Let the guards guard

CCTV Handbook 2020 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

When it comes to guarding estates or business parks, what is the most effective approach to take? Is it relying on constant manned patrols and monitoring from an on-site control room, or an off-site third party sitting in an undisclosed location? Could there be a way to combine strengths and mitigate potential shortcomings?

People diversify their investment portfolios and will choose to shop around to get the biggest bang for their buck, but when it comes to their security it seems people feel out of their depth, or simply don’t feel the necessity to branch out. Behind our high walls as South Africans we’ve become complacent, but times change, the economy changes and as a result crime changes.

In the wake of the economic upheaval and disruption caused by globalising factors, technological advancement and the recent devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are looking to retain what they have and to manage their precious resources more carefully. Now is the best time to diversify your security portfolio and here’s why:

Cost saving

Let’s face it, money is tight for everyone and people are looking to cut corners to make their current situations work. But when it comes to safety, cut corners and outdated approaches will simply leave you vulnerable. When trying to save money, decisions need to be made about how to best utilise the existing resources while reducing costs in whichever way is deemed best.

Some property owners are choosing to discontinue paying for their armed response companies, or are choosing to down-size their on-site staff. In an economic crunch, sacrifices are being made every day, each with a heavy moral weight attached. With off-site security solutions, you can save money and jobs at the same time, all while expanding upon existing systems at minimal or no extra cost.

The name of the game here is reduction. To reduce costs, you need to reduce numbers. The easy way to reduce cost is simply to reduce the numbers of manned guards. While this is financially seen as the simple choice, the commensurate risk and alternatives need to be evaluated. Mike Voortman, managing director of Verifier Independent Monitoring Solutions, had a few things to note on the subject.

• What factors should you consider when looking to change your security options? “It’s important to always mitigate potential risk as you’re changing, you don’t want to create holes in your defence,” says Voortman. “You have to replace one service with another, but the important part is finding the right security provider for your business.”

Mike Voortman.

• What drawbacks do conventional on-site guarding solutions have when it comes to estates and business parks? “With conventional on-site guarding, you are effectively putting all of your eggs in one basket. This creates vulnerability in your defences. Not only are manned guards physically vulnerable to overt threats such as assault, but if you choose to isolate your security system on-site, any covert issues of collusion will leave you worse than defenceless. Relying on one system means you leave no room for back-up, after all, who guards the guards?”

• So what should estates do about it? “At Verifier, we believe in a hybrid approach to security. While on-site guarding has its merits, it is imperative to create built-in failover systems. Remotely monitoring your premises will effectively cover all of your bases in a cost-effective manner.”

• How does outsourcing monitoring save in costs? “Depending on complexity of site, by outsourcing your monitoring you are able to either replace the dedicated on-site CCTV controller or better yet, re-purpose them. Additionally, our advanced AI-driven video analytic systems can reduce the number of over-activations and our black-screen monitoring approach will reduce the need for manned guards inefficiently staring at numerous simultaneous camera feeds.”

Let the guards guard

By switching to off-site monitoring, it is possible to reduce staff turnover through staff re-purposing and re-focusing. Let the guards do what they do best, so that we can do what we do best. Through off-site monitoring our services are scalable, meaning we can help mitigate blind-spots in your current system and help free up time that guards can better use for other purposes. When on a cost-saving endeavour, it’s better to reduce, re-use and re-purpose what you already have to better suit your specific monitoring requirements.

When comparing a remote monitoring service to on-site guarding, Voortman explains, “Using a computing analogy, on-site guards are like RAM and Verifier is like the CPU. While the RAM is useful for a variety of constantly changing tasks, ultimately the CPU is better suited for communication and processing of information. Having an off-site monitoring service is a huge time saver in emergencies, through rapid and accurate alert processing we can streamline and coordinate the on-site security response. We are a service dedicated to perimeters, CCTV and access control without daily distractions and the nature of how we do what we do is fundamentally much more cost-effective than on-site systems.”

More services for the same price

You might question if there aren’t hidden costs to this approach, like the costs of new camera equipment. This is not necessarily the case. Many systems can combine cutting-edge video analytic AI technology with existing hardware (within reason). Simply put, going remote means that you also get more out of your existing system, whereas trying to upgrade your in-house system might result in the costs you were looking to avoid.

The benefits of early warning systems cannot be overstated. No guard on earth can watch a camera all day, every day without losing focus, Video analytics systems can. These systems, once set up to monitor selected tasks, can allow formerly control room-bound personnel to perform other tasks more effectively, resulting in on-site guards better able to prevent issues from occurring.

There is a clear trajectory when it comes to the future of security services. The tools we use help to build better tools and further advance our capabilities. But it’s clear too that iron sharpens iron. There is a way for a symbiosis to be created between on-site manned guarding and off-site remote monitoring. Going forward, this may be the best way to reduce redundancies, reduce monitoring fatigue and reduce the need for in-house equipment and training.


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