Situated in the heart of rural Montana, Townsend School District is a close-knit community that serves 683 students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 12. To provide a learning environment conducive to student success, faculty members work together to ensure safety on campus and surrounding areas. Situated on the edge of campus is Broadwater Community Library, a school library that becomes available to the general public after school hours.
When the school board agreed that upgrading their CCTV system would benefit the safety of students when using library facilities, Joe Gill, Technical Assistant of Townsend School District, was asked to evaluate solutions that’d enable faculty to respond to events quickly and effectively.
Transitioning to Hybrid Cloud
“Verkada has packaged everything we need, from a feature and functionality standpoint, into an incredibly intuitive interface. This has made my job significantly easier because the team can respond to incidents in real-time on their own.”
After auditing a number of vendors, Gill found Verkada’s hybrid cloud solution to be the best solution for the challenges he faced. With remote monitoring and an easy-to-use platform, everyone on his team can utilize high-quality footage to tackle incidents quickly and effectively.
Challenges of DVR System
- Limited Offsite Access to Footage
- Gaps in Coverage and Camera Downtime
- Slow Footage Retrieval Process
- Difficult Perimeter Management
Benefits of Verkada
- Secure Remote Monitoring via App or Web Browser
- 24⁄7 Recording with Downtime Alerts & Hybrid Cloud Storage
- Quickly Finding Events with Smart Search Filters
- Preventing Unauthorized Public Access with People Analytics
Solution #1: Secure Remote Monitoring
Staff members had limited remote monitoring capability with the previous DVR system. To view footage, they had to be physically onsite and log into the server using a shared account. After replacing their legacy system with Verkada, Gill opened up secure remote access so that footage could be viewed from any location.
“Remote monitoring is easy with Verkada. We can see what’s happening on campus at any time by logging into the app or web browser. Not only do we have more visibility, but we are also able to resolve incidents offsite without needing to physically be on campus.”
Remote accessibility has provided staff members with the convenience of retrieving and sharing video footage straight from a mobile device or computer. Gill has also greatly reduced the vulnerability risk associated with a shared login. Instead, each individual undergoes SSO and SAML authentication for secure and remote access on independent accounts maintained by Active Directory.
Solution #2: Reliable 24⁄7 Recording with Downtime Alerts & Hybrid Cloud Storage
Gaps in coverage were also a challenge that Gill tackled with their old system. Cameras frequently dropped offline without any word of warning, resulting in days of missed footage.
“Now [with Verkada] we’re alerted immediately if a camera goes offline. In the event of a power outage, we can trust that any evidence we need will still be captured.”
Since adopting Verkada’s hybrid cloud solution, Gill has safeguards in place to ensure continuous recording and peace of mind. Video data is stored locally on solid-state drives, and cloud back-up is enabled so that footage can be uploaded to AWS servers every 20 seconds. When meaningful movement is detected in-frame, cameras will record in high quality to ensure the usability of any footage being captured.
Solution #3: Quickly Finding Events with Smart Search Filters
Because the DVR system had no tracking capabilities, it would take library staff up to three hours of reviewing video footage to locate an event. Since Gill set them up with Verkada, they can now pinpoint incidents in a matter of minutes.
“We retrieve footage ten times faster than we used to. Additionally, our staff is empowered to resolve incidents independently without needing help from the IT team.”
Staff members can quickly access video footage via Command and scan through thumbnails to find incidents. Thanks to the speed in which they’re able to retrieve footage, administrators are confident they have the tools they need to escalate issues and come to a resolution.
Solution #4: Preventing Unauthorized Public Access with People Analytics
With student safety being his foremost concern, Gill needed a way to quickly identify and stop unauthorized individuals from trespassing on campus during school-only hours. He found this in Verkada’s software analytics, which allow staff members to single out any instance when an unauthorized individual appeared on camera.
“With Verkada, we are able to search through footage for certain individuals who have given us trouble in the past. We can quickly check to see when they came on campus—namely, if it was during public or school hours.”
Staff members are able to identify who repeat offenders are, as well as the exact moment they were spotted on campus. If an incident needs to be escalated to law enforcement, all historical footage is timestamped to ensure its usability in court.
“The speed in which we can take action is critical to facilitating school safety. We’re confident in Verkada’s system and our staff’s ability to use it, which gives us the peace of mind to act quickly in the event of an emergency.”
In deploying Verkada, Gill has empowered staff members with the resources they need to resolve incidents quickly and ensure student-teacher safety. In fact, it has worked so well that the district plans to add more cameras to scale. “We have a new school in the works, in which we plan to deploy more Verkada cameras. It’s worked so well that we can’t imagine using anything else.”
If you’d like to learn more about how Verkada’s hybrid surveillance solution can help improve student and teacher safety at your school district, request a free trial camera today.