ESCO Communications wins school bid

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS—ESCO Communications’ approach to designing a school security project helped land the integrator a $1.39 million project that involves 10 schools and 1,054 camera views.

“I started the review of one school with the facility director,” Chuck McCormick, ESCO solutions engineer, told Security Systems News. Twenty minutes into the review, the facility director wanted the safety director to join in, another 20 minutes later, the two decided the CFO should be included. In the end, the CFO asked McCormick for an estimate for the whole 10-school district.

ESCO won the project in June. It expects to complete the entire project in January. ESCO Communications, based here, has been in business for 50 years. It does access, intrusion, CCTV, fire alarm, mass notification, audio and health care specialties like nurse call and special hospital beds. Owned by Chip Roth whose father started the company, ESCO has 100 employees. The engineering staff hold a variety of certifications including BICSI, NICET Level IV fire, NICET Level III audio.  and Cisco.

“We are part of the union so we can expand the number of employees when we need to,” McCormick said.

In conducting a risk and vulnerability assessment, McCormick looked “at the landscape, the crime demographic of the community, weather. I even did a lighting assessment and watched how people come in and out and interact with the building,” he explained.

He pointed out that the threats differ greatly in a high school, middle school and elementary school. For example, “in an elementary school, there’s not much activity before and after school,” he said.

In an assessment, McCormick said you need to think about "what you want to accomplish and does it meet the threat in your area."

The bid spec said the schools wanted “100 percent coverage in the hallways at recognition levels.” To help the school to make “value-based decisions," McCormick uses "a cart with multiple cameras that I roll around on site [so the end user can see the difference in the technologies in the actual location.]”

McCormick uses JVSG CCTV design software which enables McCormick to make very precise predictions about how certain cameras will perform. It also enables end users to “see various technologies side by side, and they can choose.”

The software can be used with any camera. After inputting various details, McCormick can show an end user what different camera views will look like. “It helps them pre-visualize. They’re educators, security systems are not their bailiwick… pixels per foot on target doesn’t mean anything to them,” he said.

This kind of demonstration in the school really helps. “The approach we take is holistic,” McCormick said. “We look at everything that can be a threat, it’s not just, ‘Here’s a camera, you need more cameras, buy cameras.’”

McCormick will be speaking about school security at the Hoosiers Education Conference in November.