Building intelligent services into security

Issue 3 2021 Surveillance

Traditional security solutions lack transparency. Insight is minimal, visibility is poor and risk is exponential. Systems fail, power is cut and technology stops working. Legacy security systems are trapped in the failure paradigm. What is needed is a system capable of intelligent 24/7 visibility without any unexpected surprises.

“Often, when a company has an incident, they run to look at their CCTV footage only to discover that the system is down and has been for a while,” says Johan van der Lith, CEO at Watcher Surveillance Solutions. “The lack of ongoing monitoring meant that nothing was recorded or reported. In other words, most companies have a lack of visibility into overall security because they have no provision for unexpected problems.”

The challenge for most security systems is to manage all the moving parts and to have visibility into the software, the hardware, the operations and the security services in one central space. With this level of cohesion, security is optimised from the guard on the ground to the operators in the control room. However, this isn’t easy to implement.

“There is a cost involved and most companies want to pay less, not more,” explains van der Lith. “They want to equip their remote sites with the right levels of surveillance, but they can’t afford around-the-clock CCTV monitoring and 24/7 guard patrols.”

Move to surveillance as a service

The solution is to move away from the traditional approaches to physical security and hand over the expertise to companies that provide high-end security surveillance as a service. A security system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is the security guard that never sleeps and can be programmed to identify anything the company deems to be a risk. With best-of-breed technology, security can be customised to meet specialised needs without the hefty price tag.

These surveillance platforms provide estates, business parks and retail centres with far more control and insight. The data created by systems powered by AI, together with the analytics delivered by platforms designed to interpret this data, allows for more powerful and relevant security monitoring that protects both individuals and property.

However, there remains a perception that the technology is too costly and the solutions too complex for anyone but the largest of enterprises. It is a perception that is about to change, according to Derick Neethling, head of Sales at Watcher Surveillance Solutions.

With AI systems, the control room is capable of detecting discrepancies and concerns in an instant, notifying the relevant individuals in real-time and significantly reducing risk to property and the individual. Once the system has identified a threat, it will keep track of actions taken and will escalate this timeously. All actions taken by surveillance operators are logged for future reference and review.

While these technologies are intelligent and ubiquitous, they do require the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure that they get the right results. The operational complexity of these systems are underestimated and companies often fail at this point.

Providing measurable value

This is where managed surveillance services offer real value. Instead of building the expertise from the ground up, companies can use a trusted partner for pro-active security surveillance. Moreover, with this model, any technology challenges belong to the service provider.

Managed physical security services ensure that every aspect of surveillance is controlled from a central control room that is aligned with regulatory requirements such as PoPIA and GDPR and is capable of handling comprehensive surveillance across multiple sites. Instead of a company investing into the heavyweight technology, managed services handle everything from the ground up.

“We provide the entire ecosystem, from the cameras to the power support and redundancies to the connectivity back to our centralised control room,” concludes Neethling, “and we do this at a cost point that doesn’t hurt the bottom line.”

The goal of the Watcher system is to allow for complete individual privacy while ensuring business security. From remote sites to central offices, this business-focused solution is discrete, always on and powered by an intelligence that never sleeps.


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