Remote monitoring has changed over the years, from initially being alarm-based using radio frequencies to raise an alert through to operators being able to handle an assortment of technology and functions from a remote control room.
In this article, Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked Charnel Hattingh from Fidelity Services Group how the company’s remote monitoring operation has changed and what the service provider can offer clients today (and what clients are actually using).
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: How have the remote monitoring services you offer changed over the years? Do you find customers wanting more than alarm monitoring?
Charnel Hattingh: We find that although professional monitoring and response is still the biggest value proposition, there is an increasing need for self-monitoring, either through SMS or, in our case, an app, as well as remote management of the alarm system through the app.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: How important is video verification today, both from the service provider’s perspective to cut down on false alarm call-outs, as well as the customer?
Charnel Hattingh: We offer video verification as an add-on. The uptake is slow and we see it more in the banking and corporate sectors through international influence. We find that our clients still prefer a physical response and the video verification is not used as a means to cancel an alarm.
Additionally, we find that, without exception, our customers want to self-monitor as well as have the remote monitoring service, although they will not necessarily want to take action. It is about being informed of what is happening on site.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Is there a call for more functions to be added to the remote monitoring service in terms of using IoT connections to monitor business operations – such as switching the lights or air conditioners off or doing remote access control at night etc.?
Charnel Hattingh: This is also a service that we offer through SecureConnect. The uptake is higher in spaces where there is international influence and in the higher LSM areas, although this is secondary to the customers’ primary security needs.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What additional functions do you offer as a remote monitoring service from your control room?
Charnel Hattingh: We have just launched a new product that uses artificial intelligence and visualisation as an active deterrent. The CCTV camera can recognise that there is a person, sound a siren, flash a strobe and notify the surveillance centre and the customer. In this way, we limit damage to the property and it can act as an early detection system for us as well as deterring would-be intruders before they do any damage to customers’ property.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Some people say a remote operation is risky because of the regular electricity and communications outages in many areas. What steps have you taken to ensure your remote operations are up and running 24/7?
Charnel Hattingh: The service network we use for signalling has a 99.99% SLA (service-level agreement), making it the only wide-area network with a SLA. We have also developed and patented a self-powered detection device which has a battery life of up to three years and can function autonomous from any on-site infrastructure to get a reliable signal to our control room. This will be commercially available in the next few months.
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