Many organisations are put off investing in new commercial video surveillance equipment due to the perceived high costs. This is understandable, considering all the capital investments that could be made in a business were the funds available. However, there are compelling reasons why upgrading your CCTV hardware could be one of the best investment decisions you make in the coming year. Not only is the new generation of CCTV equipment far cheaper than previous models but it is also exponentially more powerful, meaning that the value you receive far outweighs the initial cost.
CCTV systems were designed primarily to deter and/or help identify and prosecute criminals. This remains the main use – the vast majority of businesses that invest in CCTV systems do so for security. However, on their own, security risks are not always enough to justify the cost of a new system, especially in ‘safe’ areas, or for businesses with a sparse logbook of security incidents.
If you are one of the lucky businesses in this position, it is good to know that there are now many more additional functions that CCTV can be put to. In fact, the presence of additional functions capable of driving wider business efficiency is a major investment factor, even if security is a non-issue for your business.
The integrated security features and video analytics capability of modern cameras make a CCTV system able to automate a range of business functions. For instance, your car park or reception security door entrance could be automated by a combination of facial recognition software and voice or card activated security locks.
Or, you could analyse staff movements around your office to determine the optimum layout for different work areas. Or you could experiment with new shift patterns or working practices and use video data to assess your results. Or, in a retail environment, you can evaluate the success of different pop up promotions, or access solid data on how a revised layout increases footfall in different parts of your store.
These are just hypothetical examples, but the point to take away is that every type of business – regardless of the sector – has some business process that could be improved by CCTV security, over and above simply scaring away vandals.
One of the biggest expenses of a surveillance security system used to be data storage. Data would have to be stored on servers either on-site or off-site, with regular backups and careful storage of physical data tapes. This involved a significant capital outlay to set up, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses. Recent developments in storage solutions have reduced storage costs dramatically. On site storage systems can now be designed with greater capacity, improved security and easier access than earlier generations.
CCTV technology has followed a similar development curve to that of IT hardware. The performance characteristics of market leading camera technology is vastly superior to that of even a few years ago. This means that the camera you buy today will achieve far more than a camera you bought for the same money five years ago. Modern cameras have lower maintenance requirements and capture better quality images than older models. In fact, modern high definition IP cameras are superior to old analogue models in every respect, providing users with greater flexibility to meet all requirements – even in the most challenging environments. The latest cameras have fewer blind spots, provide a wider range of coverage and capture accurate, high quality images in significantly lower light conditions.
Upgrading your CCTV system does not mean ripping out your whole surveillance system and associated cabling and starting from scratch. This used to be the case, and it could easily cost a business tens of thousands of pounds. Whilst preferable to sit your new security system on a dedicated structured cable network, it can happily share what you already have. Latest IP high definition cameras are not as ‘bandwidth hungry’ as first-generation models, and even older co-axial CCTV transmission cabling can be retained and converted to accept data transmission meaning that little or no new cabling needs to be installed. The nature of latest system technology is such that scalability is inbuilt within the system architecture. Hybrid recorders allow for a combination of both older analogue and latest IP cameras to work side by side on the same platform and expansion is merely a function of your needs with greater data storage and input channels added as required.
Developments in surveillance technology means less hard infrastructure and storage space. Upgrading your network to a flexible, modern CCTV surveillance system not only improves the efficiency of your system, but facilitates future upgrades and makes integrating new technologies cheaper. All this adds up to an extremely worthwhile capital spend: an investment that will continue to create value for your business for many years to come.
Find out more about commercial CCTV systems in our free Commercial CCTV Surveillance Guide, which can be downloaded by clicking here. The guide includes useful sections on advanced CCTV hardware, cloud-based control systems and how to get the best value when planning your upgrade. Feel free to chat to one of our consultants for more information about a bespoke upgrade for your building.