Blackboard Gets Into Video Surveillance

Blackboard Inc., the course-management company, clearly wants to be more than a course-management company. Today it announced a video surveillance service for colleges, allowing security officials to view live and recorded video over a campus computer network.

The move follows Blackboard’s recent acquisition of NTI Group, an emergency-notification company, which can send alerts to students and faculty members in the event of violence or other hazards (like dangerous weather) on the campus.

With both the video security system and the emergency alerts, Blackboard is selling services that reach beyond its traditional classroom territory.

Because the digital surveillance cameras can send images through existing campus computer networks, they may be attractive to colleges, which wouldn’t have to spend money on building separate wiring systems. That’s a lot more elaborate than posting midterm grades. —Josh Fischman

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