Sunday, 19 August 2012

The new era of CCTV technology

CCTV technology has been around for many years.  Traditional CCTV systems produced black and white pictures, the cameras were the size of a large toaster, the monitors the size of a small car, and the video quality something you'd expect to see on your TV with the rabbit ears in bad weather.

As with most things, CCTV technology has evolved rapidly over the past few years and CCTV cameras are being used more and more in non conventional roles.  Traditionally CCTV systems were designed to observe and record only, capturing the evidence for review later.  This week we are going to explore some of the non conventional roles of CCTV equipment...

Intrusion Alarm Activation and Verification:
Everyone is familiar with the traditional intrusion alarm.  Someone breaks a window or forces open a door and a motion detector or glass break sensor triggers an alarm signal back to the monitoring station where the appropriate call outs are made.

More and more police departments these days will not respond to intrusion alarms until they know that the alarm has been verified by either phoning the location or ensuring that an emergency contact is going to attend the location.  These outdated alarm verification methods simply do not offer any protection and render the alarm system no different then not even having the alarm monitored at all.

With advances in DVR networking CCTV systems can be designed to either act as the intrusion alarm itself (i.e. the camera triggers the alarm based on motion detection) or the CCTV system can be used to immediately verify the cause of the alarm (monitoring station remote connects into video feed and verifies whether alarm is real or false).

By having the monitoring station verify the alarm via CCTV this alarm gets treated differently from a police stand point.  Since this alarm is verified within minutes of being triggered the monitoring station can either reset the false alarm or report a crime in progress based on what they observe via the camera feed.

Security Patrol:
Ask anyone that has had to write the cheque to pay for security guards on site and they will tell you it's expensive.  With billing rates averaging around $16 - $19 / hour per guard and mobile patrol stops around $30 - $40 per visit the cost really adds up.

Now there are some situations where you will want a traditional guard on site however in a lot of situations the traditional guard can be replaced by remote video monitoring.

As the monitoring station is capable of viewing multiple sites at once and each operator can cover multiple sites each the costs associated with having the needed coverage is far less.  

For example, going back to to the mobile patrol example, at a rate of $35 per stop a mobile patrol vehicle will typically allow for a maximum of 15 minutes on site per visit and very often they will not get out of the car.  Having the mobile patrol officer attend a site twice a night every night on average will cost around $2170 per month.  Having a monitoring station check in via camera they will achieve the same results as the mobile patrol officer that doesn't get out of his car and it will cost you under $300 for the same frequency of visits.  The same can be said for having a static guard on site monitoring a property.  With an average billing rate of $16 per hour to watch a construction site for example, a traditional 8 hour shift will cost $128.  Multiply that over a month and you get a cost of roughly $3968.  To have a monitoring station observe multiple sites and have cameras trigger on alarms produced when they capture motion would cost you under $500 per month for the same results.  Both examples have the same "observe and report" mandate and both examples will call the proper authorities upon seeing crime in progress, however the remote video monitoring and remote security patrol will save money in the long term.

Investigations, People Counting, and License Plate Capture:
With advances in video analytics CCTV and DVR systems can be used used for a multitude of investigations such a cashier theft and fraud, ATM fraud, public safety and liability investigations, as well as store closing and opening audits.

In addition, CCTV and DVR systems can also very accurately produce a person count for retail locations and email statistics daily, hourly, or weekly to those that need to know.

CCTV systems can also very accurately capture vehicle license plates either for informational purposes such as road tolls or vehicle counting, or for enforcement activities such as ticketing or stolen vehicle verification. 

Automated Process Monitoring:
With advances in thermal imaging CCTV systems can be designed to monitor automated processes and either send off alarms or stop a process immediately should the process slip outside of normal parameters.  CCTV systems can monitor the temperature of a process, can monitor movement on a belt line and can even monitor if the process stops working.

As you can see, there are numerous different uses for a CCTV system and as technology advances even further we will start to see more and more roles that were once being done manually being handled remotely and automatically.

If you would like more information on these uses or any other type of CCTV technology please contact us below: