Post-Sandy Hook, US school surveillance market rockets

American schools are rushing to purchase high tech surveillance and security equipment in the wake of school shootings like the Sandy Hook massacre.

By 2017, the market for security systems integration in schools alone is expected to be worth $4.9 billion, compared to $2.7 billion in 2012, or an 80 percent rise, according to analysts at IHS.

On the shopping list is provision, installation and maintenance of video surveillance, as well as alarm systems and physical access control. Physical access control includes security products like smart cards and other ways to limit access to restricted areas.

Traditionally, schools have depended on a mix of physical access control and emergency notification systems. This is still desirable for a lot of schools, but more are increasingly changing the way they think about outright surveillance, and demand for video surveillance is through the roof. IHS says the growth rate for video surveillance equipment is more than double that of products like smart cards.

Security analyst at IHS, Paul Bremner, said after events like Sandy Hook and the Santa Monica shooting, schools now think security systems should be used to “detect and mitigate problems as they happen”. In other words – real time, intelligent surveillance, rather than just providing forensic evidence after the fact.

“Because of this, schools are employing security system integration providers, which provide technologies and services that combine multiple safety mechanisms into a cohesive solution,” Bremner said.

“Video surveillance systems in the education sector have the added advantage that they can be used for a broad range of tasks,” Bremner said, “including gathering evidence for a criminal investigation, acting as a deterrent for theft, assault and vandalism, or simply by providing greater visibility to the school’s security staff”.