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Delivering value beyond security for schools and colleges Copy

May 20, 2024 by James Smith

By James Smith, Sales & Marketing Director at Reliance High-Tech.

On the back of Reliance High Tech’s recent participation in the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) exhibition you can find us this week at the School and Academies Show at the ExCel centre in London.

Held twice a year, each event attracts 6,000 visitors and includes a seminar programme as well as a School Estates Summit, which brings together the education estates and facilities management community under one roof. This will be complemented by an exhibition where Reliance High-Tech will showcase the latest innovations the security industry has to offer.

Complex needs

Schools and colleges have long-standing and complex challenges around the need to allow students seamless access to the parts of a campus they are permitted to use but away from areas that are out of bounds. This needs to be balanced with the need to enforce strict visitor protocols and prevent unauthorised persons from gaining access to the school or college. It’s a responsibility staff take seriously, as the Department of Education’s guidance on Health and Safety in Schools makes clear: “Teachers and other staff in schools have a common law duty when in charge of pupils to take the same care of them as they would as a parent.”

Beyond these perennial challenges, new risks and problems emerge over time. One of the biggest concerns of teachers at present is vaping. In fact, nearly nine in ten (85%) of teachers surveyed by NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, believe vaping is a growing problem on school premises.

This is perhaps why we are seeing increasing interest in the latest vape sensing- technologies which we can integrate into a school or college’s security system, alongside innovative technologies that support environmental monitoring, help manage room occupancy and improve health and safety and well-being. These are, of course,  supplemented by core security technologies to manage access to a school or college and keep staff and students safe.

Value beyond security

Just like other sectors, education has woken up to the transformative potential of using a security system to gain insight into how buildings are used. This allows managers to better understand and mitigate any risks that students and staff face, while also delivering insights that can be translated into cost savings and operational efficiencies – something Reliance High-Tech describes as ‘value beyond security’.

This can be as simple as gaining a better understanding of which parts of an educational estate are used when, why, and by how many students – and optimising resources including energy, HVAC and even IT infrastructure accordingly. Integrating a range of sensors into the school’s access control system allows security teams to monitor for a wide range of risks, from flooding to air quality – while freeing up teaching staff from the need to patrol a site to monitor vaping.

The changing security role

Without a doubt, one of the main driving forces of ‘value beyond security’ is the emergence of cloud technology and the key role it plays in integrating security systems and devices. Scalable, cost-effective and simple to deploy, a cloud-based system makes it easy for managers to monitor the status of an entire school campus, even remotely, and allows managers to extract and analyse data with ease.

As more schools and colleges adopt an integrated security system built around the cloud and start to harness the data that their systems generate, security personnel often find themselves working closer with their colleagues in facilities management, IT and HR, as their system skills and experience are called on to support a holistic view of a school or college’s entire building infrastructure.

This is no bad thing, in my opinion, as the technology not only allows security teams to contribute more towards the efficient running of a school beyond securing students and staff alone. It also allows them to respond more quickly and efficiently in the event of an incident. In effect, security personnel are becoming more ‘customer facing’, as their role grows in importance at the same time as their security systems deliver greater value.

If you would to know more about how Reliance High-Tech is keeping schools and colleges safe click this link, and if you are attending the School and Academies Show at the ExCel this week please drop by stand B5 and find out how we can help you get the most out of your security system.