Let’s briefly talk about reasons to invest in a video surveillance system, and some specific applications.


The first thing that comes to mind is security, but you may also want to consider a video surveillance system to increase productivity and enhance personnel management.


Video Surveillance for Security

Large and small organizations need to protect their personnel and physical assets. It is incumbent upon management to do that in the most efficient way possible: taking into consideration the cost to install the system and the cost to have someone use the system.


If you invest in video surveillance for security, ideally, someone is going to be watching those cameras night and day. We talk about using live video to identify incidents as they happen, and using recorded video as forensic evidence to prove what happened after the fact. Analytics such as motion detection can focus the person’s attention in real time, and make it easier to find incidents in recorded video.


But how do you actively secure your personnel and assets while controlling expenses?


Think in terms of image quality and how many cameras are needed to provide the desired level of detail.


The exciting thing about cameras with higher and higher resolution is the ability to use fewer cameras to cover the same area. We call this cost savings through a reduction of cameras. (For examples, 2.1 megapixel STAR-LIGHT single-sensor HD Coax™ cameras or 2.1 megapixel, 4 megapixel and 5 megapixel MEGApix® single-sensor IP cameras).


HIGH RESOLUTION: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that camera reduction is as easy as applying the calculation of 2+2=4. In other words, you might say to yourself that a 2.1 megapixel camera should be able to replace 2.7 VGA resolution cameras when you do the math to compare total resolution. That math may work for some applications, but design consultants (Architects & Engineers or A&Es) can help you look at the whole area to be covered and show you where it makes sense to use fewer cameras and where it would be inefficient.


Please allow me to be another voice recommending the use of professionals to design and install your system. System is the operative word. How many cameras will be needed and how much storage will be required? Experience counts. Experience saves time and money.


MULTIPLE CAMERAS IN ONE: In addition to higher resolution single sensor cameras, a tremendous modern innovation is the multi-sensor camera. These gems entered the market as multi-sensor solutions to provide 180-degree and 360-degree views in fixed configurations (STAR-LIGHT PANO™ Three Sensor HD-Analog Cameras or MEGApix® PANO™ 48 Megapixel Four-Sensor Cameras and 6 Megapixel Three-Sensor IP Cameras).


Today, those multiple sensors have been freed from their fixed configurations to become user-configurable, literally making it possible to have four independent cameras in one housing. You can set up those sensors for a traditional panoramic view if desired, or you can point them at independent scenes. In IP applications, you still get the advantage of multiple sensors as a single network connection and only one license needed to record the feeds in popular video management software (like DW Spectrum® IPVMS). Additionally, DW®® multiple sensor HD Coax™ cameras provide multiple BNC connections plus a bonus stitched-view BNC feed.


EFFICIENT SYSTEM DESIGN: You can condense everything I have said to this point as follows: apply video surveillance for 1. general surveillance (wide areas) and 2. choke points. That is what security operators should be watching.


Using an open-air shopping mall as an example, a high-resolution camera or multi-sensor camera can provide a view of the entire area, and additional cameras can be positioned to provide constant detailed views of shop entrances and entrances to the mall (choke points -- places where people congregate).


As another example, for a parking lot application, you can monitor the whole thing and apply individual cameras to capture license plates at the entrances and exits.


Today, it is possible for a security operator to watch multiple scenes on one or two HD monitors, providing an overall view and additional windows with the choke points. When suspicious activity is noticed in the wide view, attention can instantly be directed to the appropriate choke point camera or digitally zoom into the high resolution wide angle or multi-sensor camera feed. Some VMS software (like DW Spectrum® IPVMS) allows you to instantly create multiple detailed scenes from a single high-resolution camera view. A pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) speed dome can also easily be applied to follow the live action.


It is all about doing more with less, whether it be the lower cost of using fewer cameras (and so fewer recording licenses, less cabling and installation/maintenance costs), or reduced personnel costs.


Video Surveillance for Productivity

We live in a time when companies must get the most from their employees in order to survive, let alone prosper. How can surveillance cameras make employees more productive?


I gave one example earlier by explaining how a single security operator can monitor multiple cameras (one person securing a large area).


We have come to take automation for granted, but the reality is that those fine-tuned systems must be monitored constantly. We can choose to believe that someone pushes a button and a million sandwich cookies are baked, assembled, packaged and boxed, but the reality is that someone is always watching to make sure that each part of the process is happening correctly.


Video surveillance can be applied for fewer people to oversee multiple processes. Analytics can be further applied to alert when things are not running as expected, reducing personnel and personal error.


Video Surveillance for Personnel Management

There are many who believe that the most effective style of personnel management is “management by walking around.” It is hard to argue with that. But how many companies have the luxury of hiring managers whose only responsibility is to “watch those guys.”


By applying video surveillance, a manager can remain in his or her office pounding away at reports and correspondence while simultaneously monitoring the actions of the employees. Mix in a little walking around and you have a hybrid system for management where everyone is more productive.


Oh, and analytics can be used to alert the manager when expected activity has stopped.


A Solid Foundation

How are you going to manage and record the video from your cameras?


You can have it all – feature-rich, powerful and easy to use.


For your coaxial infrastructure, choose a DVR that will handle all of today’s analog and HD Coax™ standards with the storage capacity you need. Something like a VMAX A1™ Universal HD over Coax™ digital video recorder with one of the industry’s most popular user interfaces and remote management software, Pivot™.


For small IP systems, you want an NVR that can natively support PoE for single cable power and data transmission, and can set itself up in minutes, automatically finding and monitoring all of your cameras. Something like a VMAX IP Plus™ PoE network video recorder with one of the industry’s most popular user interfaces and remote management software, Pivot™. It also lets you use your smartphone or tablet as a mobile surveillance camera.


For the ultimate in future-proof video surveillance system design, choose a server and recording platform that has all the bells and whistles and the ability to grow with you. Something like high-capacity Blackjack™ servers running DW Spectrum® IPVMS.



Instead of looking at video surveillance as “the cost of doing business,” my suggestion is to look to video surveillance as a way to REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS.