Answering 3 key questions will help determine your video surveillance needs
I was amazed to learn that the city of London has one of the highest numbers of video surveillance cameras in use in the world. Some 10,000 is one figure I've read.
Perhaps the street that has the densest number of video cameras is Oxford Street, one of the city's busiest shopping districts. In just one day, approximately 500,000 shoppers visited the retail heaven to grab some post-holiday bargains.
Small businesses need physical security, too
It's not only big stores or businesses that need video surveillance. It's an unfortunate fact of life that businesses of all sizes are affected by theft. Last year, merchandise loss (or, shrinkage cost retailers $33.5 billion, according to National Retail Security Survey figures released last June.The majority of that (43 percent) was due to employee theft, which cost business owners $14.4 billion. And 35 percent ($11.7 billion) was due to shoplifting.
Non-retailers can also benefit from video surveillance. Small businesses with warehouses, offices, and/or parking lots, for example, benefit from continuous monitoring to protect against theft and vandalism. Video surveillance can also help to reduce the risk of liability from workplace accidents.
What should small businesses look for in a video surveillance system? Here are three questions to help you determine the best solution for your company:
- How many locations do you have?
Video surveillance systems based on IP networks enable you to view live video from cameras in multiple sites across different geographical locations. You can view live camera feeds on you PC or mobile phone, or be alerted on those devices to unusual activities based on the policies you set.
- Do you need to monitor your business during off-hours, or when you can't be there in person
You don't have to be tied to your computer in order to view your security cameras. Choose a video surveillance system that allows you to view camera feeds from any device that has an Internet browser. You could keep an eye on your assets from your dining table at a restaurant via your smartphone or from your laptop when visiting a customer site.
- Do you have other security technologies such as door sensors, motion sensors, and alarms?
Your video surveillance system should be able to link to a variety of technologies, including other security controls, to give you a comprehensive view of your protected assets. The system should also be able to alert you via e-mail or phone messages to any unusual activities it detects.
Other capabilities that you should consider in a video surveillance system include video monitoring software that comes as part of the package. For example, Cisco Advanced Monitoring System software is included with both the Cisco VC220 Dome Network and VC240 Bullet Network Cameras. Also, choose cameras with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities so you can view images from any angle. This is a cost-effective alternative to deploying multiple fixed cameras.
Has a video surveillance system helped your business? Tell us how!