So, you’ve decided to install a CCTV system in and around your place of business, facility, or school. A difficult decision to proceed considering the resources needed to execute your CCTV project, but that was the hard part, right? Unfortunately, no. The hard part is yet to come, and beyond that, even more complexities exist. Placement of the cameras is the hard part, correct? In a word, no. We do camera mappings every week; there is a method to this, and it’s one part client input, and two parts research, communication, and revisions. Camera mapping should not only consider the vendor’s best interest, cabling needs, or signal, it should be an equation that encompasses all these variables.
Choosing CCTV algorithms alone is enough to drive you to the internet to deal with all the choices and variations. For instance, what should you choose among MJPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4 and H.264 formats? Do you foresee your camera supporting a live or per incident monitoring service? We think the delta between technologies, manufacturers, and costs are great. There is much to consider. Best you do not allow just any vendor to tell you why their captive integrator or reseller arrangement dictates the sales process. Get opinions, utilize an expert, and then select a partner for installation. Also, if you have strong human resources, personnel or staffing needs at your facility (distribution or manufacturing), the CCTV & access control discussions should be more complex. We recently helped a large distribution plant work through some what if scenarios, and dial in the best options for a safe work environment.
In addition, algorithms involve more than file formats. CCTV now relies heavily on smart technology. Easy option to decide, right? Everyone would say yes to smart technology. But does your application need the level of smart technology to detect guns and knives on a person inside your physical perimeter, or motion where there is a lot of traffic already? Is it that cost efficient for what you really need? Have your head of operations or security director think through the overall security needs to help integrate this into your CCTV discussion. Have an assessment done by an outside third party. It will create great dialogue, and often we find it will save you in efficiencies or cost. The new, hotter topics in the industry are thermal temperature scanning for fevers, and social distancing analytics; the new normal and returning to work conversations have broadened the spectrum for CCTV/tech capabilities.
Other decisions are not as technologically complex but can be difficult, nonetheless. For instance, what is the end goal and destination of the system. Is it wireless or a fully cabled system, NVR or DVR, and does the application control that choice? Some systems are moving away from the traditionally more expensive fiber/cabling backbones, but we have also found the need for fully wired and have installed many cabling systems to support CCTV, and access controls, among other things. There is no real one size fits all, or cookie cutter approach to it. Furthermore, is the CCTV system going to be stand alone or will be it deployed as augmentation of existing guard or off duty services or is it meant to replace the company’s guard system altogether? Did you know there is a virtual guard system which analyzes your assets on a timed approach? Wait, you mean we can cut back on manned guard hours or deploy this in tandem with a strategy like that…yes. The physical guard or off duty security work well with this strategy in a lot of cases.
It is easy to see why one can consider this whole CCTV issue a veritable maze. But what if you had a map? Do you have an “as built” drawing post installation, who is going to remember exactly how the infrastructure was designed, or installed? Great to have a debrief and rendering provided to your operations team after the system is installed. You never know what or who may change at your organization. In fact, you do have a map. It’s called Overwatch Security Advisors (OSA). We have navigated the CCTV maze many times before and prefer a design-build to a more random approach. We are aware that no one definitive answer exists, and we know the various issues that make this such a complex decision. Every situation is different, so let OSA investigate your maze and work with you to emerge on the other side in success!