Innovation in Security Approved for New Fairfield Schools:
  The Ekahau Badge System

by Dr. Alicia M. Roy, Superintendent of Schools

A badge system to know the location of expensive, mobile equipment as well as doctors and patients is not new for hospitals. This technology is now being brought to schools, and the New Fairfield Public Schools are adding it as additional means to protect our students and staff. 

Specifically, the Ekahau (Eck-uh-how) system has been approved for use in our schools.  Ekahau is the Mayan God of travelers and merchants. The Ekahau system, originally used in hospitals, is a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) that will provide many additional levels of security for a one-time fee.  The only maintenance fees would be for the software and badges.   

From the level of the user, the system is very easy to use.  Staff members will be given a badge to wear.  Among the many features, it will provide the following: 

  • Immediate notification of the police through the badge, with an exact location of the need
  • A visible LED display on the badge
  • The ability for every staff member to signal all in the school if there is an emergency, to enable everyone to move away from the trouble immediately
  • A message for the badge wearer to read indicating the problem
  • Alerts for medical emergencies
  • Two-way text notifications
  • Use by visitors to restrict access to areas of the building and to know their exact real-time location
  • Mass notification of non-emergency messages without needing to interrupt classes
  • Paging of a staff member or student through a staff member’s badge without needing to send a message to the entire school
  • A mobile vision iOS-based application for administrative use

The Ekahau website at  http://www.ekahau.com/real-time-location-system/about-us includes many informative videos, which create a complete picture of the system.  Craig Kingsbury, Chief of Police in Nampa, Idaho, is featured in a video.  I called him to discuss his community’s use of the system.  He reiterated his strong support, noting the system’s ability to give instant access from the town’s police dispatch, reducing response time in an emergency.

I am very excited about offering this level of security to our students and staff, and am able to offer it because of the generosity of Ekahau, which is willing to offer us a free system at the high school/middle school for 30 days.  No additional wiring is needed as the system runs on the Wi-Fi network.  If we like the system, we will use security grant monies to purchase it for Meeting House Hill/Consolidated, and keep the high school/middle school system for FREE.  There is no monthly monitoring fee, as the system will run on our current wireless network.

The New Fairfield Public Schools have been at the forefront both in keeping our students and staff safe, and in using innovations in technology to support our goals.  The Ekahau system will be the next innovation to add to our schools—making us a true leader in setting high security standards for our district. 

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