Optimising your camera-to-operator ratio

SMART Surveillance 2024 Surveillance

It is Monday morning and your top sales rep has just closed a huge new client, increasing the total CCTV cameras monitored by your control room by 20%. Great news, right? Well, that depends; how do you measure your control room’s efficiency?

How do you know your existing operators handle this jump in false alarms, alerts, and, most likely, fragmentation across so many systems? If you have to hire another person to service this new client and maintain your SLA with existing clients, is this a win or an expensive liability?

Learning from critical data points in your security systems is the key to quality monitoring, effectively deploying resources, and scaling control room profitability. The golden equation is your true Camera-to-Operator ratio. How many cameras can your control room service per operator without losing service quality? It seems simple enough, but with so many fragmented workstations, camera brands, analytics providers, and customers, it is almost impossible to pull this information together accurately without deploying dedicated resources, capital, and, more critically, time.

Every second your control room is being spammed by poorly configured cameras, or an operator is asleep at their desk, you are losing margin, extending response times and churning business to one of the hundreds of competitors right on your doorstep. Your reputation is your brand; making sales is important, but ensuring your control room is a well-oiled machine is vital to longevity and profitability. You would not purchase a vehicle knowing you could not afford the fuel costs, so why run a control room without knowing exactly how much each new deal costs you, or having the right insights to fine-tune your infrastructure in real time?

This is not just a problem for off-site monitoring and security companies, any SME or enterprise business investing in security needs critical risk and safety information to make faster, more informed decisions about its manpower and technology infrastructure. How do you measure ROI, and how do you continue to develop your risk strategy in line with an ever-evolving landscape?

So, how do we calculate it, and more importantly, how do you improve it?

Although it is not an exact science and is different for each control room, the Total Number of Cameras/Number Of Operators does not accurately represent your current scalability. Not all cameras are equal regarding their impact on the control room, so without understanding your current and target operator performance metrics and problem cameras, you could be chasing the wrong goals and be in the dark when it comes to meeting your SLAs with your customers.

When assessing scalability, we need to consider service quality carefully, i.e., your ability to operate within the SLAs and target response times you have set for your control room. You will need to track your operator throughput across all cameras and platforms to achieve this. Consider this formula as a high-level indicator of how many cameras your control room can currently handle per operator:

True Operator Capacity = (Total Cameras / Total Operators) * (SLA alert response time / average alert response time).

This formula does not account for certain key variables that give greater visibility into ‘why’ and highlight the levers to pull to amend your current inefficiencies. If monitored and fine-tuned over time, these variables can increase your operator capacity tenfold.

These include:

• Current false alarm rate and solutions to reduce them.

• Time and monetary cost of control room infrastructure fragmentation.

• Number of alerts generated by outlier cameras and cost to efficiency.

• Volume of alerts generated by incorrect rule configuration.

At Lytehouse, we believe in two key fundamentals: powerful, reliable video analytics that supercharges any CCTV camera, and detailed reporting that drives efficiency, scalability, and service quality in your control room. From within your Lytehouse dashboard, you can pull granular operator performance reports to track key performance metrics, configuration audits for outlier and problem cameras, and daily drill-downs for your control room as a whole or site-by-site for an in-depth analysis of your alerts.

For more information, contact Lytehouse, [email protected], www.lytehouse.io

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