Jason Szuch, President of SAY Security Group in Ada, displays the “bus in a box” system that is currently being tested in Ada Schools. The system utilizes internal and external security cameras, as well as a card reader to help monitor students and keep them safe.
Jason Szuch, President of SAY Security Group in Ada, displays the “bus in a box” system that is currently being tested in Ada Schools. The system utilizes internal and external security cameras, as well as a card reader to help monitor students and keep them safe.
The Ada Schools have found a friend in Ada businessman Jason Szuch, President of SAY Security Group. SAY Security, a developer of digital video equipment and other surveillance products, was looking for a way to test their cameras in a live setting. The Ada Schools, already a customer, were willing to be that testing site.
Szuch said that the school already had high-definition cameras in place throughout the building, and SAY Security donated cameras for use on the Ada school buses. Verizon 4G wireless service was also installed on the buses so the school can see live video from the buses.
He noted that there are other school districts in the U.S. that also use the bus cameras - in Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, to name a few.
“We gave the system to the schools so they could try out a new feature,” Szuch explained. He admits it was a selfish move, because the school is so close to the office. His team can “work out all the bugs” before introducing it to potential customers. The new feature, a card reader, allows students to swipe a card when getting on or off the bus. The time and location is then logged for both the parents’ use, and the school’s. Szuch says the system is more useful for tracking students in larger school districts, but can be used anywhere.
“It’s a very unique product,” Szuch noted. “None of my competitors have it. There are other people who install cameras on school buses, but nobody has a system that does live streaming video, records the video, and can tell you where and when your student got off the bus.”
The benefit for the parents is they can actually receive a text message, and know their child just got on or off the bus. If they have a smart phone, the parent can also look at a live map and see where the child was dropped off.
“It allows the parents a little bit more accountability with what’s going on with their kids,” Szuch said. “We’re very excited about it. We think it’s going to be one of our biggest sellers in 2012. We’re releasing it in Ada, working out the kinks, and rolling it out in 2012...in Arizona.”
Ada’s K-12 Principal Robin VanBuskirk said that the partnership was formed with SAY Security because of the children. “It’s safety - it’s the safety of our children that is important to us, both inside and outside the bus.”
“It’s nice to have a local partner,” Ben Thaxton, Assistant Principal and Technology Coordinator for Ada, added. “We’re helping them and they’re helping us.”
Thaxton explained that the school had approached Szuch about obtaining some additional cameras for the school buildings, and the discussion led to the partnership.
“It was a good fit,” Thaxton said. “They are using us to show the system off. It was a win-win for both.”
“The quality of the cameras are very nice. It’s a pretty neat system,” Thaxton continued. “There are still some programming issues. We are working the bugs out.”
The cameras also provide audio, and the school officials noted that the cameras have been used already in the investigation of a student incident.
When the bus arrives at the garage after completing a route, the data from the cameras is uploaded automatically to a server through WiFi. The bus driver does not have to do anything for the system to function. The video can then be saved for any period of time the school desires.
The same system also uses a form of GPS to track where the bus is located. There is a website that school officials use to monitor the whereabouts of the buses and their speed.
The location system can be used not only for regular routes, but for field trips and athletic events.
Thaxton said the location system also has a “panic button” in case of emergency situations, so that school officials will be notified sooner.
Mike Lenhart, Maintenance and Transportation Supervisor for Ada Schools, noted that the camera system is working, but it’s “a work in progress.” He said SAY Security has been coming to the school regularly to fix any issues that arise, but the concept is sound.
“Cameras don’t lie,” Lenhart said. “Either from somebody passing the red lights, or behavior.”
Regarding those vehicles who pass a school bus illegally, Lenhart said the school will prosecute those violators. He said there is an event button on the camera system so the driver can make a note of when the violation occurred. The driver will also make a statement on the incident, and photos of the violation can be made from the video.
“It’s valuable, because it backs up what the driver has to report,” Lenhart noted. “We’ve resisted cameras in the past, but once you see them, they’re pretty nice, excellent quality. The cameras are a plus.”
There are six buses in the Ada School District, transporting approximately 400 students per day. Each bus has four cameras - three internal and one outside on the stop arm.
The school has not yet implemented the card reader portion of the system.
“I think we’re going to pilot the card reader with just a few kids,” said VanBuskirk. “It’s a valuable tool for safety and security. It’s just another way that we can monitor what’s going on, on the bus.”
A potential problem with using card readers is the loss of the cards. There are interested parents, according to Lenhart, but there are some issues that need to be resolved first. He continued that the system would be only be used on a voluntary basis, at the request of the parents.
About SAY Security and its owner Jason Szuch
Szuch was born and raised in Ada, and attended Ada High School through his freshman year. After graduating from Temple Christian High School, he attended college in Florida, planning to secure a career in the ministry. While in college, his interest in technology steadily grew, and he decided to return to the area to start a business in that field.
SAY Security began in 2001 in Szuch’s home, and quickly moved to a storefront on S. Main Street in Ada. When the business outgrew the location, he obtained a second office, and eventually, Szuch constructed the current building in Industrial Park in 2004 to accommodate the growth.
The building at the end of Montford Street houses both SAY Security Group and Hospitality WiFi, along with a number of other small businesses.
SAY Security Group engineers, manufactures, and distributes security cameras for schools and hospitals, but have turned their focus recently to mobile environments: like in police cars and buses.
There are national companies who are users of SAY’s equipment, including Subway, McDonald’s, and Family Dollar; and they are also in use by the U.S.-Mexico Border Patrol. Szuch said they have also designed a special camera for potentially-explosive situations, and have those cameras in use on oil rigs.
Szuch says that 2011 was their biggest year for international sales, especially to the Middle East, Mexico, Brazil and Italy.
SAY Security has a team of developers at the Ada office. Having research and development in the U.S. sets them above many of their competitors.
“That’s why we’ve got a lot of people who come to us, because we can do development that nobody else around the world can,” Szuch noted. “We can do some really neat things.”
The Ada office manufactures some components, and add other components to do final assembly and testing in house. All of the software is written in Ada, as well.
“We try to do as much here in the U.S. as we can,” Szuch said.
Hospitality WiFi services large hotel chains across the U.S., including Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, and the Choice brand hotels, and does WiFi in schools and hospitals. In 2012, Hospitality WiFi will be the exclusive vendor for Best Western, as they will be changing out all of their equipment in their hotels.
Szuch said that on any given day, about 19,000 people log on to their internet service across the nation.
“I anticipate our wireless business and our security business probably doubling in size next year,” Szuch said.
With the continuous growth, Szuch said the company is in need of further expansion, and is contemplating the construction of an addition in the future.
“We’ve filled up this building,” he said. “We’ll need some more staff, and some more room.”
Szuch said he does not plan on leaving Ada anytime soon.
“Ada’s been good to us,” he said. Not only are his employees local, but he has a good relationship with the village and the university.
One hundred percent of SAY Security’s development staff have come from ONU, as well as a constant flow of interns, both in business and marketing. And the Ada Police Department currently utilizes their security cameras.