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Security has risen to the top of the priority list for many managers in institutional and commercial facilities. Nowhere is the issue more important that in K-12 schools, given the growing threat that mass shooters present to students, staff and faculty. School district officials have revisited every conceivable angle of the issue as it relates to facilities, from building design to access control. Now some managers are taking a closer look at emerging technology to give them an edge.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping to change security cameras in school districts from passive to active observers, according to VOA News. They can identify people, suspicious behavior and guns and gather large amounts of information. The images show what people are wearing, how they walk and other physical mannerisms. If the cameras capture an image of someone who is banned from a building, the system can immediately inform school officials if the person returns.
At a time when the threat of a mass shooting is ever-present, school officials are among the biggest supporters of the technology. Police, businesses and big companies are also using what is being called intelligent video. Yet many civil liberties groups express concerns about a threat to privacy.
One school district in Georgia will spend $16.5 million to put the cameras in about 100 buildings in coming years. Schools are the largest market for video-surveillance systems in the United States. The U.S. market was worth an estimated $450 million in 2018, according to HIS Markit, a London-based data and information services company.
Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.