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A video surveillance system can provide safety and security benefits to the full range of Alberta’s private industry and public sector environments. That being said, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all‘ type of surveillance system. Rather, the system has to be designed to meet the objectives of business owners or property managers. Getting a system that does that requires planning, and building a plan requires a certain level of understanding.
So, we’ll try and provide that with this article. As always, you can Contact Us with any questions. Our Account Managers are here to help.
Why Have One in The First Place?
A video surveillance system represents an investment in your business and, depending on the scale of your system, that investment can be considerable. But the benefits often make the investment worthwhile:
Loss Prevention and Cost Savings
The first (and maybe most obvious) benefit of a surveillance system is loss prevention. A well-designed system with appropriately placed cameras can be a major deterrent to would-be shoplifters in retail environments, cheaters in a casino, or thieves trying to steal material from a construction site. In addition, it can serve as a deterrent to vandals and others who would cause serious and expensive damage to your business and equipment.
There’s also an element of savings when it comes to personnel. With CCTV cameras acting as ‘eyes’ on your business, you may find you need fewer security staff members guarding or patrolling the entire facility. Instead, you can deploy them to protect key areas more effectively.
To state the obvious, having CCTV cameras in place lets people know they are being monitored. They act as deterrents to violence and reckless behavior in the same way they deter shoplifting and vandalism. If employees are aware that their conduct is being monitored, they may be less likely to engage in unsafe conduct that could lead to injuries or incidents of property damage.
But just as important as its ability to deter unsafe or criminal activity is its ability to alert your security staff to it. Surveillance software, like the Avigilon Control Center, can be tailored to send alerts to a range of activities that you, as the end-user, classify as out of the ordinary.
These incidents can range from an attempted break-in or a fight to a person or vehicle loitering too close to the entrance of a restricted area. It even allows your security team to track a specific person or vehicle moving about the property.
Having this kind of information fed to your security team means they will be able to respond to incidents much more quickly than before, providing an added level of safety to everyone on site.
While having video surveillance can deter criminal activity and reduce incident response times, incidents still occur. When it comes time to investigate what happened and who was involved, a surveillance system becomes invaluable.
With high-definition cameras installed, operators can enhance still frames of video to get clear images that provide useful, actionable information. With software like the Avigilon Control Center, operators can even search hours of video to quickly find unique information, like a specific person or vehicle.
Setting Priorities for Your System
Like we mentioned earlier, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ surveillance system. The solution you end up going with will depend on the work environment(s) you’re trying to secure, your industry, and your budget. That said, there are a few factors that separate effective systems from those that underperform, and their worth keeping in mind.
Lighting Conditions and Capabilities
Consider the range of environments that might need a surveillance system, and just how different they can be. For example, if you’re trying to secure an LRT station or a playground in Edmonton. Depending on the time of day, these places can be very well or very poorly lit. That means you’ll need equipment that can provide quality images in low light environments. Cameras with infrared LED lights, like the H5A camera line from Avigilon, provide this kind of illumination so animals, vehicles, and people can be clearly seen, even in absolute darkness.
A camera’s stated image resolution will give you an idea of the kind of image quality you can expect. Generally speaking, internet protocol (IP) cameras can offer higher resolution than their analog predecessors. Analog CCTV systems can offer around half a megapixel at best. IP CCTV cameras can offer considerably higher resolution, with IP CCTV cameras from providers like Avigilon easily offering 8 megapixels. In fact, with features like High Definition Stream Management, Avigilon cameras can provide your security team with 30-megapixel images.
It should be noted that higher resolution cameras could come at a higher upfront cost. As always, figuring out what your needs are will be key to getting equipment that meets them without blowing the budget.
CCTV systems with an analytical component can represent a huge time-savings for your security team. With certain features enabled, facial recognition is possible, giving your team the ability to both identify a person previously labeled as suspicious or unauthorized and to track that person throughout your facility or job site. Video analytics can alert you to suspicious or unsafe activity, like a person loitering near a restricted area, or a vehicle driving on the wrong side of a private road.
Another value video analytics can provide is the ability to conduct investigations more quickly. Rather than scanning hours of security footage, your team can simply jump to the exact time and place an incident occurred, review the footage, and take action.
There are plenty of factors you’ll have to weigh when building the video surveillance system that protects your job site, facility, staff, and customers. And, undoubtedly, you’ll have questions to make sure you’re making the best possible decision when it comes to priorities, objectives, needs and wants for the system.
When those questions come up, Contact Us. Our Service Technicians and Account Managers are here to help.
Tridon is a full solution Telecom Systems Integrator with CSA certification and licensed by APEGA. Our Engineering, Service and Tower Divisions collaborate with customers to build engineered solutions including communications systems design, tower inspections, and co-location, wireless broadband, fiber optic cabling, site security, and two-way radio communication.