The short answer to the question is, simply, yes. Remote CCTV monitoring is currently one of the fastest-growing sectors in the security industry. Closed circuit television (CCTV) systems have become another effective weapon in South Africa’s anti-crime arsenal. It has often been said that technology will be South Africa’s saving grace in the war against crime and CCTV is an example of one of those anti-crime technologies that work exceptionally well.
It is important to point out at an early stage that there are two distinct aspects to CCTV remote monitoring – alarm monitoring or video alarm verification and video management. The former is concerned with protecting the client’s people and assets, while the latter is essentially a management and control function. Both halves of the equation work in symphony to ensure a complete remote monitoring solution. It is commonplace that for the security or alarm handling aspect, the customer would subscribe to services of a remote video response centre (RVRC), whilst the client would often engage in their own management monitoring. An effective remote monitoring solution should allow for both security and management function to take place concurrently without affecting each other.
Remote management monitoring works as a service because it has the obvious advantage of allowing the client to virtually be in multiple locations at one time. In addition, one management operator can monitor several cameras at one time, instead of physically watching one individual. This is especially relevant to certain industries that are feeling the pinch of rising costs coupled with declining productivity.
The mining industry, in particular, comes to mind. You have a massive dispersed workforce to manage and high-value assets to protect. The twin halves of the remote monitoring equation – video management and alarm verification – are perfectly designed for this industry and many others. These include mobile telecommunications where remote base stations require protection and banking where ATMs have become prized targets among criminals who are longer able to crack bank safes or reliably prey on cash-in-transit vehicles.
While CCTV remote monitoring is an effective security solution, it is only as good as its installer and equipment used. TeleEye can quote numerous examples of CCTV installations not properly taking into account critical factors such as backup power, lightning and surge protection and most importantly the available bandwidth at a client site. While there is a shortage of bandwidth in South Africa’s outlying areas that would benefit most from remote CCTV monitoring, TeleEye has managed to develop a compression protocol called SMAC-M that provides higher quality images and faster frame rates than products using the H.264 protocol.
In the country’s cities, more bandwidth is becoming available which means now is the time to consider HD CCTV remote monitoring instead of SD CCTV, which has the disadvantage of lower image quality. This makes more advanced high definition remote monitoring applications highly challenging. That being said, where there are bandwidth limitations in rural areas, TeleEye clients can remain on SD as we offer highly-efficient remote monitoring solutions no matter what the bandwidth available in the client’s area. It is also interesting to note that even our HD CCTV solutions use 50% less bandwidth than systems utilising the H.264 protocol.
One of the most important points that prospective CCTV clients need to know is that many video alarm verification and video management systems are cut and pasted together by installers using different standards and manufacturers. An example of this would be a company providing a separate alarm panel, DVR and IP encoders and/or cameras to form a remote monitoring solution. On the other hand a TeleEye remote monitoring video recording server provides a BS:8418 (British Standard) compliant alarm management system, high end video recording functionality and a TCP/IP video server from a single device. TeleEye’s sureGUARD video alarm verification software then provides a complete integrated control room solution providing the necessary features such as remote recordings, event distribution to operators, sophisticated event management and operator and site logging.
We are able to offer both CCTV alarm and management abilities via true multi-stream technology, SMAC-M, where bandwidth and user functions are separated from each other on different data streams and video channels. This means they don’t affect each other yet one unified system has been deployed. This means total cost of ownership is lower, increasing reliability and efficiency.
In conclusion, it is important to state that site installation is absolutely critical in terms of security monitoring. In this regard, TeleEye adheres to the UK CCTV standard known as BS8418. This standard specifies a Code of Practice outlining how TeleEye as a manufacturer, should develop critical features in compliance with this standard, how the site should be installed and how the control room should operate. This ensures that local expertise operates according to global best practice with all the associated benefits for clients.
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