Bringing Security into FocusThe Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) is a Pre-K to 12th grade school located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. PSD empowers children with hearing loss by providing fully accessible services and a quality education so they can become educated, productive and responsible members of society. The school’s mission is to educate students to succeed by recognizing and developing individual strengths, building confidence, collaborating with families and communities in a nurturing, dynamic, and language-rich environment steeped in cultural awareness of Deaf, Hearing, and worldwide diversity. PSD believes in teaching students the knowledge and skills needed to self-advocate, pose and solve problems, and become critical and creative thinkers. Founded in 1820 as the third-oldest school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children in the United States, the school values its place in history and pledges to uphold its legacy as leaders in the field of Deaf Education.
PSD reached out to Weidenhammer because they had an aging security camera solution that was no longer supported by its original manufacturer. The combination of an outdated camera system and an increased awareness of blind spots throughout the school meant that the school was at higher risk of missing an incident. To protect its students and staff, PSD recognized a need to upgrade its camera solution.
Initially, PSD considered upgrading to the newest cameras from the same manufacturer. However, once it became clear that manufacturer’s newer technology was subpar to other products out on the market, PSD was in search of a better long-term solution.
In consultation with Weidenhammer, PSD carefully weighed their options as well as the costs of replacing their camera system. A key driver of the change was wanting to ensure the school could report out to authorities in case of an incident. To support that, Weidenhammer identified the Meraki camera portfolio as a state-of-the-art cloud-based video surveillance solution.
Meraki’s ability to provide high resolution images, even when zoomed in, afford PSD the ability to identify incidents easier. In addition, the ability for the Meraki system to integrate with their door control access system allowed their security team to link live video footage with controlled entry points around the campus. Lastly, the ease of being able to download the video and keep it for the school’s records or to turn over to the authorities was a necessary feature.
Once it became clear that Meraki cameras were the best solution, the next step was to submit a budget for leadership to review and approve. The Weidenhammer Team worked with PSD through-out the entire process, from design, to budget and planning, up to execution and integration.
Once approved, PSD was able to move quickly in implementing the Meraki solution. The Weidenhammer Team was engaged to install the cameras, set up the Meraki dashboard, onboard the cameras, and train the staff on the user interface.
The beauty of using Meraki is that it is cloud-based with an intuitive interface, which meant that PSD was able to do most of the configuration themselves. PSD’s staff is easily able to manage the Meraki solution to maintain the cameras and retrieve footage as needed, as long as they have access to the internet and a screen with which to view the dashboard. Improving PSD’s physical security posture was the key goal of this engagement – Weidenhammer and Meraki were key partners in helping PSD achieve that success.
Currently, there are 62 Meraki cameras placed throughout the campus that have replaced old equipment and added visibility to former blind spots. The images are clear and the information is easily accessible, supporting the school’s overall safety initiatives.