North Iowa Area Community College STEM Classroom
As Iowa’s oldest community college, North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) has been educating students of all ages and abilities since 1918. The institution’s goal is to provide the four-year college experience at a two-year college price. Each year, NIACC serves more than 2,900 degree-seeking students across 70 programs and credential options – and thousands more through continuing education.
As NIACC’s campus expands, its security investments are expanding as well. After installing analog security cameras across campus more than a decade ago, NIACC transitioned to IP cameras for new installations once the technology was available. This led to a mix of analog and IP cameras across campus.
Existing access control systems were becoming outdated as software updates were released but not installed due to high costs and difficult processes. As new dorms were built on campus, the decision was made to shift to a different access control system – while leaving existing systems on other buildings in place.
Managing different camera and access control technologies became cumbersome and time-consuming for the IT team. NIACC sat down with CEC and explained the situation: They wanted to transition analog cameras to IP technology and consolidate to one access control system across campus. After hearing success stories from other community colleges that worked with CEC on similar projects, NIACC decided to move forward.
CEC replaced 50 analog cameras with IP cameras and implemented a video management solution that works with any camera platform. Outdated access control systems were decommissioned and new access control systems were designed and installed in their place to create standardization across campus.
With updated IP cameras and one access control system for all secured facilities, NIACC now enjoys improved security and efficiency through:
- Greatly improved imagery captured by IP surveillance cameras
- Expanded surveillance coverage areas – the result of re-examining camera placement during the transition from analog to IP
- A video management system that records and stores footage for review and retrieval
- Access control that integrates with cameras and the video management system to visually verify proper authorization; the system also generates notifications in the event of a potential unauthorized access attempt
- Streamlined processes for access card activation, saving approximately 16 minutes per card and eliminating the need for students to walk back and forth from dorm rooms to the main campus when cards weren’t working
“This security project gave us a lot of efficiencies in terms of time and integration that we didn’t have before. There’s a lot of activity we need to keep an eye on. This technology helps a lot.”