Campus ID News
Card, mobile credential, payment and security

Leveraging safety and security technology to benefit all areas of campus

Contributor   ||   Feb 28, 2023  ||   

By Tyler Webb, Director of Sales, Campus EAC, ASSA ABLOY

On many of the campuses I’ve had the opportunity to work with, a fully integrated access and security system is not a hardware deployment, but rather an enterprise level software solution. Investments in these systems pay dividends in student and staff life safety, but they also deliver additional benefits.

Understanding these benefits and how to articulate them to key campus constituencies can help ensure others appreciate the investment. But you must be proactive and tell your story to make these less obvious benefits known.

1. Boost enrollment

Security is a core priority for many students and parents when selecting an institution. You cannot sit back and assume that word of your hard work on the security front will simply be noticed by prospective families. Tell the story of the investment in security and explain that it is an institutional priority to keep students safe. Work with orientation leaders and campus tour guides to help them craft a compelling message. Offer to educate campus marketing leads to integrate it into marketing materials.

Tout the convenience and security benefits of advanced ID technology including contactless cards and mobile credentials. Students love innovative technology, and it can weigh into their enrollment decisions.

2. Educate staff at all levels on the investment

It’s not just about students. Faculty and staff need to feel safe and know that the institution is working on their behalf. Often a staff member sees an access control reader on their building’s front door, but they don’t realize the pervasive nature of the campuswide deployment.

Work on programs to help them understand. Staff bulletins, email newsletters, and orientation sessions are opportunities to get the word out. Consider offering to give a quick presentation at a faculty-wide meeting or a series of departmental meetings.

When your faculty and staff understand the value of the investment and the commitment of the institution, they can appreciate it personally and be an advocate to others on campus.

3. Go beyond residence halls

I often see campuses focus on residence hall security but neglect other aspects and areas. The student experience with security technology frequently includes academic and administrative buildings, athletic and leisure facilities, libraries, and more.

Turnstiles may control access to dining locations and libraries. Biometric readers may provide added security in labs as well as added convenience for pools and rec centers.

An integrated approach to access on campus also enables you to tie in parking, visitor management, CCTV, parking lot availability, and a host of other peripheral systems. I encourage campuses to consider the full range of offerings that an integrated security system can deliver, and tout all those you have – not just residence hall security – to your various audiences.

4. Data analytics for life safety, wellness checks

Access control systems produce a massive amount of data. Start the discussions on campus about utilizing this data to support your students and staff.

Experiment with some basic reports you could drive that might indicate a student at risk. I have worked with clients that look for students that have not accessed their res hall for an extended period, that use parking garage cameras to identify abandoned vehicles, or that look for other patterns that diverge from norms. If you can show some sample reports, it can facilitate the discussion with your campus community.

5. Streamlined management across the enterprise

An integrated access system alleviates the common institutional problem of supporting multiple PACS. Over the years, many – if not most – campuses saw different departments investing in different access control systems. This decentralized, siloed approach made management a challenge and left some areas more vulnerable to breach than others.

Consolidating these systems facilitates management and operations, as well as issuance and revocation of credentials. If someone’s access privileges need to be revoked, this can be done quickly and safely via one system.

Across the board, this approach to access and security provides far better visibility into system data.

Check out the other installments in the “Tyler’s Tips” series:

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