New Canaan schools may test new identification software
Published 5:12 pm, Thursday, September 2, 2010
New Canaan public school students may have the opportunity to participate in a new technology protocol that would track students and equipment.
Dash7 is a new device that uses a radio frequency which can be used to track people or objects using an identification strip. Dash7 can track people or objects over a greater distance and uses less power than other tracking devices, according to the website dash7.org.
Louis Parks, president and CEO of SecureRF Corporation, discussed the potential benefits of implementing the new technology, which includes attaching an identification strip to a school ID card, a book tag or even a laptop in order to track the location of those objects, Parks said.
"In the case of an emergency, you would be able to take a snapshot of where everybody is when taking attendance," Parks said. Taking attendance manually can take much longer and it is harder to locate everyone, said Parks who added that he had taken attendance at sporting events and after school activities.
The technology would be funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation so New Canaan schools wouldn't have to pay during the evaluation process. Parks said if the school were to choose to use the new protocol, the devices could range in price from 10 cents to $10 or more.
With the Dash7 protocol, schools would be able to monitor the whereabouts of students or objects up to a maximum of 1,000 feet inside the building or 1,500 feet outside. According to the Dash7 website, the protocol is able to penetrate walls, floors and things made of water. Because the protocol operates on a 433MHz spectrum, it can be utilized around the world.
"The schools would be able to monitor who is on campus and make sure devices like laptops are being used appropriately," Parks said.
The Board of Education could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
Superintendent of Schools David Abbey said the technology would be potentially useful for increasing security and efficiency at the schools. However, Abbey noted that nothing would be put in place this year because the idea for implementing the Dash7 protocol in still in the discussion phase. Ultimately, the Board of Education will determine whether or not to continue discussing implementing Dash7.
If the Board of Education decides to move forward, a pilot program would be implemented exclusively at the high school and only on a voluntary basis with parental consent, Abbey said. Privacy issues are a concern with using technology that enables the school to track students, but Abbey said the schools would only use the technology for tracking students on campus.
"We have no interest in tracking students off campus," Abbey said.