times more efficient and productive.

Summing up, when choosing a CCTV system, it is of importance to take the following into consideration:

  • Opt for a software that will provide you with the needed and useful data only. It can be achieved by the intelligent video analysis modules.
  • Choose the software with a simple and user-friendly interface. Remember that the system will most likely be operated by people who do not possess in-depth knowledge of computer and network technology.
  • Do not attempt to replace a person with a video system. Complement the work of one with the activity of the other; in that way you will massively enhance the efficiency of both.

These three simple rules will help you to set up a really useful and efficient video surveillance system dedicated to providing safety and security to the people in educational establishments.

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