What do schools need from IP Door Entry?
In an increasingly digital and security-conscious world, controlling school access has become a critical component of the education industry. Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities, have a duty to protect students, staff, and assets while ensuring a safe and efficient learning environment: and the right IP door entry system can do just that.
Let’s explore the key things you need to feature in a school IP door entry system – whilst taking a look at a real project in Virginia that 2N helped secure.
What should your IP Door Entry System feature?
Effective Visitor Verification
First things first: the personnel need to verify people trying to enter the building. The first step is a good intercom at the front entrance or gate! We strongly recommend choosing a video intercom: clear visual verification is absolutely vital for higher building security.
If a video intercom isn’t needed because the school already has security cameras installed – make sure the intercom can be integrated with them – more on that later on!
The 2N® IP Force is a great choice for schools looking for higher security because:
- It’s an extremely durable intercom: it adheres to IP69K and IK10 standards
- It comes with the option to have a wide-angle HD camera and various access control methods
- It can be integrated easily into existing security and VMS systems, as well as with CCTV cameras: more on this below
- It comes with a Time Profile access function where users can define the period of time a phone number, RFID card, or access code is valid
- It has a security relay option: a simple additional device that prevents intrusion by detecting any unauthorized manipulation of the electronic locking system
- It also allows users to email snapshots of the visitor captured by the intercom’s camera at the time of the call for effective incident reporting
How does this look in our real project?
2N set up a double-entry vestibule system for Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia. This ‘man trap’ system involved visitors needing to pass through two entrances, with a secured holding vestibule in between – here’s how that works:
- Staff members assess visitors and engage with them using the 2N® IP Force
- If the entry request is deemed appropriate, the exterior door can be remotely released through the IP phone at reception
- Visitors enter a secure vestibule and undergo a secondary screening
- Staff decides whether to grant or deny further entry based on the screening
- If access is granted, the secondary door can be remotely released, allowing entry
- Visitors are issued a "Visitor's Pass", and at this point can proceed to the relevant areas
- If access is denied, the intruder is contained within this vestibule – ensuring the safety of the entire building until emergency services arrive
Flexible, Multi-User Access
Students, teachers, administrators, maintenance personnel, and visitors all need different things from IP door entry and should have varying access credentials and varying access rights. Multi-user access is very important in solving this issue.
Usually, RFID cards are trusted and reliable forms of access for permanent staff and students. Each student and teacher receives a card that will grant them access to the school building as well as specific rooms or areas within it, secured by access control readers. Which areas certain people can access can be managed via an easy-to-use central platform such as 2N® Access Commander – even end users with no technical experience can assign or revoke credentials using it, create new user groups, manage access rights matrix, lock or unlock the door remotely, control what's happening in front of the entrance thanks to a customized dashboard and manage much more. Using an onsite platform such as this can also reduce administrative overheads related to managing keys and access permissions.
Future-Proof the building with Mobile Access Control
Mobile access control is a great solution for schools – especially those with older (i.e. above pre-school age) students. You can guarantee that every student and staff member nowadays will have a mobile phone on them, and mobile access control powered by Bluetooth technology such as WaveKey is safe, reliable, and fast!
Access control readers or IP intercoms with multi-access technology should be used to ensure maximum flexibility. We recommend always using a backup credential such as PIN codes or RFID cards to supplement mobile access control in high-security environments. The 2N Access Unit 2.0 or the 2N Access Unit M come with a variety of access options and they both combine the reader and controller in one sleek device – saving space!
Integrating the IP door entry system with security platforms and VMS solutions is paramount to enhancing the security of the building. Why?
1. Increased efficiency = more security
Managing door communication in one interface is not just easier, it’s more efficient to manage everything in one place - which in turn makes security more effective.
Schools and other places of education usually have a large traffic flow and a large number of visitors. Security needs to be as efficient as possible for both authorised personnel/ students as well as guests - to prevent unnecessary delays when incidents arise.
How does this look in our real project?
The Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia have 2N's open platform IP Intercoms seamlessly integrated with the school's current IP telephone system: CISCO Unified Communications Manager. Through this integration, when the intercom button is pressed, it triggers a predefined group of phones to ring simultaneously.
Staff responsible for allowing access could then view a video feed of the caller before answering on the video phones or via a software pop-up on their computer – and also communicate with them! In the event that the assigned staff were busy or unable to answer the call, it would automatically route to other predetermined recipients (forward programming to groups or individuals was unlimited) on phones, computers, or optionally, mobile devices.
2. Keep an Eye on Things
Being able to monitor entrances via video is key to school security – and integration with security cameras is also important.
How does this look in our real project?
The Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia have their 2N IP intercoms integrated with the camera system, so every visit is recorded, adding an extra layer of accountability.
As the school already had an existing IP camera system, the intercoms were installed on the doors alongside additional IP cameras in the vestibules. These cameras are integrated through the intercoms, enabling a unified VMS solution for all IP cameras and IP intercoms on-site. Plus, usage restrictions were programmed into the VMS system. Once the visitor was evaluated and screened, they could be granted access via the staff member's IP phone, meaning they never need to leave their station.
3. React Effectively to Incidents and Contain Threats
You should always ensure compliance with official government regulations related to school safety: such as maintaining an accurate record of who enters and exits the premises for emergency situations and accountability. Again, integration is your friend here – managing door communication and access rights in one unified platform along with other security features makes things very convenient.
Integrating an emergency video intercom, such as the 2N® IP Force mentioned earlier, with a security surveillance and access control system enhances operators' capabilities in managing emergency calls. This integration enables operators to simultaneously view live video from the intercom's camera, facilitating prompt responses to incidents and allowing for well-informed actions to address the situation.
Whilst we’ve spoken a lot about keeping doors locked, a key emergency feature for all schools should be the ability for all doors to be opened manually from the inside – even without access cards. In the event of an emergency, this will ensure a swift exit for everyone.
But what if the threat comes from someone who's authorized to enter all areas of the school, like a student, teacher, or caretaker? In this scenario, the responsible authority can quickly deactivate all cards (in a so-called lockdown feature) via the 2N® Access Commander or the integrated security system, instantly preventing the attacker from accessing other areas.
Overall, the right IP door entry system is a vital component of maintaining security, safety, and efficiency in educational institutions. With good quality products, advanced features and open integration, schools and universities can tailor their systems to meet their specific requirements.