Integrated security solutions free up time for school staff to have more face-to-face time with students while addressing understaffing issues.
Expectations to keep schools safe and secure continue to rise, but many K-12 school district budgets remain the same. Some are even working with smaller budgets as demands grow. In addition to these responsibilities, schools are also dealing with staffing shortages, like most industries in the US
Brandon Davito, vice president of products and operations at Verkada, a provider of cloud-based building security systems, regularly speaks to school IT facilities and other security buyers about how advances in security technology have helped significantly “lighten the load” as as they are asked to do more with less (11:35).
“These are [often] small teams that are responsible for a bunch of locations across the district and the expectations and demands are only growing, so they’re looking for tools that can allow them to scale and allow them to provide better service and a safer campus with less staff,” he said. “A single, single-vendor solution that allows them to scale and have better visibility and control across all of their locations is really what’s most important to the customers we work with.”
When he talks to school districts, Davito says their primary concern is almost always maintaining and managing various systems. By standardizing on a common platform for all physical security systems, schools can help alleviate the burdens associated with ongoing staffing issues.
“One of the ways this is happening is to give more and more field workers access to these types of tools. We talked about SROs, district officers, teachers in some cases, and certainly principals and vice principals. Many need access to information, everything from intercom tools to security to access control logs to whether the alarm system was activated during the night,” said Davito. “The real power is for people on the ground to take action and provide them with information about the type of threat, the level of response required and where exactly that person is or where that threat might be is super powerful.”
The whole premise of integrated tools, Davito continued, is that they free up staff to do what they do best, including SROs (13:50).
“The SRO is really meant to be both a friendly face and a calming presence, or if there’s a situation that’s escalating, to help de-escalate and make sure he or she is in the right place at the right time,” he said. “In the past it meant you had to be in front of a monitor or in the IDF closet to review footage, which is a pretty nasty situation. [It’s about] giving SROS who need to be on the go and who need to take quick action the tools to be able to get a targeted signal on their mobile device or be able to download a feed quickly while walking around campus.”
During our discussion, Brandon also talked about:
- The importance of flexibility in wanting to integrate with existing solutions (2:19)
- How recent technological advances are improving visitor monitoring (4:03) and video surveillance (9:22)
- The Current State of Biometrics in the School Security Industry (6:43)
- How schools are working to alleviate insider threats (10:29)
- How visitor monitoring technology helps reception staff do their jobs better (15:35)
- Predictions for the future of access control and video surveillance in schools (18:37)
Watch the full interview here or listen on the go on Apple or Spotify.