December 01, 2023

3 min

The Importance of a Higher Ed Physical Security Site Assessment

It pays to consider the details when deciding how and where to place cameras for maximum coverage.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

Anyone versed in the world of security cameras is familiar with the DORI standard. When surveying a site to determine exactly where to position a device, we recognize that our decisions will affect our detection, observation, recognition and identification capabilities.

Place a camera high, for example, and it may be able to detect people but not provide the kind of detail necessary to positively identify them. Position the camera much lower, and you’ll probably improve your close-up shots while sacrificing your field of view.

While universities in the market for a physical security upgrade don’t need to understand everything about DORI, they should be prepared to help their chosen vendors as they look to position cameras for maximum coverage. Here are a few other considerations when you’re ready to begin your site assessment.

1. Inspect the Infrastructure

With campus safety among the top concerns of students and university staff alike, most colleges already have a video surveillance system in place. The first step in the upgrade process is to take inventory of the existing hardware and wiring to determine what can stay and what needs to go.

The more you can leverage your current infrastructure, the more you can either save on project costs or invest in additional camera technologies. The catch is that you have to be careful: A cable could be in perfect condition, but if it lacks lightning protection or isn’t properly terminated, using it may compromise the overall system.

2. Look at the Landscape

As you inspect your infrastructure, consider any variables that might influence where you can place cameras.

It may seem ideal to mount a camera on the corner of a building overlooking the front entrance, for example, but you’ll need to find an alternative spot if there’s a tree in the line of view. Likewise, if the site isn’t wired, take into account the work that will be required for technicians to pull a cable. It may make sense to pick a new position if it will shorten the cable run or avoid having to dig up a recently paved sidewalk or street.

3. Prioritize Pain Points

It’s also important to catalog the reasons you’re pursuing an upgrade in the first place. Maybe some of your current cameras are mounted too high or angled too sharply to provide a clear view, while others simply lack modern features such as license plate recognition or analytics technologies. Maybe areas where you thought you had coverage actually have no cameras at all, or perhaps your campus has grown, and you need more cameras to cover new facilities.

Finally, ensure that everyone with a stake in the project — campus security, facilities management, technicians and IT leaders — all have an opportunity to provide input. No site assessment would be complete without their unique perspectives.

Story by Jeremy Walker, a principal field solution architect for CDW.