By Scott Brothers, Vice President, Business Development, Oncam
Campus facilities throughout Europe face a growing number of threats on a regular basis, including attacks like the one seen recently in Trollhattan, Sweden, and numerous firearm attacks in the United States. More than ever, universities are looking at ways to incorporate more comprehensive security solutions into their facilities, including 360-degree video surveillance, which not only gives officials a superior view of a situation, but also provides increased forensic evidence to aid investigations.
With more than 31,000 students, faculty and staff members, along with open access to the public, Leeds Beckett University’s busy city campus keeps the security team on their toes to ensure safety and reduce theft and vandalism in their facilities.
To help combat threats, five 360-degree cameras have been installed in the university’s city campus, providing total situational awareness and eliminating blind spots over two main entranceways, the retail area and the library areas, which have traditionally been a challenge to monitor effectively using pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras. By utilizing 360-degree surveillance, however, security officials have eliminated blind spots and are now able to track movement throughout all three areas without calling attention to large, obtrusive camera form factors. In fact, a single 360-degree surveillance camera can replace up to four of the university’s existing cameras, boasting a small form factor and nearly hidden appearance.
‘More and more colleges and universities are deploying 360-degree video surveillance cameras, citing the needs for increased situational awareness, and in turn increased ROI because fewer cameras are needed to cover a greater area’
Leeds has already seen the true benefit to this kind of surveillance. In one instance, a man at the campus shop attempted to pay for his good with three fake £20 notes. The man keeps his head down, thinking that the security cameras cannot recognize his face, but the clerk still does not accept the notes. In reality, however, the man has been tracked throughout the store using 360-degree surveillance, which has captured his every move from the moment he entered the shop until he approached the cash register. Utilizing this coverage, police are able to use the camera’s footage as part of their investigation, and comment on the superior video quality and completeness.
More and more colleges and universities are deploying 360-degree video surveillance cameras, citing the needs for increased situational awareness, and in turn increased ROI because fewer cameras are needed to cover a greater area. These cameras provide better investigative tools and are also aiding police inquiries. The 360-degree technology allows operators to record high-resolution images of the entire fisheye view, and these images can be processed during playback as if they were live images. During playback, images can be dewarped and virtual cameras can be generated, enabling the viewer to pan, tilt and zoom around the entire scene, resulting in investigations that can be carried on as if the video were live.
As for the future, Leeds Beckett University has plans to considerably revamp its security control room and network, and will install more 360-degree cameras in the library as part of its refurbishment. Not only will this aid in more quality coverage, a security system designed to use these cameras to their full potential will benefit the university facilities for years to come.