Schools Turn to Audio Security to Complement Video and Boost Safety


An increased need for the safety of students and staff has caused school systems around the United States to examine their security equipment and protocols. In doing so, most schools are finding that they need to enhance their security efforts by leveraging the dynamic duo of video and audio surveillance. Nowadays, video surveillance is not enough and many schools are realizing the key role audio plays in helping to keep their students, staff and campuses safe.

For a more in-depth look at the vital combined role audio and video surveillance plays at educational institutions, we would like to share a case study from Montgomery County, Maryland:

Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools (MCPS) decided to re-examine their security needs with its primary security integrator, Rockville, MD. based NETCOM Technologies Inc. They wanted to determine if any of their processes were either outdated or could be enhanced. In doing so, MCPS and NETCOM identified a serious need to better secure the main entrances of all 128 elementary schools in the system while also maintaining parent and student traffic on the campuses.

To begin improving MCPS’s security, NETCOM first observed the technologies already in place. After discovering that some of the system’s existing technologies could be leveraged and combined with new technologies, a secure but cost-effective visitor control solution was designed that ultimately gave MCPS and its tax-payers the best value for their money while still ensuring the main entrances of the elementary schools were effectively and efficiently secured.

Specifically, NETCOM utilized the existing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and Access Control Security (ACS) technologies already in place to design a visitor control solution that would not only secure the egress doors to the schools and allow for selected visitor access through those doors, but also provide a user-friendly security option for the main office staff. In addition, NETCOM tapped into an existing investment of MCPS and maximized the efficiencies of their IP “MegaPixel” surveillance camera technology by integrating a Two-Way Audio Monitoring Product from Louroe Electronics, the AOP-SP-PB.

The AOP-SP-PB intercom door station with push button control is the main reason this visitor control solution works so seamlessly. The intercom works as follows:

When approaching the entrance of the facility, the push button is used by a school visitor. The button activates a pop-up window on the school security video screen in the school’s main office. That screen then provides a visual identification using an IQ Invision, IP megapixel camera running IQ Access and audio communication via the Louroe Two-Way Communication unit. Once the visitor is identified and determined to be acceptable and safe, the facility management/security staff can then release the door lock that is being secured by a Maxxess netEdge unit located inside the school near the exterior door.

With growing concern about school safety spreading across the nation, we will likely see more schools nationwide opting to strengthen their security. As professionals within this industry, we must continue to leverage security technologies and measurements already in use by our clients while at the same time work towards new developments in security to deliver value-added solutions that delight our customers.

Richard Brent is the CEO of Louroe Electronics