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The Wilson County school district occupies a special position in the local community; it’s not only the ninth largest school district in the state of Tennessee but also the largest employer in all of Wilson County as well. It was therefore only natural that the community wanted to ensure its educational spaces were safe and secure. Like many school districts, Wilson County was dealing with on-campus bullying and occasional incidents of mischief and vandalism, and a complete security system was part of their solution to help deter such behavior and create a safe environment in which to work and learn.
Administrators at Wilson County Schools (WCS) knew that finding and installing a comprehensive security solution would be no easy feat. The district has around 2,000 staff, 18,500 students and 21 schools — with an additional two schools that are currently being built — as well as facilities that belong to the Board of Education, such as its training center and auxiliary support buildings.
WCS has long been a leader in empowering its staff and students through technology, which earned it national attention. The Center for Digital Education officially recognized the district for the last three consecutive years, noting how innovative tools, applications and devices are not only leveraged to help students with their coursework but also to improve day-to-day operations both inside and outside the classroom
In spite of this, WCS was still largely dependent on a legacy security and surveillance system to keep its campuses safe. While the system provided basic security, it was outdated, decentralized and may have offered less protection if a critical event occurred. With this in mind, WCS began the process of evaluating a new security and surveillance system and selected Avigilon for its quality, performance, innovation and value.
Working with System Integrations Inc. to install a new security solution, WCS was able to add Avigilon cameras across its campuses. These not only offered much higher image quality, better coverage and video analytics than the legacy system, but combined with Avigilon Control Centre (ACC) software, they enabled security personnel to efficiently monitor all campuses from a single location. Moreover, legacy cameras were easily and cost-effectively migrated to the new IP network with Avigilon encoders.
With video from a large network of security cameras, ACC™ leverages advanced artificial intelligence and video analytic capabilities, including Avigilon Appearance Search and Unusual Motion Detection (UMD) technologies.
WCS also moved forward with a pilot project it had trialed in one of its elementary schools: it evaluated placing an Avigilon H4 Fisheye camera and access control locking device in every classroom, and when the project proved successful, it integrated these solutions into other schools as well. During the trial, the Avigilon H4 Fisheye camera provided a high-resolution, 360-degree view of an entire room. This helped security personnel identify and respond to potentially critical events and allowed school administrators to take a proactive approach to prevent bullying and resolve problems between students.
Deploying access control technology enabled security personnel, school administrators and receptionists to restrict access to any room or hallway instantly through Avigilon's Access Control Manager (ACM) system, taking emergency preparedness and risk mitigation to new heights. During lockdowns, access to and within school grounds was secured while staff were still able to move between areas with ease. At present, ACM™ systems have been implemented at all sites — including the Board of Education's main offices.
The new security system provides staff and students with powerful protection and also brings them, along with students’ parents, peace of mind. With Avigilon access control solutions, classrooms can be secured if critical events occur on campus, and in the event of an emergency, ACM’s area mustering feature helps provide personnel tracking. The ACM mustering feature uses information generated from the swiping of access cards to obtain real-time information on cardholders’ locations, allowing first responders visibility into the movement of personnel going in and out of designated emergency areas. This is just one of the ways in which Avigilon offers practical solutions that can help first responders act quickly — and ultimately help protect students, teachers and school staff.
WCS was so satisfied with the service it received from both Avigilon and System Integrations Inc., who installed the Avigilon solution, that it is now looking to add License Plate Recognition analytics technology and License Plate Capture cameras to its system, as well as expand installations throughout the Board of Education’s buildings.
As an added benefit, staff are finding that the H4 Fisheye cameras are a helpful instructional tool; teachers are able to record, preserve and share successful lesson plans, while administrators can refer to the video when preparing performance reviews. What began as a security solution has become an innovative, technologically-enabled way to provide the students of Wilson County with a better, safer educational environment.
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