How Smart Glass and Smart Film Improve School Lockdown Procedures

Switchable glass makes schools and universities more secure by providing instant privacy. Smart glass goes from clear to frosted in a fraction of a second, enhancing lockdown procedures.

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Lockdown procedures are critical to the safe and secure operation of many public spaces, including schools, airports and government offices. Lockdowns are performed to minimize accessibility to rooms and building areas to reduce any dangers to students, staff or visitors.

Today’s buildings have more glazing than ever before, a feature that has both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to security. The advantage is that it makes spaces more transparent, thereby leaving fewer places for intruders to hide. The disadvantage is the lack of privacy in the event of an emergency, creating a bigger threat in the event of a mass shooting, act of terrorism or other security breach.

How Can Spaces Balance Transparency and Privacy?

Smart glass and smart film add an invisible layer of security to any space. Switchable glass goes from clear to frosted on demand, providing instant privacy. This effect is produced by PDLC (Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals) technology. When powered on, the liquid crystals align, resulting in transparency. When powered off, the crystals scatter the light, creating an opacity. This gives occupants complete control over their privacy no matter how much glazing there is in a given space. 

Advantages of Smart Glass For Security

Instant Privacy

In an emergency, every second counts and covering glass surfaces manually wastes precious time. No other window treatment can transform glass as quickly. Smart glass switches in just 0.01 seconds, faster than any curtains or blinds could ever possibly be drawn.

Contactless Control

If there is an intruder or other security threat, getting close to glass surfaces to close curtains or blinds can put occupants at risk and be extremely frightening. Smart glass can be transformed from clear to frosted with the push of a button, remote control, smartphone or even voice command. This eliminates the need to come into contact with the glass, keeping teachers, staff and personnel safe.

Smart glass can be integrated with security systems so that all of the smart glass in a school, university or other building instantly becomes frosted in the event of an emergency.


Smart glass has built-in soundproofing properties at no additional cost, a feature that usually runs at about $100 per square foot. This noise reducing effect is due to the fact that the switchable PDLC layer is sandwiched between two pieces of glass, increasing the number of surfaces that the sound must pass through.  In an emergency, this keeps conversations confidential and decreases any noise that could compromise the safety of occupants.

This added soundproofing also has the benefit of decreasing noise pollution and echoes even when there is no security threat, making classrooms and workspaces quieter. The soundproofing properties of smart glass can be further enhanced by using smart glass IGUs.

Increased Visibility

An open, connected space has higher visibility, making surveillance easier and limiting the number of places an intruder can hide. Research has proven that there are fewer crimes committed in areas with high visibility. 


Many security measures feel invasive and act as a constant reminder of a potential threat. Privacy glass looks just like regular glass and simply acts as an enhancement to any educational environment. 

Our switchable glass solutions have been used in public schools and elite universities such as Stanford University in California. Watch the video below to see an example of smart glass installed in a public school:

Additional Benefits of Smart Glass:

Increase Natural Light

By incorporating more glazing into your designs, you can create a daylight-filled environment. Even when switched to frosted, smart film and glass still allow two thirds of natural light through. Increased natural light has been proven to improve learning, employee productivity and elevate mood.

Minimize Heat Gain

Smart glass and film block UV and IR light, a source of heat gain. Increased use of glazing also reduces the need for artificial light, further enhancing energy efficiency.

Dynamic Classrooms

Switchable glass can be used as a whiteboard and double as a rear projection screen. It also lets staff reclaim common areas and repurpose them into instant classrooms or ad-hoc meeting spaces.

How to Get Smart Glass For Your Space

Any type of glass can be made switchable, whether it is fire rated glass, bulletproof glass, blast resistant or tinted. Each order is custom manufactured for the requirements of each project.

Looking to make your school, university or any other space more secure? Get in touch with us today and we’d be happy to provide you with a free estimate.

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