Technology has made leaps and bounds in the past 50 years. The security sector in particular has exploded with the advancements that have been made in physical and cyber security. One area that we are seeing increasing technological developments in is school district safety. Thanks to exponential technology, the roadmap to school district safety is looking very exciting.
Deloitte defines exponential technology as “innovations progressing at a pace with or exceeding Moore’s Law” that “evidence a renaissance of innovation, invention, discovery… and have the potential to positively affect billions of lives.” Named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, this rule predicts that processing transistors will double every two years. Mainstay Technologies puts it into more digestible terms: “The smartphone in your pocket provides a better communication tool than the President of the United States had access to just 25 years ago, and provides access to more data than he had access to just 10 years ago.”
From the 1960’s to today, computer processing power has increased by about a trillion times.
SpaceX and the Future
This explosion has fueled technological advancements in countless sectors, allowing companies like SpaceX to develop innovations with a massive scale impact. Currently in the process of launching thousands of satellites into the Earth’s orbit, SpaceX is creating a satellite-internet mega-constellation called Spacelink, aimed to deliver internet access to the globe’s most remote regions, essentially connecting all of humanity via the internet.
Establishing an interconnected internet service in space is the beginning of Elon Musk’s plans to eventually colonize Mars. This idea may seem far-off to some. But Moore’s Law has proven that the amount of time between profound technological advancements is shrinking. And because the limit to this law has not been reached, life on Mars may be closer than we think.
But I digress. This blog piece is not about SpaceX. It is about an idea that mirrors the way Spacelink’s internet connects via satellites. Today I will explain “Connected Schools” and how they will revolutionize school district safety as a whole.
Improving School District Safety with “Connected Schools”
What is a “Connected School?”
A Connected School is an educational institution that is outfitted with cloud-based technology. This specialized, interconnected technology provides data that helps increase school district safety. The main components of this concept are:
With a centralized platform, administrators are able to easily manage video cameras and user permissions to monitor the entire school district’s safety. With a centralized platform, administrators are able to easily manage video cameras and user permissions to monitor the entire school district’s safety. This allows for a more efficient use of resources and a higher level of security for students and staff. Having access to real-time and historical footage can help administrators quickly identify and resolve any issues that may arise.
Monarch’s cloud-based video security cameras record and retain footage for up to a year, and provide powerful and insightful analytics, facial/object recognition, search features, and one-step footage file sharing via email or SMS, all from one convenient centralized platform. These cameras can detect meaningful events and send alerts instantly, cutting down on response time and providing accurate evidence after the fact.
Especially useful in our current pandemic climate, cloud-based video cameras can help tremendously with contact tracing for school district safety. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, it only takes a couple simple search commands to go back through footage and see every person who came in contact with him or her. The AI in the cameras sees each face and catalogues it at the date, place and time, then references this data when asked to show all footage of that certain person. These cameras can also filter footage by clothing color and vehicle type, allowing easy access to visual evidence and live feeds, no matter what the event is.
School lockdowns are initiated in response to a perceived threat from outside the campus. For example, if there is a gunman on campus, the school may go into lockdown to keep students and staff safe. This is a pervasive problem I have explored in a past blog.
The actual locking down of the school is usually initiated by one specific administrator. Or someone has to physically travel to each point of entry to lock the doors with a key. Both of these scenarios are inconvenient, and can add minutes to a crucial response time, potentially endangering people’s lives.
With cloud-based Access Control, anyone with authority can initiate a total school lockdown with a few clicks. This automation cuts down response time significantly, and protects students and teachers until help arrives.
Another school district safety issue that administrations have to deal with in 2020 is the explosion of student vaping, another example of exponential technology, actually. In the past year alone, vaping and e-cigarette use among high school students in the US has gone up by 1000%. This increase in usage has obvious health implications for those choosing to partake. And if they choose to vape on campus, it also impacts the health of fellow students and faculty.
Monarch’s Environmental Sensor is designed to detect different changes in air quality. This includes the presence of vape smoke. Administrators can receive real-time alerts to see spikes in the Vape Index, which measures against a range of onboard sensors to identify the likelihood of vaping or smoking on a scale of 1 to 100. In addition to vaping, these sensors can also pick up a variety of other types of substance readings, using the same pre-sets to alert the proper personnel of changes in environmental air quality within the school. Other Environmental Sensor readings include:
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Particulate Matter 2.5
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs)
All sensor data is accessible from Monarch’s centralized platform. It can be placed against a timeline to give administrators a clear view of when these events took place. Pairing the Environmental Sensors with cloud-based video cameras also provides a layer of visual evidence, so administrators can see exactly what happened.
School District Safety of the Future
The idea of a Connected School is an example of exponential technology. And like life on Mars, it truly is not that far off in the future. Newtown Public Schools, Arlington Public Schools, Morgan Hill School District and more have already implemented Monarch’s powerful security system to increase school district safety.
60 years ago, teachers used chalk boards and textbooks to conduct lessons. 20 years go, desktop computers became a staple in most schools. 5-10 years ago, electronically submitted homework became a normalized practice. In 2020, the classroom has moved to a virtual environment. These trends in educational technology have been building on each other and leading to a revolutionized school system. This system is a defense against threats inside and outside the organization. It can also protect student health and provide an advanced, high-functioning learning environment.
Monarch is proud to be at the forefront of this education revolution. We aim to increase school district safety by helping bring Connected Schools to fruition.
To learn more about Monarch’s product offerings, visit us at www.monarchconnected.com/shop.