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Editorials

Learning A Lesson: How Robots Bring Security To Educational Facilities

by Steve Reinharz, President and CEO
Robotic Assistance Devices

Educational campuses are designed to help students expand upon their intellectual capabilities to drive tomorrow’s research and leadership efforts, but these open environments are increasingly becoming targets of evolving physical threats. Recent high-profile incidents only further emphasize these dangers, but as broad, expansive areas with multiple points of entry, campuses are often difficult to comprehensively and efficiently secure.

There has been an increase in public demand for improved security solutions across campuses as K-12 schools, early learning centers and universities alike strive to provide stable and secure environments. New technologies, including artificial intelligence and robotics, can help schools be a more safe and secure place to grow and learn in a cost-effective manner.

One main concern when looking to thoroughly safeguard a vast location such as a campus is limited security personnel. Overwhelmingly, there is insufficient security personnel available to cover every area a school security director wants/has identified/etc. Robotic devices can augment existing security patrols, adding an extra layer of protection and manning the sparse or remote sections of a campus. This also frees up human guards to take on more robust roles within the campus’ security department.

Additionally, security isn’t just necessary during the school day; with students living in dormitories at universities and libraries often open late, protection is just as important overnight. Security robots can take the place of human guards during these quiet, dark hours, when human interaction is low and constant alertness is difficult to maintain. Robots also provide force multiplication through the use of audio paging, allowing them to interact with people in need (such as a student walking in a remote parking lot late at night).

Robotic devices can also be used to enhance situational awareness and provide campus security officials with an increased amount of valuable information and data. During emergency situations, security robots can act as a first responder and alert a remote security official when a predefined parameter is breached with an individual or automobile. Through integrations with video management solutions, robots can capture 360-degree video that can be recorded and archived for later retrieval to help assess threats and provide forensic data for post-incident analysis.

A second issue campus security officials often face involves securing large-scale events hosted on the premises, such as sporting games, rallies or public speakers. With attendees arriving from different directions and a high volume of foot traffic throughout the campus, threats are more prevalent and therefore the need for effective security is enhanced.

Security robots can protect the perimeter of a campus during an event as attendees and students are entering and exiting, and can also seamlessly and efficiently patrol stadiums and arenas to ensure safety during the event. This helps enhance organizational safety, and the robots can easily identify potential trouble spots or risks, such as a downed power line, obstructed lanes for traffic or damaged fences.

The deployment of a security robot that has the ability to provide surveillance of a large area and alert security officials to any anomalies can save campuses time, money and capital investments in costly equipment. The safety and security of students, staff and visitors at a K-12 school or college campus is critically important to ensuring an active and educational learning environment.

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