Technology continues to play a leading role in keeping students safe.
Student safety is a priority for student housing companies, as well as for parents and the students themselves. New products and services are being developed in order to provide the best possible security while also offering user-friendly and cost-effective options. In order to provide secure living environments that fit the unique needs of the student housing world, student housing companies implement everything from deadbolt and digital locks to security patrols to protect properties.
Traditional deadbolt locks have been used for many years because of their reliability and low cost. They continue to be a popular choice at student housing developments, especially as advances have made the deadbolt systems even more efficient.
The Delaney Company, based in Cumming, Georgia, offers a variety of grade 1, 2 and 3 residential and commercial door hardware that offers style, security and dependability. “As a manufacturer, we work with distributors to supply the student housing industry with a product that is durable and secure,” says Kevin Rich, regional sales manager with Delaney Hardware.
One of these specific products is the company’s interchangeable core deadbolt. The interchangeable core deadbolt has a control key that allows management to slide the cylinder in and out of the deadbolt housing. “This cuts down on time rekeying and replacing deadbolts when students move in and out,” Rich says. “This also makes managing keys much easier and saves a significant amount of time and money.”
In addition to traditional locks, digital locks are becoming increasingly popular options.
Kaba is one company that offers this option to student housing owners and operators. Kaba’s electronic locks are supported by proprietary software that provides convenient access control for students, with easy installation and maintenance for housing management and staff.
“Kaba installations enable faster turns at the end of semesters, eliminate rekeying charges and are centrally managed,” says Dale Mathias, vice president with Kaba Multihousing. “The operating software compiles complete system transaction history and generates lock audit trails for improved security, efficiency, accountability and liability.”
Delaney Hardware also offers a digital door lock, known as the Privex SK500. The product is a key-pad style lock with a lever that eliminates the need for keys. Residents use a personal numeric code to enter their apartment.
Delaney is currently in the middle of a project that involves installing the Privex SK500 on individual bedroom doors at a student housing development. “This will eliminate the use of traditional keys in each unit,” Rich says. “The ability to change the key code as each student moves in and out will save significant time and money on rekeying and replacing hardware.”
Security officers and regular patrols are increasingly important security measures on campuses and at student housing complexes. “The needs within the student housing market have changed as ownership structure and campus needs have evolved,” says Ty Hughes, director of business performance with Signal 88 Security. “The provision of private on- or off-campus housing has exploded, giving students options in campus living. These properties are owned and operated by national companies that are often removed from the locale by hundreds or thousands of miles. Having a local presence for resident and property protection enables the residents to have a local influence in regards to the oversight of their community.”
Signal 88 Security, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is a national company that offers vehicle and officer courtesy patrols formultifamily and student housing properties.
“Our national brand is deployed through local owner-operators in 30 states, bringing a unique level of accountability and services to our clients,” Hughes says.
Signal 88’s services include courtesy patrols, in vehicle or on foot, with the company’s staff trained to be an extension of property management primarily during non-business hours. The company’s courtesy officers patrol the property, identifying any resident risks and dealing with them appropriately.
The company recently began a relationship with Campus Advantage in late 2011. “Their properties sprawl across the nation around major university hubs, and we have partnered with them in multiple markets,” Hughes says. “Campus Advantage has provided feedback about our courtesy officers’ professionalism and how they are trained specifically to relate to college-age residents and scenarios. They have also responded well to the web-based reporting that allows the courtesy officers to archive data by resident and search if necessary, and the GPS-tracking of officers and vehicles as well as date- and time-stamped reporting.”
Advances in Security
Security options will continue to get more advanced and cost-effective in the future as the need for quality, reliable security options will remain as important as ever.
“Safety and security will always be the main requirements for access control,” Mathias says. “Kaba continually looks at current industry trends and new technologies designed to keep students safe and secure. Providing as much convenience as possible along the way for both users and administrators of the system is important, but ultimately the system must be secure, dependable and manageable for all parties involved.”
Locking hardware will continue to move toward keyless and digital options as these provide ease of access for students and cut costs for owners.
For example, Delaney is currently developing a software-driven product for its Privex digital door locks that will allow owners to manage their property from their desk. “The software driven product will allow managers to track when and who enters a unit, set up temporary passes for maintenance to do work and set key cards to start and stop working on specific times and dates,” Rich says. “This product will reduce time and money that is spent managing door hardware.”
At Kaba, Mathias also sees new advances in locking technology in the next few years. “Emerging technologies range from near-field communication (NFC) with the use of smart phones, cloud-based Web supported software management and biometric integrated access control,” he says.
Hughes believes that all of these advances are necessary as campuses are not exempt from crime. “The need for a security presence is only increasing as evidenced by the unfortunate series of events that seem all too common,” he says. “The ‘breaking news’ announcement of criminal activities across the nation, specifically within the university realm, has become so common it has begun to lose its shock value.”
The latest in access and security options give students peace of mind while also giving student housing owners dependable and cost-effective ways to run their business while keeping students safe.
— Lara Fuller