Emerging Technology to Improve Campus Security
In the wake of tragic shooting events that have made headlines in the last decade, schools and universities across the country are searching for ways to increase security on campus. Cutting-edge technology now offers a promising new solution.
Facial recognition is no longer a concept from science fiction movies; it is being implemented in our everyday life. And it offers some real advantages when it comes to security. In fact, schools and colleges have already started using facial recognition technology with the hope that it will help keep students safe.
Learn about how facial recognition works, how it can and is being used in campus security efforts and where it has already been implemented.
How Facial Recognition Works
Specialized computer applications are able to capture ‘faceprints’ made up of the unique measurements of a person’s facial features. There are more than 80 points surveyed by a facial recognition system. It measures things like the width of your nose, the distance between your eyes and the length of your jaw. Each faceprint is then checked against a database of headshots to identify the person.
The technology has made great advances and is now able to accurately scan faces from a distance, identify people in motion and even while passing through high-traffic areas. In the last five years, a new algorithm has been developed which is more like our human visual system, than a camera lens. Systems now incorporate infrared technology and motion detection. People no longer need to stand still, face the scanning device, or be in a well-lit environment to be correctly identified. The accuracy rate of facial recognition software continues to improve as testing and development pushes the technology forward.
You may not know it, but your face is becoming a key form of biometric input. Facial recognition technology has already been implemented by the police, public safety officials, airport security, banking institutions, and even social media.
How Facial Recognition Is Used for Campus Security
So, how can schools and universities use facial recognition to improve security on campus? This technology is replacing the use of campus ID systems. Facial recognition software can compare the faces of students and teachers entering the building with the database of images already on file. New faculty and students have their face scanned at the beginning of the school year. Then, the powerful system can recognize them as they enter every day by sifting through thousands of pictures.
The database can check each person against a targeted database. This should include students who have been expelled, faculty who have been fired and registered sex offenders, for example. An advanced facial recognition system can simultaneously scan many visitors passing through busy entrance points. It can also alert security personnel of unidentified visitors and track anyone who has not checked in. Modern systems offer schools and colleges the possibility to track traffic live and notify local law enforcement if there is a problem.
In campus settings, the ultimate goal is to prevent tragic shootings like the one at Virginia Tech University. The recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, for example, was carried out by a student with documented mental health issues who had been expelled. Security experts say that facial recognition would have kept this gunman from entering the school.
Though there is no clear solution, this type of technology is another tool that campuses can use to help protect students. Some factors to consider in a school or university environment are data security and access to the facial recognition data, system management, and if students will be allowed to opt out.
Where This Technology Has Been Implemented
China has been a leader in using facial recognition systems. This year, Peking University in Beijing had scanners installed around campus to help decrease the number of unauthorized visitors. Entry points to the campus grounds, libraries, computer centers, classrooms, dormitories and sports facilities were equipped with cameras. Beijing Normal University has also adopted a facial and voice recognition system for students.
In the United States, facial recognition is becoming a reality for campus security too. The University of San Francisco has facial recognition to manage access to dorm facilities. Before the start of the 2018 school year, the Lockport City District in New York installed 300 facial recognition cameras in eight schools with the help of a grant from the state. In March, the Magnolia School Board in Arkansas decided to spend $300,000 on a facial recognition system with more than 200 specialized cameras. This decision was motivated by the need to increase security at two secondary schools in the district.
Campus Locksmith Services
Great Valley Lockshop has a wealth of experience assisting some of the biggest colleges in the country secure their campuses. Our services include hardware audits and the design and installation of advanced access control systems for schools and universities. Let us help develop your school’s safety strategy. Contact Great Valley Lockshop at (610) 644-5334 or request a quote here.