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New Jersey School System Installs Genetec’s ‘Security Center’

The system provides a single interface for both video surveillance and access control.

Genetec, a provider of IP security solutions, says New Jersey’s Paramus Public Schools has installed the company’s unified security platform—the ‘Security Center’—at all eight of the school’s campuses.

In a written statement, Genetec says it is important for Paramus schools—which operates facilities ranging from early childhood centers to high school—to have an all-in-one system like the Security Center because it provides a single interface for both video surveillance and access control. An IP system is also ideal for Paramus, as it allows security data to be shared between campuses over the network, and has saved Paramus considerable cabling costs.

Paramus preserved a few previously existing analog cameras using IP encoders, and purchased over 100 new Panasonic IP cameras to complete the system. A Dell server was provided at each school, allowing video and security data to be stored locally to maximize network efficiency.

In addition, Paramus recently rebuilt the entrance to the high school and incorporated a new security control room for the entire district. Security guards will manage the unified security platform spanning all eight campuses from that central location. The Security Center will also allow direct access to police and emergency services to allow for a quick response should the need ever arise.

The Omnicast video surveillance system and Synergis access control data can be viewed by authorized personnel located at each of the eight campuses, and Paramus is using the Omnicast video mainly as an investigative tool, according to Genetec. The surveillance system enables the school to pull archived video to discover who might have committed an act of vandalism or theft, or to definitively prove “who started what” to parents, and more. Paramus also uses Omnicast to enhance emergency procedures and crowd control, evaluating the possibility of a fire code violation by monitoring the number of people at an event.

The access control system of the Security Center, Synergis, also allows the schools to program doors to remain unlocked on schedule while students are arriving, and to be locked down once classes have begun. Paramus was also able to use Synergis to configure cardholder groups including everything from full access cards for emergency responders, to cards provided to PTA members that only work during meeting times. Paramus is even able to provide non-access cards to community members who use the campus track recreationally. Because of those features, Paramus can monitor access to each campus, keeping cardholder information and pictures on file.

The Security Center is a highly flexible platform, and Paramus chose it in part because it is a solution that can evolve with their needs. They are currently in the process of implementing a backup system on a ninth server, and are also actively working on providing the police department with full access to their network so that officers can aide in remote monitoring. Further down the road, providing access cards to students will enable eventual integration with the library card system and cafeteria POS system for lunch purchases.

Robert Autorino, Paramus’ director of buildings and grounds, said, “It was important to use a company that was established and reliable. Genetec’s Security Center has been fantastic. Where my previous system had upgrade glitches that caused downtime, Genetec’s system has had seamless upgrades and no downtime.”