Technology is available to help ensure a child’s safety. It just needs a concerted effort to make it work, writes Rozana Sani
JAI is feeling anxious. His daughter Annusha, 7, is taking the van to school for the first time today. What if someone grabs her while she waits for the transport, he thinks. What if she doesn’t make it to the school gate?
A second later, his phone beeps. It is a message from the school security system. Annusha has just passed through the main school gate. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) reader has captured her electronic ID embedded in the card attached to a lanyard that all students wear.
Jai can also go to the secure school website and log in to see a video of Annusha entering school, captured by the school’s CCTV system.
Jai lets out a sigh of relief. Later in the day, he will listen for another beep that tells him exactly when she leaves school for the day. He can then check with the van driver whether she is in the school van.
This security solution puts at peace the minds of parents and school authorities. It can be easily implemented as the technology is readily available, says Think Smart Technology Resources (TSTR) executive director Dr Ivan Lanovara Jafilus.
“RFID is a generic term used to describe a system that transmits the identity (in the form of a unique serial number) of an object or a person wirelessly using radio waves. It can read through non-metallic materials, does not require line-of-sight and can withstand harsh environments. The main functions of a RFID-based solution is to tag, track and check where a person is exactly in an accurate and timely manner,” he explains.
TSTR specialises in customising its software with barcodes, hardware device, microchip and sensors. Among its projects are the proof-of-concept of a Hajj Pilgrims Management system that handles pilgrims management using microchip application. Tested with Tabung Haji two years ago, the system monitored and analysed activities and conditions of the pilgrims involved in real-time, through their ID tags and this enabled the Hajj bureau to make the experience as comfortable as it could for them.
To set up such a system in schools, each student has an RFID tag — affixed to the student card or bracelet ID — strategically placed RFID readers, CCTV, middleware and software application.
“The microchip in the cards and tags can also include a GPS function so that movements can be tracked... whether in school or outside, as long as these are worn,” says Jafilus.
The system should be implemented in phases — perhaps to record arrival and attendance as well as video recording of students at school entry and exit points. Later, the same tag and card can include a module that allows parents to view students’ movement in schools as well as get updates on their activities.
“The same system can also integrate exam results and students records.”
Price-wise, it is more affordable to build such a system now as the technology and products are widely available. More importantly, the key to the success of such an implementation is the commitment of all parties to make it work.
“Students, parents and the school must all play a role and cooperate to make it work effectively. Children are our future and we must do all that’s necessary to take care of them.”