Cydney Higgins, Marketing Specialist, IDIS America
COVID-19 has unleashed an exorbitant amount of challenges we barely could even have imagined as we rang in 2020. Preventing the spread of the virus is priority 1 – and doing so means implementing new and often unfamiliar procedures to contain the spread and get ahead of the curve.
While pretty much every industry and facet of life has been impacted, the Education sector has been especially hard hit. They’re being forced to make adjustments to ensure continued learning ‘as usual’ in ways that are anything but usual.
According to data compiled by Education Week, most states are dealing with a wide array of approaches to kicking off the new school year. There’s little uniformity when it comes to the re-opening of K-12 schools across the country. Some are opting to continue all in-person learning, others are going all-remote, and still others are attempting a hybrid model merging both approaches.
As if adapting to the new modes of teaching and computer savvy needed to effectively teach and learn virtually aren’t enough, school administrators must also be mindful to implement the safety measures and new technologies that these COVID-19 times demand.
Consequently, the need for savvy systems integrators (SIs) to serve our schools has never been greater. COVID-19, despite all of its despicable consequences, has also ushered in a new wave of opportunity for security solutions providers to prevent its spread.
Educators educate. Administrators administrate. It’s what they do. Security and its associated technologies are not what they do. Savvy systems integrators who can earn their confidence, implement the needed new technologies for a safe return to schools and transform their concerns and challenges into workable solutions will find the Education sector a very viable one for growing their businesses.
Outfitting schools with the technologies they need can make all the difference between a safe return to school and the need to shut down all over again. Technologies to employ to ensure a safer reopening span expedient body temperature screening, social distance monitoring, people counting/ density control, and mask detection capabilities.
A Consultative Approach With VMS
While some newly emerging technology solutions are proving ideal in preventing the spread of COVID-19, security, teaching staff as well as parents, know its imperative security and safety is not overlooked, particularly in these uncertain times. Offering support to leverage the often-underutilized capabilities of a school’s existing video surveillance system will allow for a more consultative approach. For instance, making use of the existing analytics functions can deliver many benefits. Virtual line-cross analytics, for example, can be set up quickly and help monitor entry points and trigger automatic alerts. Given the fact that some staff members, specifically security personnel, may sometimes need to quarantine if exposed to the virus, the ability of video analytics to take some of the pressure off can prove crucial. Client software can ensure they’re able to keep working to protect their schools. Additionally, mobile apps can give security staff remote video management software (VMS)-level functionality, including live view, playback, searching, bookmarking, PTZ control, mobile dewarping for 360-degree fisheye cameras, event notifications and more - in fact everything they need to run their own satellite video control operation, wherever they are. For more efficient command and control, VMS capabilities can now be easily set up with simple rules to allow targeted notifications to be sent to individuals and groups, via SMS or email.
With this in mind, reviewing and offering options for in person and online training on the use of functions within existing systems, is likely to help schools understand the additional benefits of adopting new technologies that can assist with social distancing, temperature taking and mask detection capabilities.
Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Face Mask Detection, Social Distance Monitoring, People Counting, and Crowd Control
Implementing artificial intelligence capabilities can solve each of these COVID-19 requirements. Face mask detection, for instance, uses existing networked cameras combined with deep learning algorithms to detect people without masks. It can also send alerts to notify appropriate personnel of non-compliance. Yet before systems integrators propose the enforcement of face masks it will be imperative, they understand the rules governing each state and look toward their tech vendors to navigate the often complex and varied regulations.
AI when integrated into video surveillance, can also be used to detect and issue verbal warning to encourage students to keep a safe distance if the protocol is violated. Automated reporting on social distancing and violations enable operators to identify choke points and adapt the flow of students to better optimize facilities and space.
Similarly, people counting, and density control solutions can be remarkably simple to use and highly accurate. They can accommodate the needs of all facilities – from smaller pre-schools that might only require single door capabilities to larger ones that can leverage multiple cameras to cover internal and external doors.
There are many solutions on the market that SIs can pick from. IDIS will be presenting cost-effective options that include these technologies and more during the Global Security Exchange (GSX+) on 21-25 September and via an exciting Virtual Showcase due to launch on our website later this month. Many of the new technologies have been developed by our in-house R&D team in South Korea – a country with an exemplary record implementing international guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And savvy systems integrators that study up on the new technology solutions that K-12 schools sorely need will surely get high marks from their education sector clients. These SIs will learn new ways to grow their businesses while helping our most valuable resource – our schoolchildren.