Don’t Touch but Please Enjoy: IP Security in Museums

January 29, 2014

Museum - Don't touch"Please don't touch," you see it on signs everywhere in museums and zoos. It's like an unspoken rule or a good faith policy that gets us within reach of priceless objects and rare species. But signs alone don't always work.

How do these sites find the balance in protecting their assets and welcoming guests to freely browse?

In an article by CSO Online, clever tactics included using vibration sensors to detect even the slightest finger tap, or changing floor texture to evoke psychological barriers. But more commonly, you'll see museums such as Lemay - America's Car Museum (ACM) implementing IP video surveillance to be more responsive. Museums and zoos can also use IP security tools to protect their most prized items without being intrusive. Here are three examples:

Alerting Guards When Guests Get Too Close

Guests might glance up and think they are seeing a strategically-placed IP camera. What they might not know is that on the back end, there is a powerful VMS programmed with motion detection alarms or integrated with video analytic trip wires that tell guards when someone gets too close. Floor guards can also check security video from their phones to get a closer look at someone without actually looking directly over their shoulder.

Protecting Back-of-House with IP Access Control

IP access control comes in handy when a guest veers off track. Through a unified platform, a guard can automatically receive an alarm triggered by a door that is trying to be opened. Then, all he has to do is pull up the camera to see who's there, talk to them over IP intercom, and instruct them to either step away, or unlock the door if they're authorized.

Offering Remote Visits with Cloud-Enabled Video

IP or cloud-based video systems can be used outside the realm of security. Zoos and other environmental agencies provide live video of animals over the net. It's a win-win: animals are undisturbed and guests can check in as often as they want. Just take a look at the Panda Cam from the Smithsonian.

These examples show that there is more to museum and zoo security than what meets the eye. Clever uses of IP security technology can trick us into believing we've respected the 'Please don't touch' sign. Have more ideas on the topic? Tell us about it!

Tags:   Cultural Institution / Access Control / Video Surveillance