People 'n' Issues

Smart route to digital CCTV

June 27th, 2017
Many organisations are upgrading to IP CCTV, but a complete and reliable system is out of reach for many due to budget constraints. This will however soon change, says ECKART ZOLLNER, Head of Business Development at the Jasco Group
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There are a lot of analogue CCTV solutions out there – they account for over 60% of the current installed base – and they don’t work very well. Across industry sectors, organisations are slowly upgrading to IP solutions, especially in high risk and high value areas, but complete migration remains capital intensive and out of reach of budget-constrained organisations. That will not remain the case – within three to five years, largescale adoption of all-IP solutions is expected.

The increasing value that the advanced features of newer CCTV systems offer to the broader business is a big driver – but organisations will need to stop making short-term decisions if they want to access the long-term benefits of digital solutions.

From eyes to algorithms

We know that a pair of human eyes watching a bank of CCTV-fed screens in a control room will fail within a very short period to identify threats and anomalies – it’s not what humans are good at. And it’s a reactive strategy. Technology does a better job.

New IP and digital technologies can set virtual boundaries, use analytics to assess threats, and built-in intelligence that enables it to learn what behaviour is normal and what may constitute a breach. That same intelligence can be put to work within businesses to improve logistics, productivity and operations – for example, by alerting a retailer to add more cashiers when queues become too long.

These advances are making it hard for organisations to completely ignore new technologies.

While companies with high-level systems are making use of security platforms with integrated controls and incident management systems, companies with CCTV systems with workforce-based manual controls are augmenting their solutions with body-worn technologies as well as more advanced solutions at critical points. Integration of legacy and these newer systems is critical. So is establishing a closer relationship with external companies.

Integrating old and new

We see the requirement for the old to integrate the new where companies make use of physical security companies, such as ensuring that alerts and other inputs from their CCTV systems are integrated into the processes of these external companies, especially if these systems are capable of analysis. Alerts need to be acted on, not just logged, and this intelligence needs to be fed back into the overall system. If, for example, there is an incident every Tuesday night at 10pm, perhaps a pattern is forming – an advanced CCTV system may pick this up. Will the security company who may assign a different guard every week to the facility? The service provider may not even be aware that the incident constitutes a risk as they may not know what assets are at risk. The onus is thus on the company and the service provider to work together.

Own your data; upskill your workforce

As they upgrade to newer digital systems, the challenge for business is to ensure that the decisions they are making are not just for short term benefit. Data is going to be critical to future advances. If they are investing in digital systems, companies need to own the data and be able to access it – and it should be built into workforce and other processes, with alerts going to the right people who can act on it. That data should not belong to the service provider. Internet of Things (IoT) inputs will add value too, alerting organisation and service providers to performance issues, ensuring systems are more stable and reliable, and technology lifecycles are extended.

As companies continue to migrate to more advanced systems, they will also need to upskill supervisory functions and the security workforce – instead of watching a screen in a control room, security staff will be fulfilling higher function roles, analysing data and using outputs to enhance systems.

The long road

For companies with advanced systems, such as financial organisations, security will be a many-layered solution encompassing data centres, branches and ATMS. The value of these systems is that as they become more integrated and sophisticated deliver more predictive insights that enable proactive responses. This is where we are all headed in five short years.

There are smart ways to migrate, ensuring maximum value for the organisation. The challenge is to ensure that investments are also made with long term benefits in mind and to find ways to integrate the benefits of digital solutions with manual systems as the journey unfolds.

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