Spotlight on System Integration

Spotlight On Systems Integration

Once a vision of futuristic urban areas transformed by modern technology, smart cities are increasingly becoming a reality across the United States, and school campuses are following suit. With systems integration, school leaders are tapping into smart city technology to make their campuses more connected, comfortable, and safe all while providing an environment that encourages student learning and productivity. Julie Brown, institutional market leader for Johnson Controls, Building Solutions North America, explains how systems integration can help schools transition to a smart campus model all while improving learning environments and securing student safety.

What are the main features of a smart campus that systems integration can help schools and districts achieve?

As educational institutions strive to provide a safe, comfortable, and productive learning environment for students and faculty, the idea of creating a “smart campus” has become more top of mind for school leaders, and systems integration can help achieve this goal. By connecting once disparate systems, schools can aggregate data from different building applications into a centralized location. This streamlined approach allows institutions to analyze the data more easily, which can ultimately help school leaders make actionable, data-based decisions to improve operational efficiencies and become more intelligent.

While the systems integration process may sound complicated, accomplishing connectivity is more attainable than many school leaders may think, as existing building solutions, such as lighting, can act as the building blocks for a smarter campus. When integrated with other building systems, such as sensors and heating and cooling systems, lighting can work as the foundation to a more intelligent and sustainable campus. By connecting with sensors, indoor lighting systems can receive insights on when classrooms are in use to turn on and modify lighting levels accordingly, and outdoor lighting structures around the perimeter in the school parking lot can be alerted to automatically adjust to the available daylight. Heating and cooling systems can also communicate with the lighting network and sensors to control the indoor temperature based on the weather.

In what ways does systems integration make campuses better learning environments?

Systems integration can help better attract and retain students by improving classroom and dormitory conditions while simultaneously protecting them. For example, lighting and HVAC controls can be connected with security systems, like video surveillance, to help make students feel more comfortable on campus. When video surveillance is connected to lighting and HVAC controls, the movement, or lack of movement, picked up by the video analytics can alert both lighting and HVAC sensors. Based on the occupancy levels detected, airflow and lighting can be shifted to the appropriate settings for the learning environment. Systems integration can ultimately keep students happier and more comfortable.

As school shootings are now at an all-time high, how can an integrated campus make students safer?

An integrated campus can help better protect students as connectivity allows once siloed systems the ability to communicate with one another and exchange data in real-time. Implementing advanced security solutions, such as visitor management, remote access control, and video surveillance analytics, can further enhance the capabilities of a smart campus. When access control systems are connected with video surveillance system and advanced video analytics, they can help prevent unauthorized entry into facilities, detect and distinguish between objects, analyze behaviors and attributes of occupants, and classify safety applications.

In the event of an active shooter situation, sensors, mass notification, and access control technologies can work together to detect gunshot sounds faster to more quickly alert emergency responders and put any lockdown procedures in place. All of these security applications can be connected to other building systems to provide another layer to their security strategy. If a gunshot goes off, sensors and lighting solutions can be notified to help illuminate a safe route to guide students and faculty out of a threatened area.