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GuardRFID Launches School Security System

The solution, designed to be affordable, employs real-time location technology, including active 433 MHz RFID tags that staff and students can use to summon help.
By Claire Swedberg

To send an internal alert to a school's administrators and teachers, a student or staff member would typically press the blue button. In the event of a fire, gunman or other incident requiring assistance from someone outside the school, the individual would press the red button and the software could then prompt an alert to be sent to local police or fire authorities. The software, Abji says, "is configurable depending on the kind of alarm the user requires." For example, an e-mail or SMS text message could be sent based on a blue or red button press. Additionally, the system could send a prompt to close and lock specific doors within certain zones of a school. For example, if an individual pressed a tag button in one zone, the doors could automatically lock in the other zones, in order to ensure that an intruder could not access those areas of the school.

The system is designed to be affordable for schools, Abji says. While the hardware and installation costs would vary, he notes, the software typically costs about $6,000 and can support multiple sites, such as several schools within a particular district.

GuardRFID's Zahir Abji

GuardRFID has also developed a mobile solution in which RFID readers and exciters are installed on buses. The readers come equipped with a GPS module, along with RFID antennas, to identify a tag entering or exiting the bus, as well as its location, and then forward that information to a server via a GPRS transmission. That technology, Abji reports, is currently being tested on city buses in a small Illinois town.

The mobile solution could also be installed on school buses, with the data received by the same GuardRFID software used for the school's security system. In that way, Abji explains, parents and school personnel could know when a student boards a bus, where that vehicle is located while the child is on board, and when and where he or she left the bus.

Both solutions are commercially available, Abji says, and GuardRFID is currently in discussions with a high school and a college about installing the school security technology for the fall. Although the system is targeted for primary and secondary schools, he adds, other schools—such as colleges— as well as large corporations, have also shown interest in the product.

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