Security continues to be a key concern for all educational establishments from schools and colleges to large universities.
It is therefore not surprising that sophisticated CCTV technology is being adopted to tackle senseless vandalism, including damaging arson attacks and criminals' intent on stealing property out of hours.
CCTV systems are also being applied to address the real threat faced by staff and students of physical assault when buildings are actually in use, particularly from intruders and also as a powerful management tool to assist educators in the smooth running of what can often be extensive sites.
The capabilities of the new generation of digital video recorders and servers including video over IP solutions such as Dedicated Micros DV-IP have opened up a wealth of possibilities.
These advanced systems, linked to internal and external CCTV cameras, can make use of a site's existing IT infrastructure so dramatically reducing disruption and vitally, up front capital investment costs.
For a university with buildings distributed across a wide geographical area, from halls of residence to lecture theatres, there is happily no longer the need for additional, large-scale, coaxial cabling to facilitate monitoring at a central control room or to allow authorised staff to view live and recorded images.
The way that IP enabled systems work also means that they are fully scalable to satisfy future requirements.
In practice it is simply a question of dropping a video server in at a convenient point on the network to support additional cameras. There is even the potential to integrate these flexible solutions with other elements such as fire systems important where arson is concerned and student access control measures.
When it comes to assisting in school management, networked digital CCTV solutions can prove invaluable during the daytime when teaching is actually in progress.
It is now perfectly possible for key members of staff to actively deal with issues as they happen, such as property damage by students, truancy and bullying.
Conveniently incidents can be called up on any networked PC, with teachers then able to go to the location of an incident to stop a pupil leaving or to break-up a fight.
This contrasts with older more cumbersome analogue solutions where, more often than not, it is a case of having to physically search through a mountain of tapes to review incidents which may have happened hours or even days earlier.
Dedicated Micros already have extensive experience of the education sector, underlined by the broad range of solutions which have been successfully applied based around our BX2 multiplexers on larger sites and Digital Sprite 2 digital video recorders for smaller installations.
Looking ahead DM expects demand to grow not only for these systems but also, increasingly, for our fourth generation, DV-IP systems which it believes are more than capable of delivering industry-leading networked solutions for educational establishments whatever their size or budget.