When lightning struck 8 of 60 video surveillance cameras at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami, all IT Administrator Augusto Venegas had to do was call his security and safety technology integration partner. That partner came out to replace and install new ones at no cost to the school other than what was already budgeted monthly for the managed services program.
“Nobody else covers lighting strikes in Florida!” says Venegas.
Sound crazy? Not to United Security Solutions. They stand behind their solutions, and include more than they exclude (including lightning strikes).
“Most K-12 schools think they can’t afford to get a security solution that meets their needs. They don’t think it’s in their budget,” says Terry Ottinger, founder and president of United Security Solutions. “However, with us, it can be. It can be accounted for as a monthly budget item similar to a power bill. We help schools avoid large upfront costs, and put security solutions back into the realm of possibilities.”
Venegas had a full load of responsibilities that already took up his time when campus security was added by school administration. He was apprehensive. One of the criteria for the partner he chose was fully managed service, so he wouldn’t have to maintain and service video cameras himself. He found what he wanted.
“United Security’s model is one of the most unique I found, after talking to several companies. They lease hardware instead of requiring schools to purchase all the equipment up front. They don’t bill hourly for service. They are only a phone call away, and they either remote into the system or dispatch someone to come out,” says Venegas. “If we happen to have any issues with a camera, we’re back up in less than a few days.”
United Security extends manufacturers’ warranties and will replace any hardware that can’t be fixed. In addition, when Belen Jesuit’s contract renews, they’ll get all new equipment. They won’t be stuck with old technology. And that goes a long way with this IT administrator. He won’t have to wait for a large budget to be approved to replace equipment.
Hidden Benefit: Finding iPads
Another side benefit to increased security? The cameras help to find iPads!
“We have a 1:1 requirement for iPads at our school. Our boys are constantly losing iPads, as well as their backpacks,” says Venegas.
Belen Jesuit’s video surveillance system allows school administration to search recorded video during a specific time period to find the lost item, then define a region of interest around it. The software can then skip to the next motion. They can see who might have picked it up accidentally, and retrieve the lost item.
Venegas doesn’t know exactly how much money is indirectly saved by locating lost iPads and returning them to their owners, but it’s likely a lot. He’s happy the students don’t go days without their book bags or iPads now. It’s usually closer to half an hour. Which means they can return their focus to their studies.
The security solution from United Security has also recorded overnight thefts and accidents in the parking lot. Venegas is pretty sure the surveillance cameras are a deterrent to goofing off or doing something wrong. The students know they’re being watched.
“The system does what it was intended to do, for sure,” says Venegas. “And United Security’s service is key.”