MDI brings Assa Abloy, Nortel into Learn Safe fold

Thursday, June 21, 2007

SAN ANTONIO--Learn Safe, a program run by Stratis Authority to provide comprehensive security systems to schools (search "learn safe" at, has struck partnership agreements with telcom giant Nortel and access control hardware giant Assa Abloy. Nortel will serve as the exclusive systems integrator for Learn Safe, delivering network infrastructure, information security, Internet content management and wireless communications. Assa Abloy, through its Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions sales arm, which represents 13 of Assa's operating companies, will be the preferred partner for access control hardware.
Command and control software manufacturer MDI, based here, serves as the point entity for the physical security portion of the Learn Safe program and was instrumental in bringing both new companies to the table.
Learn Safe, launched by Stratis in January of this year, delivers a "soup to nuts" security plan for schools and school districts, said Mike Garcia, vice president of marketing for MDI, including everything from background checks to evacuation plans to high-technology surveillance and access control systems.
"As I started talking to the superintendent level, the school board level, decision makers in the schools," said Garcia, "what I started finding out is that this technology they're looking for is really secondary to them. Yes, they want to make sure it's the right technology and installed correctly, but they want to make sure they have a program above all else. And Learn Safe is perfect for that in that it educates educators about what to do with the security system."
Learn Safe also offers a unique funding model, where school districts essentially get the security systems for free, in exchange for outsourcing certain payroll, insurance and benefit duties to a Stratis Authority company known as a professional employer organization, or PEO. The profit the PEO makes in handling those duties for the school districts allows Learn Safe to provide the security systems and other security services.
"The first time I heard about Learn Safe was from a K-12 specialist from Texas, who introduced me to MDI and Learn Safe," said Sean McGrath, Assa Abloy business development manager for education, who manages 23 sales offices across the country, each with at least one specialist for both K-12 and university education. "I think with their go to market strategy, we're the hardware side of things, the locks and the door closers, and Learn Safe is everything else. I see such a great fit for us, between the psychological training and the background checking and having one complete security plan. You can have the best locks and hardware in the world, but if the teachers and personnel are not trained with a policy in place, then it all goes out the window."

For more on Learn Safe, Nortel, MDI and Assa Abloy, see the August issue of Security Systems News.