In order to derive maximum value and return on investment (ROI) from CCTV, it should be integrated with other security systems including fire, alarms and access control, using a central platform or building management system.
Crime is an unfortunate reality in South Africa and, as a result, CCTV solutions have become an important part of any corporate or enterprise security solution. CCTV solutions offer a number of benefits by providing a visual reference and evidence of incidents. However, in order to derive maximum value and return on investment (ROI) from CCTV, these solutions should be integrated with other security systems including fire, alarms and access control, using a central platform or building management system.
This not only helps to ensure that all systems work together in harmony, it can assist with closing loopholes in security and can help organisations to derive operational as well as security benefits from their solutions, offering greater value in an area which is often a grudge purchase.
CCTV, along with access control solutions, often forms the bulk of modern security solutions. CCTV delivers the benefit of having eyes on the ground, or visual access to all areas at all times. This not only enables security personnel to see what is happening, it also records this footage. This allows for both proactive and reactive action to be taken, assuming that the CCTV feed is monitored by a control room. CCTV is important, not only from a security perspective, but also in terms of operations and even health and safety.
Control rooms can monitor that employees are doing their jobs, that they are using dangerous equipment in a safe manner, that they are not accessing hazardous areas and more. This then alerts security to potential problems, which can be corrected. Recording these feeds enables personnel to discover exactly what occurred in case of any type of incident, enabling remedial action to be taken and processes to be improved to prevent similar problems from occurring in future. The knowledge that they are being watched also helps to incentivise workers to be more productive and efficient, and acts as a deterrent against unlawful or unethical behaviour within the workplace. In the case of criminal activity, recorded CCTV footage can be used to augment evidence in a court of law, helping to identify perpetrators and backup other findings for swifter prosecution of offenders.
However, in order to leverage maximum value from CCTV solutions, both in terms of security and operational benefits, it is important to integrate CCTV into other security solutions, including access control, fire detection and suppression, and alarms. If each of these systems is run independently, there may be an overlap in their functionality or the independent running and variety of different rules may in fact leave vulnerabilities and loopholes in the security system, which those with malicious intent can exploit. By integrating these solutions and incorporating proactive monitoring of the entire security system, appropriate action can be taken in the event of fire or theft and disasters can be prevented in many cases.
In order to effectively manage these integrated solutions, they should also all be incorporated into a master management platform, or building management solution. This master platform will ensure that a single, consistent set of rules can be applied across the board, to all technologies, to ensure that alerts are sent out according to the correct parameters, to the right people, to ensure swift action to be taken.
When it comes to integration, newer solutions built using a standards-based approach incorporate greater levels of integration capability. When dealing with a mixture of old technologies and a newer management platform, however, the process can become more complex as a result of legacy software and firmware issues. Upgrades may be necessary in order to ensure interoperability and a seamless solution.
Regardless of the mix of technology however it is advisable to obtain the services of a security and integration specialist. Without the right partner with the necessary integration skills, all solutions may be installed correctly and may seem to be functioning in tandem, but they may not be correctly integrated. Solutions operating independently of each other can fail to deliver on the expected benefits, something which in the case of security can be detrimental as issues are typically only discovered when something goes wrong. An integration partner and security specialist should have proven skills, with multiple reference sites across various industries to illustrate a track record of success.
CCTV solutions are part and parcel of modern security systems, as they have the ability to deliver all-important visuals across all areas of operations to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to, productivity is maintained and crimes can be prevented or more effectively prosecuted. While CCTV is often a grudge purchase, by integrating this solution into other areas of security, such as alarms, fire and access control, greater value can be derived for improved ROI. Integrated CCTV also ensures that loopholes and vulnerabilities can be eliminated, that all solutions follow a single set of rules, and that optimal security can be maintained at all times.
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