Swansea University

University of Swansea Case Study

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Swansea University is increasingly recognized as one of the UK’s most ambitious research-led universities. With its first-class teaching facilities, research and international outlook, the university is fully committed to providing a safe and secure environment for everyone studying, working or living there.

Swansea University has around 19,000 students, 3,000 staff and is home to several independent organizations located within its buildings. Swansea is a dual campus university – with Singleton Park Campus set within a large community parkland and Bay Campus on the beachfront – and has students from 139 different countries.

SafeZone means we can focus our resources in a far more coherent way. If someone wants help, we know what type of incident it is, who they are and where they are.
Russell Huxtable, Head of Business Continuity and Resilience
Swansea Students on Beach

Although the University has relatively low levels of reported crime, damage or incidents involving people or property, its security team regularly reviews and updates its systems and processes.

To enable an even faster and more effective response 24/7, the team wanted to improve command and control of all security incidents and requests for first aid, particularly those involving vulnerable students. There was also a focus on implementing a mass communications system to help evacuate parts of the campus if required.

We are always looking at innovative ways to further mitigate risk, enable rapid response readiness and fulfil our duty of care. By complementing our existing health and safety measures, SafeZone will enhance our ability to respond appropriately to any event, whether it’s a call for first aid, fire alarm or a major incident.
Russell Huxtable, Head of Business Continuity and Resilience
Swansea Students on Campus

Swansea University implemented SafeZone in September 2016 to cover its two campuses, seven other sites frequented by staff and students, transit corridors to specific accommodation areas, and for use on international field trips.

A large portion of the staff and students have chosen to load the end user app component of SafeZone to provide an instant communication link to security in the event of an incident.  The university continues to run various promotional campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of SafeZone and to encourage adoption.

SafeZone offers an integrated approach to help get first responders to an incident in a faster, more focused way; plus it gives the University’s security team the ability to alert everyone in an emergency whether they use the app or not.

Our control room team and patrol officers use OmniGuard – part of CriticalArc’s SafeZone solution – to enable real-time dispatch and response coordination of officers and support staff, and to make two-way communications more effective. It lets us direct the right response to the right incident. And if we’ve got multiple incidents going on at the same time, we can see them all and prioritise. You can’t command and control without this kind of situational awareness.
Russell Huxtable, Head of Business Continuity and Resilience
Students at Swansea Summer Ball

To trigger an alert users simply tap a button on their smartphone: without having to say anything or attempting to describe their location. Once the button has been pressed, the first responders are notified so the closest person can attend the user’s location.

The University provides students with serious medical conditions with Bluetooth pendants linked to their smartphone to accommodate their additional needs.

SafeZone is also helping to keep staff and students safe when they are away on international study trips. To enable this function, the control room simply geofences the target region or country of interest, allowing the app to automatically reconfigure on a user’s smartphone when they arrive. If a user needs help, the app then connects to the local consular office or medical provider linked to the University’s insurers. SafeZone simultaneously alerts the security team in Swansea so they can provide backup support.

Using SafeZone to ensure a consistent security approach across our campus locations and beyond will provide an extra level of protection to give all students and staff added peace of mind.
Russell Huxtable, Head of Business Continuity and Resilience
Swansea University students study in the library

SafeZone has become a critical tool for the University’s security team, which is continually looking for new ways to improve its services, and to encourage more potential users to engage with the app.

The next phase is to integrate SafeZone with the University’s two main site surveillance systems so that cameras can immediately focus on the location of an alert, and to use Bluetooth beacons for more accurate indoor positioning within specific buildings. Additionally, the team is investigating SafeZone’s real-time tracking for use on buses as students shuttle between Singleton Park and Bay campuses and on specific late-night services so they can remain in safe areas until the bus is nearby.

The mobilisation by Safezone could not have been more efficient or effective. Moreover, they were attentive and helpful at every stage from technical issues to marketing advice. They are a very customer focused organization who is willing to listen and react to your issues and suggestions for improvement. The product is outstanding and their service first class. I have no hesitation in giving this company my full endorsement.
Russell Huxtable, Head of Business Continuity and Resilience
Swansea University students celebrate graduation

Benefits and Outcomes

  • SafeZone is helping Swansea University to provide a safer and more secure environment for anyone using, studying or working there
  • The system benefits include: Acting as a force multiplier to enable better use of existing security resources
  • Giving security staff greater situational awareness
  • Offering a faster, more personalised response to requests for help
  • Demonstrating the university’s commitment to student and staff welfare
  • Strengthening and protecting the Swansea University brand

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